Although he wasn't totally satisfied, Whitehall-Yearling High School baseball coach Bill Welsh believes his team made strides this season.
The Rams finished 7-13 overall and 4-10 in the MSL-Ohio Division.
"Obviously, we still have a lot to work on," Welsh said. "(Going) 7-13 is not where we want to finish, but being an improvement on last year (when we were 3-21) is steps to being where we want."
Whitehall lost at fourth-seeded Watterson 10-0 in five innings in the second round of the Division II district tournament May 16. The 20th-seeded Rams defeated 15th-seeded and host Independence 18-3 in six innings in the first round May 13.
Whitehall finished seventh in the MSL-Ohio behind co-champions Bexley and Columbus Academy (12-2), West Jefferson (10-4), Worthington Christian (6-8), London (5-9) and Grandview (5-9) and ahead of Madison Plains (2-12).
The Rams defeated Madison Plains 14-1 in five innings April 19 and 3-1 on May 9, Worthington Christian 3-1 on May 5 and Grandview 11-6 on April 21.
Whitehall also defeated Beechcroft 32-1 in five innings April 1 and Centennial 20-18 on April 26.
Junior Cameron Barker (SS) hit .433 with seven doubles, three home runs, 32 RBI, 22 runs and eight stolen bases. He was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
"Cameron is a big one coming back," Welsh said. "Our offense centers around him."
The Rams lose five seniors, including Myles Russell (P/OF), who was first-team all-league after hitting .397 with 21 runs and nine RBI. On the mound, Russell was 3-4 with a 4.54 ERA, 59 strikeouts and 32 walks in 49 1/3 innings.
Senior Nick Wright (P/1B), who was honorable mention all-league and all-district, hit .350 with two home runs, 17 runs and 13 RBI.
"I feel like we got a lot accomplished," Wright said. "With a lot of young guys, we did pretty decent. We feel like we could have won a lot more games than just seven. We had close games that we lost. We wish we could have won more and then we could have had a higher seed (in the district tournament) and work from there."
Junior Nick Sang (OF/2B/P) hit .320 with three doubles, nine RBI and eight runs.
Senior Cody Koons (C/P) hit .298 with three doubles and 11 stolen bases. He was honorable mention all-league.
"It was a really good group of kids," Welsh said of the seniors. "They helped a lot over the last two years, especially helping in the transition from coach (Dave) Hutchison to myself. They did a good job buying in to what we're trying to do and bringing everybody along with them."
Others eligible to return are junior Jaquan Bevly (INF/P), sophomores Shawn Barnes (INF/C) and Jake Somers (P/OF) and freshmen Braden Barker (OF/P/C) and Marquel Key (INF/P).
"We do bring back a good nucleus of kids to build around for next year," Welsh said.
Tennis team finishes .500
Boys tennis coach Ben White was pleased that his team finished .500 in his second season.
"We're fine with 8-8," he said. "We wanted that winning record, but I don't think there's been a team in the past decade that's won that many matches. I'm really proud of the kids and I couldn't be happier."
The Rams finished fifth (13 points, 2-4) in the seven-team MSL-Ohio behind champion Columbus Academy (50, 6-0). The Vikings won the league tournament April 26 at London with 14 points and Whitehall was fifth with two points.
Senior Ethan Miller in singles and the doubles team of senior Matt McGarran and junior Jacob Dilbeck led the Rams in a Division I sectional tournament May 16 at Upper Arlington.
Miller defeated Franklin Heights' Nestor Montoya 6-1, 6-0 before losing to UA's Chuck Shewalter 6-0, 6-0. McGarran and Dilbeck defeated Franklin Heights' Carlos Andrade and Ivan Cruz 6-2, 6-1 before losing to Westerville North's Sean Stacho and Vidit Singhal 6-4, 6-0.
"There's still some teams that we can compete with and we had pretty good first-round (sectional) matches against Franklin Heights," said White, whose team moved from Division II to Division I this season. "There's other teams there we beat like Hamilton Township, but after the first round it gets pretty difficult."
The Rams lose six seniors, so "we're going to have to do some recruiting next year," White said.
Others eligible to return are junior Bryce Klabunde, sophomore Natneal Fissehaye and freshmen Natneal Dessa, Chala Mosissa and James Pooch.
Track teams compete at district
The boys and girls track and field teams competed in the Division I, district 1 meet May 20, 22 and 24 at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional meet, which began May 28 and concludes Friday, May 30, at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each regional event advance to the state meet June 6 and 7 at Ohio State.