Westerville Central High School softball coach Rick Branaghan recalls Olivia Wamsley's career at Genoa Middle School. She showed promise at Genoa, but at first wasn't considered the school's top pitcher.

Westerville Central High School softball coach Rick Branaghan recalls Olivia Wamsley's career at Genoa Middle School. She showed promise at Genoa, but at first wasn't considered the school's top pitcher.

Upon urging from her father, Brian, Wamsley began pitching the summer before seventh grade. She was considered the seventh grade's No. 3 pitcher before taking over the top duties midway through her eighth-grade season.

Four years later, Wamsley will leave Central considered as the top pitcher in the program's five years.

"She's had four years to do it," Branaghan said. "No one else has had that opportunity. Maybe someone else will behind her, but she's certainly at this point a benchmark for other young players.

"She's a great student. When teachers talk about her they talk about her work ethic in the classroom. People like to see her be successful."

Wamsley, a fourth-year starter, helped the Warhawks earn their first OCC-Central Division title last season as they shared first with Thomas Worthington at 8-2. Wamsley also helped Central earn its first 20-win season, finishing 21-8 overall, and reach its first district title game.

Last season, she was 17-6 with a 1.47 ERA. She struck out 164 and walked 31. She also led the team in hitting with a .416 average. She was first-team all-OCC and all-district and honorable mention all-state.

"I still get really nervous before every game because every game means a lot to me, but my freshman year I was so nervous I wasn't sure how to approach it," Wamsley said. "I feel like now I'm so use to it. Our team has come really far and I'm just happy."

Through 12 games this season, Wamsley was 6-3 with a 1.20 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 11 walks. Batting cleanup, she was hitting .333.

She shares captain's duties with seniors Kacee Boham, Chelsea Donaugh and Ashley Hayes.

"We definitely have a lot of potential," Wamsley said. "We have a lot of young kids and a lot of young kids with potential. We just have to work a lot and practice a lot."

A highlight of the season was Wamsley's effort in an 8-1 win over Westerville North last Saturday. She took a shutout into the seventh inning, finishing with a six-hitter. She struck out five and walked none. She added a pair of singles and a run scored.

The win helped the Warhawks avenge a 9-2 loss to North last season.

"We look forward to games like this," Wamsley said. "Last year we had a rough game with them and we've been hearing it from them the whole year, so we just wanted to get back at them and we're looking forward to playing South, too, and do the same thing."

The Warhawks will look for a season sweep of the other Westerville schools when they face South on May 10.

Branaghan considers Wamsley one of the top athletes on the team as she could play numerous positions.

"If I put her probably in any position on this field, she'd be our best player," Branaghan said. "First base may be her best position."

Wamsley will get a chance to display that diversity at the collegiate level as she has signed a letter of intent to play at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va. Wamsley will join a team deep in pitching, and is expected to see time at first base as a freshman. She also considered Capital and Alcorn State.

"At the end it was between Capital and Wheeling Jesuit, and I ended up getting more money from Wheeling Jesuit," Wamsley said. "I ended up liking the school more, it was a better fit for me. They have a great nursing program."

(Below) The Warriors' Sarah Vosler takes a practice swing on deck.

Central coach Rick Branaghan gives Kacee Bonhan the stop sign last Friday as she rounds third base against North.

(Left) Central's Dara Toman, left, is congratulated by Jackie Broyles at the end of an inning.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Central softball teams:

*April 14 -- Defeated Central Crossing 4-3. Olivia Wamsley struck out 11 and had a pair of hits.

*April 16 -- Lost to Thomas Worthington 4-2. Wamsley struck out nine and Dara Toman hit a home run.

April 17 -- Lost to Dublin Scioto 8-4. Tara O'Malley took the loss and Toman had a pair of hits.

Last Friday -- Def. North 8-1. Wamsley struck out five and she and Kacee Boham had two hits.

*Last Monday -- Lost to Marysville 1-0 in nine innings

Last Tuesday -- Played Hilliard Darby

*Last Wednesday -- Played Delaware

Today -- Home vs. Westland. Last season, Central lost 3-0.

Friday-Saturday -- At Centennial Stellar Classic at Beekman Park. Central will play Hilliard Davidson on Friday and Strasburg-Franklin and New Concord John Glenn on Saturday.

*Monday -- At Pickerington. North. Central lost 5-3 on April 9.

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Central Crossing. Central won 4-3 on April 14.

Of note: The Warhawks were 7-6 overall before last Tuesday and 2-3 in the OCC-Central before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Central game

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the North and South softball teams:

NORTH

*April 14 -- Lost to Upper Arlington 5-2

*April 16 -- Def. Hilliard Davidson 4-1. Ariel Jordan was the winning pitcher.

Last Friday -- Lost to Central 8-1

Last Saturday -- Def. Whetstone 12-2; def. Scioto 5-3. Against Whetstone, Alyssa Falcone earned the win. Jordan was the winning pitcher against Scioto.

*Last Monday -- Lost to Dublin Coffman 9-5

*Last Wednesday -- Played Reynoldsburg

Friday-Saturday -- At South-Western Classic at Westland

*Monday -- At Grove City. North lost 2-0 on April 9.

*Wednesday -- Home vs. UA

Of note: The Warriors were 7-6 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Buckeye game

SOUTH

*April 14 -- Def. Worthington Kilbourne 5-0. Ashley Byers threw a no-hitter.

*April 16 -- Def. Pickerington Central 6-5. The Wildcats scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh. Jessica Eads was the winning pitcher.

Last Friday -- Def. Groveport 3-2. Rachel Ross was the winning pitcher.

Last Saturday -- Def. Whetstone 12-2; game against Scioto canceled. Ross got the win against Whetstone.

*Last Monday -- Def. Jerome 6-1

Last Tuesday -- Played Big Walnut

*Last Wednesday -- Played Mount Vernon

Friday-Saturday -- At Stellar Classic at Beekman Park. South will play Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit on Friday and Sandusky Perkins and Lakewood on Saturday.

*Monday -- Home vs. Olentangy. South won 3-0 on April 9 as Byers threw a no-hitter and Jana Snyder hit a three-run home run.

*Wednesday -- At Kilbourne

Of note: The Wildcats were 9-3 overall before last Tuesday and 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Cardinal game