Westerville News & Public Opinion

Softball

McMenemys spark Warhawks

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKSPORTS
Senior pitcher Paige McMenemy (right) and her sister, Megan, a freshman shortstop, have helped lead the Central softball team to a 16-7 overall record and the program's first league title since 2007.
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Paige McMenemy waited years to play on the Westerville Central High School softball team with her younger sister, Megan.

This spring, they're making the most of the opportunity.

Paige, a senior pitcher, and Megan, a freshman shortstop, helped lead the Warhawks to the OCC-Cardinal Division title at 12-2. It was Central's first league title since 2007.

"It's been really cool," Paige said of playing with her sister. "I know we've always looked forward to it. We knew we had one year to play together. It's always been something that my family has looked forward to that we could play together and that I have looked forward to, too."

The Warhawks secured the league title with a 7-1 win over visiting Hilliard Bradley on May 8. Bradley finished second in the league at 10-4.

"We heard talk that we were supposed to win OCC, and so we really wanted to make that happen," Paige said.

Led by the McMenemys, the War-hawks now are pursuing loftier goals.

Seeded seventh for the Division I district tournament, Central is 16-7 overall and opens the postseason Thursday, May 15, by playing host to 34th-seeded Logan or 35th-seeded Hilliard Darby in a second-round game. Central defeated Darby 11-1 in five innings April 21 and 12-0 in six innings May 7.

The winner plays 13th-seeded New Albany, 19th-seeded Canal Winchester or 29th-seeded Westerville South in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 20, at Pickerington Central.

The Warhawks split two league games with Canal Winchester, winning 4-1 on April 9 and losing 4-2 on May 6. They won both league games against South, 10-0 in five innings April 16 and 1-0 on May 5.

The district final is May 23 or 24 at Pickerington Central.

Paige has led the Warhawks with her arm and bat. Through 22 games, she was hitting .409 with 12 doubles, three home runs and 19 RBI, and was 16-4 with a 0.54 ERA, 195 strikeouts and 32 walks in 130 1/3 innings.

Paige is the program-record holder in strikeouts in a season, with 251 last year, and she became the career leader after striking out 14 in a 4-3 loss at Teays Valley on May 12. She had 731 strikeouts before May 15, surpassing the previous mark of 727 held by 2008 graduate and current pitching coach Olivia Wamsley, the daughter of coach Brian Wamsley.

Paige entered the week with 144 career hits, one away from trying 2013 graduate Perry Wallinger's program-record.

"It's going to be tough to say goodbye to Paige," Brian Wamsley said. "Not only because of her style of play, but because she keeps every kid optimistic. It's a never-say-die attitude that she has and I'm just hoping that Megan can step up and be that next one."

Paige will play softball at the University of Akron.

"When I went on the Akron campus, it just really felt like it could be a good home and I like the academics," she said. "I just really like the setup of the place. The field is in the middle of campus and I like the coaches and the players. It just seemed like a perfect fit."

Megan has been a key contributor in the field at shortstop and in the lineup from the leadoff position.

"This is everything I expected," Brian Wamsley said of the sisters playing together. "I said two years ago that Megan would probably be my starting shortstop now ... because I saw her play. She's a solid player and she's a smart player. She knows the game real well."

Megan was hitting .394 with nine doubles, 22 runs and 15 RBI through 22 games. She also was 17-for-17 in stolen-base attempts.

"Being a freshman and on varsity is just a great feeling and knowing that Paige is pitching and I'm playing with her and a bunch of older girls is just really exciting," Megan said.

Brian Wamsley said Megan might be a potential replacement for her sister in the circle next season. She already has made a verbal commitment to Ohio State.

"They have been watching me for a couple of years," Megan said of the Buckeyes. "I have been going to their camps and I heard they were interested in me, but I was surprised when they asked me to visit and gave me an offer. I've been working hard and looking forward to the opportunity to play in college."

North wins rematch against South

North avenged a 7-4 loss to South on April 23 by defeating the host Wildcats 3-0 on May 9 as Sammy Kilbane went the distance for the win, allowing four hits.

North finished 8-6 in the OCC-Cardinal and went 10-11 overall in the regular season.

The Warriors were seeded 25th in the district tourna-ment and played 37th-seeded Whetstone in the first round May 13.

The winner plays at eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round Thursday, May 15, with that winner playing ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 42nd-seeded Dublin Scioto in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 20, at Pickerington North.

The Warriors defeated Scioto 16-1 in five innings April 9 and 14-2 in five innings May 1.

The district final is May 23 or 24 at Pickerington Central.

"The kids have been playing well," coach Joe Francisco said.

South opens district play

South was 10-12 overall before playing Canal Winchester in a first-round district tournament game May 13, with the winner playing at New Albany in the second round Thursday, May 15.

The second-round winner plays Westerville Central, Darby or Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 20, at Pickerington Central.

South lost to Darby 4-3 on April 17 and defeated the Panthers 7-6 on May 2.

The district final is May 23 or 24 at Pickerington Central.

South was 5-8 in the OCC-Cardinal, with a game against Canal Winchester on April 29 suspended in the 11th inning because of bad weather. The game was tied at 3.

The Wildcats defeated Scioto 23-6 in five innings May 8.

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