The Thomas Worthington High School baseball team hit a rough spot in OCC-Central Division play and is turning its focus from a league title to playing a spoiler's role in the league race.

The Thomas Worthington High School baseball team hit a rough spot in OCC-Central Division play and is turning its focus from a league title to playing a spoiler's role in the league race.

The issue has been consistency. When the Cardinals have maintained their intensity, they've proven to be as good as any team in the area.

But a schedule full of league games wore the team down by last Friday. That was the day Thomas fell to Hilliard Davidson 7-2.

"The one thing about the Florida trip is it does put pressure on us in terms of our league," coach Stephen Gussler said last Saturday. "The last 10 days we've had nine league games. Physically and emotionally I think we're seeing that it's hard to be up and ready when you play that much."

After losing to Worthington Kilbourne 7-2, the Cardinals reached an emotional peak during a 9-7 win over Upper Arlington on April 21.

The Bears beat Thomas 10-0 in six innings April 13. The Cardinals were motivated to show they're not the type of team that gets run-ruled. They scored four runs in the top of the seventh to take command of the game, making it 9-4 before holding off a Bears rally.

"(The UA game) was great," Thomas leadoff hitter Jacob Semerar said. "Everybody in the dugout was up that game. The intensity there was, nothing could compare to it. If we could have that intensity every game we could beat everybody."

After the UA game, it was the offense's disappearance that contributed to consecutive losses. The Cardinals were shut out by Dublin Coffman 8-0 on April 22 and the following day all they could manage was a home run by Colin Finn in a 7-1 loss to Hilliard Davidson.

Thomas beat Davidson 11-6 on April 15.

Gussler said if the team is going to get back on the right track, it must find a way to produce at the plate again. On one hand, the Cardinals need to do more than they did against Coffman, Davidson and Kilbourne, but on the other hand, they have to guard against pressing too hard to make something happen.

"It's hard because a lot of (the approach to hitting is) internal," Gussler said.

"They know how important it is to perform with the team. We look to relax a little up there. Good baseball players don't try to hit seven run home runs with one swing."

As far as league play, winning a league title is probably out of the question, but Thomas can still have an impact in the league race. There hasn't been one team that appears to be running away with the OCC-Central title.

Before last Monday's league games, Thomas was sixth in the OCC-Central at 4-5. The Cardinals trailed Kilbourne (8-1), Coffman (8-2), UA (6-3), Hilliard Darby (5-4) and Hilliard Davidson (5-4). Central Crossing was seventh (1-8) followed by Westland (0-9).

Kilbourne's loss was to Darby (7-0 on April 21).

"There's definitely been a surprise team with Kilbourne," Semerar said.

"They have been getting good pitching. Right now we can be spoilers. We know that we've played good competition and we can beat anyone. We just have to go out and have fun."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne baseball team:

*April 20 - Defeated Dublin Coffman 5-1. Cody Strayer pitched a complete game and Dan Eurich drove in two runs.

*April 21 - Lost to Hilliard Darby 7-0

*Last Friday - Def. Upper Arlington 6-3. Strayer pitched a complete game.

Last Saturday - Def. Huber Heights Wayne 9-5 and lost to Gahanna 12-0

*Last Tuesday - Played Westland

*Last Wednesday - Played Hilliard Davidson

*Friday - Home vs. Central Crossing. Kilbourne won 9-2 on April 14

Saturday - At Pickerington Central

*Monday - Home vs. Dublin Coffman

*Wednesday - At Thomas Worthington

Of note: The Wolves were 11-5 overall and 8-1 in the OCC-Central Division before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Thomas baseball team:

*April 19 - Lost to Kilbourne 7-2

*April 21 - Defeated Upper Arlington 9-7

*April 22 - Lost to Coffman 8-0

*Last Friday - Lost to Hilliard Davidson 7-2

*Last Monday - Game against Coffman postponed

*Last Wednesday - Played Davidson

*Friday - Home vs. Hilliard Darby. The Cardinals lost 5-4 on April 14.

Monday - Home vs. Ready

*Wednesday - At Central Crossing. Thomas won 4-3 on April 16.

Of note: The Cardinals were 9-8 overall and 4-5 in the OCC-Central before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Central game