Thomas Worthington High School softball coach Lindsay Shepherd readily admits she has big expectations for her team this season.
"But I don't say them because I don't want to jinx myself," she said.
The Cardinals started OCC-Central Division play doing all the talking for Shepherd, averaging 12 runs in their first two league games while defeating Upper Arlington 13-5 on April 8 and Westland 11-0 in five innings April 10. And Thomas, which was 4-3 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central after beating Marysville 3-0 on April 15, hasn't been scoring quietly.
Junior pitcher Anna Marie Boue hit two home runs against Westland after senior catcher Toni Chirdon hit a two-run home run to cap a 14-hit day against UA. Sophomore third baseman/outfielder Carson Baymiller homered in a 3-1 win over West Jefferson on April 6.
"That's been a nice surprise," Shepherd said of her team's power, especially after graduating leadoff hitter Kim Hoerauf, who batted .470 with 19 stolen bases last year and now plays soccer at Capital. "We lost a crucial leadoff hitter, but we're strong all the way around."
Boue, who has been pitching for six years, said she mostly was a contact hitter in previous years but discovered some power last fall playing for the Cincy Doom U16 Burden travel team.
"I've turned into a power hitter," Boue said.
"I hit three home runs for my travel team in the fall, so I'm hoping to add more."
Boue, Shepherd and senior center fielder Rachel Garris all lauded the Cardinals' versatility, saying they think all 13 players on the roster can play at least three positions.
"We have a great lineup and we have five great outfielders," said Garris, a .384 hitter last year. "The beginning of the season, we started low (including a 7-4 loss to Delaware on April 6 in which Thomas committed nine errors). We struggled a little bit and we weren't very excited. But now with two conference wins under our belts, we're all very excited."
After non-league losses to Lancaster (12-1) and Olentangy Orange (11-1) on April 13, the Cardinals entered a stretch in which nine of 12 games were within the league.
"Coach always says we have the potential to do great things," Garris said. "Our team goals are to win every game (and) play it game-by-game so we don't psyche ourselves out."
Wolves preparing for busy week
Kilbourne entered the week 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal, sharing the league lead with Westerville North.
The Wolves started league play with wins over Westerville South (4-0 on April 8), Westerville Central (2-1 on April 10) and Hilliard Bradley (3-2 on April 15).
Senior Sarah Adams pitched a three-hitter against Central and hit a two-run home run.
A league game at Hilliard Darby was postponed from April 12 to Thursday, April 18.
After playing at North on Friday, April 19, the Wolves will play New Concord John Glenn and Lancaster in the 13-team Lancaster Softball Classic on Saturday, April 20.