Tough path awaits baseball squad
Westland High School baseball coach Dave Daniels realizes that his team faces a major challenge in the Division I district tournament.
The Cougars are seeded last of 41 teams and will open at sixth-seeded Gahanna in the second round Wednesday, May 15, with both teams having a first-round bye. The winner plays 15th-seeded Westerville South, 23rd-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 26th-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal May 20 at Grove City.
Westland concluded the regular season May 8 with a 5-1 loss to Central Crossing to fall to 1-28 overall and finish 0-14 in the OCC-Central Division. Thomas Worthington won the OCC-Central at 11-3.
Gahanna was 17-10 before playing Lakewood on May 11.
"Gahanna will be a tough test," Daniels said. "They are a very good team, but just like the top teams in our division, Thomas Worthington and Olentangy Liberty."
Westland did not play Gahanna during the regular season. The Cougars lost to South 11-1 in five innings May 7 and lost both of its league games against UA, 5-2 on May 1 and 15-2 in six innings May 3.
Westland enters the postseason on a 22-game losing streak. Its lone win came against Fisher Catholic, 6-5 on April 6.
"Our team never quit," Daniels said of his team's effort during the regular season. "An umpire even said that (May 7) after the game (against South). We just were not good enough to compete with the teams on our schedule."
Through 28 games, senior Korey Browning (P/INF) was leading the Cougars in batting average (.315), runs (11) and RBI (10).
"We're an inexperienced team, but we wanted to see more improvement than we did," Daniels said. "I'll need to do a better job coaching fundamentals and concept next year. We need to be 'baseball' smarter."
Softball team opens tourney at Watterson
The softball team is seeded 41st of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament and will open at eighth-seeded Watterson in the first round Tuesday, May 14.
The winner plays 18th-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 32nd-seeded Hilliard Darby in the second round Thursday, May 16, at the higher seed. The second-round winner plays seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, 19th-seeded Westerville North or 29th-seeded Newark in a district semifinal May 21 at Pickerington North.
Westland is 0-23 overall and 0-13 in the OCC-Central. It will conclude league play Monday, May 13, at home against Upper Arlington in a game that was postponed May 6 because of bad weather. The Cougars lost to the Golden Bears 16-4 in five innings April 18.
"I knew we were going to struggle (this season)," coach Mike North said. "(Pitcher) Ashley (Haulter) has done the best she can under the situation. I think our defense is better than what it looks, but we're just getting shelled with the ball hitting right back at them all the time. (Opponents are) hitting the gaps and we're not. They're pulling the ball well and we're not making plays. It's not due to a lack of effort. (The girls are) trying. It's just (been) a tough season."
Watterson was 14-4 before playing UA on May 9 and won its first CCL title since 2008, going 6-0 in the league.
Tennis team getting set for sectional
Members of the boys tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Davidson.
"For my younger guys, we'd like to get a couple more matches in and find out what it's like to play in tournaments, get added experience that hopefully will help them down the road," coach Dan Witteman said.
Westland, which was 3-13 overall before playing Circleville on May 9, lost to Central Crossing 5-0 on May 7 to finish 0-7 in the OCC-Central. The league tournament was held May 11 at Upper Arlington.
"(May 7) wasn't a good match," Witteman said. "We lost to Central Crossing 0-5 and I was disappointed in that match. I thought we would play better and we didn't. We took a step backwards."
Westland defeated Grove City 3-2 on May 8. Winners were Roman Novikov at first singles (4-6, 6-1, 6-4), Bryan Moreno at third singles (6-2, 6-4) and Zach Prak and Jonathan Marshall at second doubles (6-4, 6-3).
Track teams prepare for OCC-Central meet
The track and field teams will compete in the OCC-Central meet Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Thomas Worthington.
Last season, the boys team scored 25 points in the league meet to finish eighth behind Davidson (170.5), Dublin Coffman (146), Thomas (115.5), Darby (80), Upper Arlington (52), Kilbourne (35) and Central Crossing (35).
The girls team also finished eighth in the league meet a year ago, scoring 15 points to finish behind Coffman (179.5), Davidson (164), Kilbourne (82), Darby (78.25), Thomas (62.75), UA (56) and Central Crossing (20.5).
Darby and Kilbourne have moved to the OCC-Cardinal and were replaced by Liberty and Marysville.
"The OCC is once again loaded with talent," coach Tim Eckard said. "I'm excited for our elite varsity athletes because they will get the chance to showcase their talents against some of the best track athletes in the state.
"I'm also excited for some of our young kids just starting out. They get to see high-level competition, which will hopefully serve as motivation to work hard in the offseason. Whatever happens at the league meet, I am confident that our team will show and give 100 percent effort and represent our school well."
The boys team finished sixth (55) in the 16-team Anthony Wilson Invitational on May 4 at Franklin Heights behind champion Franklin Heights (84).
Seth Farmer won the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 38.19 seconds and placed third in the 800 (2:07.47).
The girls team finished ninth (19) of 13 teams in the Anthony Wilson Invitational, behind champion Central Crossing (115).
Oluchi Obiagwu was the Cougars' highest finisher, placing fourth in the 100 (14.02).