Brookhaven High School senior Jalen Bonner has excelled this school year at leading young people.
A member of the National Honor Society who is ranked in the top 10 in his class, Bonner has been involved in the school's link crew program.
Link crew is designed to help make freshmen feel welcome throughout their first year of high school.
This spring for the baseball program, Bonner has served as a leader for a team that features eight sophomores.
"I try to be a leader because our team needs a leader," he said.
Bonner, who plans to attend the University of Cincinnati and major in engineering, has been a big reason the Bearcats have begun to find their stride after a slow start.
After losing to Whetstone 15-0 on April 18, Brookhaven followed with wins over Beechcroft (12-2 on April 22), Linden-McKinley (18-5 on April 23), Mifflin (6-5 on April 25) and Columbus East (15-6 on April 26).
Brookhaven entered the week 6-12 overall and 4-3 in the City League-North Division.
"We've been hitting the ball more and playing better on defense," Bonner said. "At first, it was shaky, but everybody is now starting to play as a team."
Bonner, in his third season with the program, serves as the No. 1 pitcher and plays shortstop.
He didn't play as a freshman because of torn cartilage in his right knee suffered during wrestling.
Bonner played football for three years and wrestled each of his four years.
He played baseball for two years before beginning high school.
Bonner threw four shutout innings against Beechcroft and pitched a complete game, striking out 16, against Mifflin.
"He's done a good job leading us," coach Joe Krabill said. "He's a real solid kid."
Brookhaven's other wins were against Marion-Franklin (9-3 on April 13) and Eastmoor Academy (7-2 on April 16).
Other standouts have included sophomores Kerby Ketchens (SS/P), Steven Pelletier (INF) and Brian Brockman (C/P).
Sophomore Giovaughni Bonner (2B), who is Jalen's brother, also is on the team.
"We kind of overscheduled at the beginning of the year, playing teams like Groveport and Central Crossing," said Krabill, whose team lost to the Cruisers 12-0 and 15-0 on April 6 and to the Comets 20-0 on April 9. "We're starting seven sophomores this year, so pretty much every position is new."
Vikings baseball team blowing past foes
The Northland baseball team was 13-2 overall before playing Linden on April 29, and 12 of those victories were by double digits.
"We're averaging about 15 runs and giving up about three," coach Dean Washington said. "Good pitching will always stop good hitting and we're solid. We're having a nice year and I think we'll continue to have a nice year."
Northland's only losses before April 29 came April 15 against Whetstone (8-7) and April 17 against Centennial (5-2).
Through 12 games, sophomore Gary Miller (P/INF) was among area leaders in RBI with 28. He and senior Xavier Conner (P/CF) have been the team's top hitters.
Miller, senior Wade Beight-ler and sophomore A.J. Seum have been the leading pitchers, according to Washington.
Cougars trying to find way on diamond
The Beechcroft baseball team has been struggling on defense and on the mound, according to coach Matt Bell.
After beating East 9-7 on April 15, the Cougars lost their next five before playing Centennial on April 29.
Included in that stretch were a 27-11 loss to Walnut Ridge on April 20 and losses to Brookhaven (12-2 on April 22) and Northland (13-1 on April 25).
In a 9-8 loss to Mifflin on April 23, the Cougars committed four errors and allowed the Punchers to produce four-run innings in the third and fourth.
"I've used eight different pitchers this year," Bell said. "We've walked more than I'm happy with and we are not fielding the ball well. We do have a couple guys who have really hit the ball well. We've just not had enough consistency."
Through 10 games, sophomore Scott Scase (P/C) was hitting .464 (13-for-28) and junior Jordan Nalls (C/INF) was hitting .444 (12-for-27). Both had 16 RBI.
Bearcats track teams begin busy stretch
Beginning May 1, the Brookhaven boys and girls track and field teams started a stretch in which they were to have four meets in seven days.
On April 20 in the Mehock Relays at Ashland University, the boys team scored one point to tie Beavercreek for 36th behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (88). The girls scored 11 points to place 15th behind champion Toledo Notre Dame Academy (90) as 25 teams scored.
Scoring for the boys team was Kevin Greenhow in the long jump. He placed sixth in 20 feet, 2 1/2 inches.
For the girls, Myeisha Arnold placed sixth in the shot put (31-6 1/4) and Jatia Green was second in the 200 (26.31 seconds) and fifth in the 100 (12.85).