After losing to Fairfield Christian 12-3 on April 23, the Tree of Life Christian School baseball team was in need of a strong effort against Madison Christian on April 25 if it planned on remaining in the MOCAL race.
The Eagles also needed a solid performance to regain some confidence, according to coach Rick Parcher.
Although the Trojans struggled at times against the last-place Eagles, they managed to pull away for a 23-13 win in five innings.
"This helps," Parcher said. "Morale-wise, it was nice to get back on the winning track and especially to go out and hit the ball well."
Tree of Life led 14-1 in the first inning, but Madison Christian rallied to within 14-12 in the third.
The Trojans, who defeated Madison Christian 22-1 in five innings April 8, scored nine runs in the fourth to regain control.
"We hit the ball well when we had the starters in there, but so much has to do with whether you throw strikes on the mound," Parcher said.
"We've been erratic recently. We're capable of being real good, but we're also capable of being real bad."
Senior Donnie Tong (CF/P) continued to lead Tree of Life as he homered and tripled in the first inning and added a double and another triple later in the game. He finished with six RBI.
Last season, Tong led the team in hitting at .513 and was first-team all-league and all-district in Division IV.
Parcher expected another solid season from Tong and he hasn't disappointed.
"He's having another real fine year," Parcher said. "You see what he's capable of doing with the bat and he's also a very fine outfielder, so we want to make sure he gets the proper credit and hope that other people are noticing him as well."
Through 13 games, Tong was hitting .585 with two home runs, five doubles, four triples and 22 RBI.
"We still have a lot of room to improve," Tong said. "Pitching-wise, we need to work on just keeping the ball low and keep hitting in the clutch situations. I think we'll do better, but we still have a lot of room to improve."
Tong has received interest from several colleges, but has yet to make a decision.
Against Madison Christian, junior Andy Johnson (SS/C/P) doubled twice and singled and was the winning pitcher in relief.
Sophomore Christian Gilbert (P/OF) led the pitching staff with a 4-0 record through 13 games.
Tree of Life was 6-1 in the MOCAL before playing Grove City Christian on April 30.
The Trojans' rematch with Fairfield Christian, which entered the week 8-0 in the league, is May 9 on the road.
"We have to win that next game with Fairfield, which I think we can do, but we just have to concentrate on winning these next league games," Tong said.
Young softball team gaining experience
Softball coach Pat McWherter has been pleased with his team's development in the second half of the season.
"We're about where I thought we would be in terms of developing," McWherter said. "Our younger players are developing. Our more senior players are right where they ought to be. We're right on the edge of being able to really take charge of some games. We still commit too many errors, and they're both mental and physical errors."
Four freshmen have emerged as starters, led by center fielder Megan King.
Through 11 games, King led the team in hitting at .550 and RBI with 11.
The other freshmen starters are Erica Grove at catcher, Abbey Ticknor in right field and Shannon Borton in left field.
Junior pitcher Kasey Ticknor was 3-4 with a 4.27 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 27 walks in 43 innings.
Senior shortstop Lindsay Augustyniak was hitting .393 with seven stolen bases and senior infielder Kaylea Safrit was hitting .357 with nine RBI.
Track teams compete at Hartley
The boys and girls track and field teams competed in the Joe Ramsey Invitational on April 20 at Hartley.
The boys were fourth (60 points) in the four-team event behind Whitehall (199), Hartley (151) and Eastmoor (97).
Finishing second were Jaylan Davis in the 400 meters (53.78 seconds) and Alex Tanner in the 3,200 (12:08.56).
The girls were fourth (62) in a five-team field behind Whitehall (156), Hartley (125) and Walnut Ridge (92.5) and ahead of Wellington (18).
Kailah Sanders was first in the high jump (4 feet, 9 inches) and Keirra Sanders was second in the 200 (31.29).