As the Whitehall-Yearling High School baseball team began its second round of games against MSL-Ohio Division opponents, first-year coach Bill Welsh was hoping for vast improvement.
Whitehall was 2-9 overall and 1-6 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Lakewood on April 22.
"I'm hoping now that we've been through it once, we kind of got our feet wet and some of our younger guys and inexperienced guys will be able to play. So hopefully this second time around we'll be able to click a little bit more," Welsh said.
The first round of league games included a 4-3 home win over Columbus Academy on April 15, a contest Welsh called a highlight of the season.
The Rams tied the game 3-all with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning and scored the winning run in the seventh when junior Cody Koons (C/P) came home on junior Nick Wright's RBI single.
Wright (P/1B) and sophomore Cameron Barker (SS) each had two hits.
Welsh said his team also played well in a 6-5 loss to Bexley on April 17.
"We played really well against Academy and Bexley," Welsh said. "Defensively, we didn't make a lot of errors that cost us. (The) pitching was good. We've been swinging the bats well. Bexley did what they had to do to get the win, so you have to tip your cap to them, but we played well."
Through 11 games, Barker was leading the team in batting average (.514), RBI (7) and doubles (4), and junior Myles Russell (P/SS) led the team in runs (11).
"We're starting to work together more," Barker said. "The game against Academy was a great finish. That shows me a lot of potential. It also shows that when we're down in a hole, we can also work our way back up and win a tough, pressured game."
Welsh said Russell and senior Logan Webb (P/SS/OF) have been his most consistent pitchers.
Russell was the winning pitcher against Academy, allowing seven hits and striking out seven in the complete-game performance.
Webb had a 2.55 ERA with 20 strikeouts through 24 2/3 innings.
"We definitely want to improve," Barker said. "We've seen what these other teams can do and we have the ability to jump on it, break down what these players can do, shut them down and hope for a win."
Track teams win Ramsey Invitational
The boys and girls track and field teams each finished first in the five-team Joe Ramsey Invitational on April 20 at Hartley.
The boys (197 points) finished ahead of second-place Hartley (160), and the girls (161.5) finished ahead of second-place Hartley (130).
Winners for the boys were Mohamed Toure in the 200 meters (23.97 seconds) and 400 (53.16), Samson Edessa in the 1,600 (5:22.14) and 3,200 (11:27.56), Abiel Kiflu in the 800 (2:08.9), Troy Gray in the shot put (41 feet, 2 inches) and the 800 (1:35.78), 1,600 (3:48.09) and 3,200 (9:04.72) relays.
Winners for the girls were Madeleine Camara in the 200 (30.39), Marissa Ware in the 100 hurdles (17.25) and 300 hurdles (54.43), Alexis Kefauver in the shot put (24-9) and Whitney DeClouet in the discus (75-4).
"It was good for them to both take home a first-place trophy at the same time," coach Zach Wright said. "It gives them a little bit of confidence. It was the kind of meet we needed because it was close to home. The parents could come and watch since we don't have any home meets and both teams had a lot of success, so it was a good weekend."
Softball coach likes improvement
Softball coach Brian Anderson continues to be impressed with his team's improvement at the plate.
Anderson said his team played well in losses to Hartley (15-9) and Hilliard Darby (11-8) on April 20 at Hartley.
"The offense is coming along faster than I expected," he said. "We're also doing a great job using our speed. Our biggest issue is we just need to be better in all aspects of defense. Fielding, throwing, mental decisions and communication all must improve for us to have success."
Through 14 games, senior pitcher Danielle Farnlacher was leading the team in hitting at .395, followed by senior catcher Delina Farnlacher (.366) and freshman shortstop Brooklyn Rayburn (.325).
Rayburn led in RBI with 14.