The first meeting between the Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high school softball teams this season was decided by one timely hit.

The first meeting between the Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high school softball teams this season was decided by one timely hit.

Thomas senior Kim Hoerauf led off the top of the sixth inning with an infield single and junior Rachel Garris drove her in with a double to left field as the Cardinals won 1-0 on April 18.

Both squads are among the better teams in central Ohio and the OCC-Central Division. Thomas was 14-2 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Central and Kilbourne was 11-3 overall and 6-3 in the league before April 23.

The Cardinals will play host to the Wolves in the teams' regular-season finale May 4. In their first meeting, both teams had three hits.

"Zoe Myers and Megan McLaughlin have been a great pitching combination for us," Thomas coach Lindsey Shepherd said. "Zoe is our fast, speed-dominating pitcher who gets a lot of strikeouts. Megan is a junk-baller who keeps offenses off balance and throws a lot of ground balls.

"Our defense has been exceptional behind them and I think it has won a few games for us. We made quite a few nice plays against Kilbourne that got us out of possible bad innings."

Thomas' only losses through 15 games were 4-1 to Teays Valley in the opener March 28 and 4-0 to Central Crossing on April 16. Central Crossing, which was unbeaten in the OCC-Central, was ranked fourth in the Division I state poll last week. The Comets also were the top-ranked team in the district coaches poll.

"That was the game I was most disappointed with this season," Shepherd said. "It was a big mind game for our girls. (Central Crossing has) a dominant pitcher in (Savannah) Dorsey and we only put the ball in play three times off her. We got one hit from Hoerauf and they made two errors.

The difference was that they put the ball in play against us and we didn't against them.

"We've got to find a way to stay up, stay positive 24-7. We get another chance at them when we go to their place (May 2)."

Through 15 games, freshman third baseman Carson Baymiller led the Cardinals in hitting at .418 and Hoerauf was at .409.

"Baymiller hits ninth and then we have Hoerauf at the top, so that's also a good combination that's working well right now," Shepherd said. "We're getting production from every part of the order. Abby Zofchak, our cleanup hitter, is hitting .390 with two home runs and Zoe Myers has three home runs and she bats fifth or sixth, depending on the game."

Coach encouraged by Wolves' play

While Kilbourne coach John Warinner was disappointed with the loss to Thomas, he has been thrilled with his team.

"It was a great game – well pitched, well played and clean," he said. "They made some real nice plays against us and we didn't make an error.

It's not often you play in 1-0 games because that consists of two strong pitching outings and two strong defenses with few or no mistakes made.
"In fact, until this season, the last time I coached a 1-0 game was when I was coaching for Dover and we lost to St. Clairsville in a 1989 district final. But now we've played two in a row."

Before losing to Thomas, the Wolves beat Dublin Coffman 1-0 on April 16.

Against Thomas, freshman Grayson Brown and sophomore Emily Rodriguez both had doubles. But both came with two outs and were in different innings. The other hit was a leadoff single by sophomore Miranda Adams in the seventh.

"We didn't put our hits together like Thomas did," Warinner said. "Timely hits are the name of the game. But we've been playing very well. Manda Cash and Sarah Adams both have an ERA below 1.00 and they're making good pitches and getting hitters to hit weak grounders and easy pop-ups. We've been getting contributions from everyone."

He said Brown played well at third base against Thomas and that sophomore second baseman Kristen Rossi made several strong plays against Coffman, as did Rodriguez in center field.

"Rodriguez made a phenomenal over-the-shoulder catch in the seventh with us up 1-0," Warinner said. "I think Marisa Guyton has been exceptional behind the plate and Lizzi Cherry has played four or five positions without missing a beat. It's been a great team effort so far."