Improving Wildcats ready for busy stretch
Westerville South High School softball coach Jerry Kelbley doesn't mind the fact that his team played only four games in the first two weeks of the season.
"I'd rather play games in better weather than just playing a bunch of games and not enjoying them at all," he said. "I don't like our record, but I like our improvement by our players. Every day we're getting better."
South's schedule got a whole lot busier this week. The Wildcats were 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division after beating Hilliard Darby 4-0 on April 15. The contest was the first of six games in a six-day span.
Then, starting with a league game against visiting North on Monday, April 22, South will play seven games over six days.
Last season, the Wildcats and Warriors split their OCC-Cardinal contests, with South winning 2-1 in eight innings and North winning 7-6.
South opened league play April 10 with a 3-1 win over Hilliard Bradley. Senior pitcher Leah Ross allowed eight hits and two walks and recorded seven strikeouts and chipped in offensively with two hits. Senior third baseman Chelsea Raker had three hits and an RBI and sophomore first baseman Sophie Winegard had two hits.
"We had some excellent pitching from Leah," Kelbley said. "We had some clutch hitting and some good baserunning. I saw some really good things."
South has been playing without sophomore center fielder Aleah Llaneza, who broke her left hand during an early season practice. Kelbley is hoping that she will be able to return to the lineup before the end of the season.
"Aleah was a starter as a freshman and we miss her," he said.
Through four games, Raker was batting .500 and senior outfielder Laura Harrah was hitting .333.
Warhawks coach encouraged by start
Central was 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Bradley on April 16.
The Warhawks opened league play by defeating Dublin Scioto 10-0 in five innings on April 8, as senior second baseman/outfielder Hailey Pinkerton and junior pitcher Paige McMenemy each homered.
Central lost to Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 in an OCC-Cardinal contest April 10 but bounced back to beat North 3-1 in a league game April 15.
"We lost a tough one," coach Brian Wamsley said, referring to the game against Kilbourne. "We played really well. We outhit them 4-2, but one of their hits was a two-run home run."
Through five games, junior catcher/first baseman Allie Haines and junior shortstop Morgan Ciehanski both were hitting .308. McMenemy was 2-3 with a 2.54 ERA, 38 strikeouts and nine walks.
"The good thing is, it doesn't seem to be like one kid (contributing)," Wamsley said. "We're spreading it around, which I really like. We're learning as we go along. I like the direction we're heading and I think they're coming together."
Warriors bounce back from slow start
North lost its first three games but rebounded to win three in a row before losing to Central.
The winning streak included a 7-0 victory over Scioto on April 10, as senior Rachel Trimmer pitched a two-hitter.
"We're about where I thought we'd be," coach Joe Francisco said. "We're getting a little better. When we first got outside, we were a little bit behind. I know everybody had the weather situation, but we had everybody at a new position this year and we had to get out on the dirt. Since we've done that, we're improving."
The Warriors used three pitchers through seven games. In addition to Trimmer, junior Kati Hall and freshman Sammy Kilbane have seen time in the circle.