Since taking over as Ready High School baseball coach in the offseason, Nate Hillery has stressed having quality at bats as opposed to being consumed with batting average and a point system for pitchers that downplays ERA.
The Silver Knights didn't win as many games as they had hoped to during the season's first half, but focusing on each pitch is something Hillery expects to pay off in the long run.
Ready, which lost a pair of 5-0 decisions to Springboro on April 15 and fell to Briggs 3-0 on April 21, was 3-10 overall before playing April 24 against Worthington Christian and April 25 against Shekinah Christian.
"With myself and the team, we expected to have a couple more wins," Hillery said. "We haven't met our potential yet in any one game and we've had some bad breaks. But we're getting close. The bottom line is that we've got to be more focused on doing our jobs. It's been a learning process."
Ready is 0-4 in the CCL entering its game Monday, April 28, at home against Hartley.
In a 5-2 loss April 8 to the Hawks, senior Drew Hasenkamp pitched five scoreless innings but gave up five runs in the sixth, including a three-run home run to Jake Ruby. Ready also committed three errors.
Hasenkamp also tossed a complete game to lead the Knights past Logan Elm 9-3 on April 12.
The top hitters have been senior Hunter Clanin, who starts at catcher and also has pitched, and juniors Brendan Kirby (OF) and Jason Horn (2B).
"Our pitching has been outstanding," Hillery said. "Hunter Clanin and Brendan Kirby had been doing an outstanding job at the plate. Hunter had a stretch where he had five consecutive at bats of a double or better. Drew Hasenkamp has pitched phenomenal all season and behind the plate Clanin has just been phenomenal.
"We're trying to get them to focus everything on the process. We've been in every game."
Softball team not down about start
On its way to making the Division III state tournament a year ago, the softball team lost 12 of its first 15 games.
The Knights, who were 1-7 before playing in the Prebis Memorial Invitational on April 25 and 26 at LaGrange Keystone, believe there still is time to turn things around this season.
On April 12, Ready won 7-2 over Columbia Station Columbia, which it lost to 3-1 in a state semifinal last season.
The Knights have lost close games to Hilliard Davidson (3-1 on April 8), Strasburg-Franklin (2-0 on April 11) and Lexington (3-2 on April 12).
On April 16 in an 8-5 loss to DeSales in their CCL opener, pitcher Julia Hall struck out 18 but gave up a grand slam in the top of the seventh.
"We're doing all the right things," coach Jen Goff said. "Until (the third week in April) we were struggling to score runs and now we're just having a little issue on defense."
After sophomore catcher Shannan Waldo suffered a broken thumb in early April, senior Haylee Patel moved from center field to behind the plate. Waldo has returned in a pinch-hitting role.
Patel has committed to Heidelberg University.
Junior Hailey Bryan has moved from first base to center field and junior Brook Minnehan has moved from the outfield to first base.
"Julia also had 19 strikeouts against Columbia Station, which is the team we lost to in the state semis last year," Goff said. "Against Strasburg-Franklin, she struck out the first eight. She's been pitching well."
Worstell leaving for Marion Harding
After leading the boys basketball program for five seasons, Don Worstell left earlier this month for a job closer to home.
Worstell, who lives in Prospect, recently accepted a teaching position and will be the coach at Marion Harding.
A 1982 Morral Ridgedale graduate, Worstell previously coached at North Union for two seasons, Marion Elgin for seven years and Franklin Heights for two years before taking over at Ready for the 2009-10 season.
"I live about 10 miles south of Marion, so it's about going back home for me," Worstell said. "It was very difficult. I've coached for a long time and my five years at Ready were absolutely special. It's really a beautiful place to coach. This had to do with me getting rid of the hour-long commute."
Ready is losing eight seniors after it went 21-6 overall this winter and tied Hartley and St. Charles for second in the CCL at 4-4, behind Watterson (8-0) and ahead of DeSales (0-8).
The Knights made their fifth state tournament appearance, with the others coming in 1972 and 1973 when they won Class AA titles, 2002 when they were Division III state runners-up and 2010 when they lost in a state semifinal in Worstell's first season.
Harding finished 3-19 this winter.
"(Harding is) a spot where we're going to have to do some rebuilding, but (the school has) re-entered the Central District and will be in the (Mid Ohio Athletic Conference)," Worstell said. "Harding has been a school without a league for a long time."