Kilbourne clinches OCC title
The Worthington Kilbourne High School softball team is looking to add to its banner season during the postseason.
The Wolves are seeded seventh of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament and had a first-round bye. They play host to 19th-seeded Westerville North or 26th-seeded Newark in the second round Thursday, May 16.
Kilbourne played North twice during the regular season in OCC-Cardinal Division play, rallying to beat the Warriors 6-5 in eight innings on May 6 after losing 1-0 on April 25, but has not played Newark this season.
"That was really exciting because we came back twice and were down 5-3 (entering the bottom of the eighth)," said junior pitcher/first baseman Manda Cash, who drove in the tying and winning runs with a single to left field. "It was senior night and we wanted to win for the seniors and because they beat us earlier. Plus, it more or less clinched the championship for us because we only had to win one of our final two games after that (to win the title outright)."
The Wolves improved to 23-2 overall with a 1-0 win over Olentangy Orange on May 13 and have set a program record for wins in a season, surpassing the previous mark that they set in 2011 when they went 19-6. They finished 16-6 last season.
The eighth-inning rally against North began with third baseman Sydney Warinner reaching base on an error and moving to third on a double by designated player Miranda Adams. Shortstop Cierra Van Dyke then singled to drive in Warinner and Adams moved to third on the play. After Van Dyke advanced to second, Cash produced her fifth hit of the game to score Adams and Van Dyke.
"She had a triple, double and three singles that game," coach John Warinner said of Cash.
"It wasn't a good shot, not nearly as good as her first four, but it mattered the most. It set us up to win just our second league championship in program history."
The Wolves, who had been in the OCC-Central the past four seasons, clinched the OCC-Cardinal title on May 8 when they beat Dublin Scioto 4-0, as senior Sarah Adams and Warinner combined to pitch a two-hitter.
Cash then threw a one-hitter in a 10-0, five-inning win over Hilliard Darby in a game that was suspended May 7 with the Wolves leading 9-0 after one inning and concluded May 9.
Kilbourne finished 13-1 in the OCC-Cardinal, with Westerville Central (11-3), Westerville South (10-4) and North (8-6) rounding out the top four.
"I think the comeback win over North was proof that our girls don't get rattled or shook," coach Warinner said. "We've played in a lot of close games this year, many more than I would like actually, but the girls have stepped up all season long and being in those close games could help us in the tournament. We may get beaten, but I have the feeling it won't be because we fall apart under pressure. We've proven otherwise all season."
The second-round winner will play eighth-seeded Watterson, 18th-seeded Hilliard Davidson, 32nd-seeded Darby or 41st-seeded Westland in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North.
The semifinal winner advances to a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Kilbourne swept Darby in league play, winning the first meeting 8-3 on April 18, but has not played Watterson, Davidson or Westland this season.
Cardinals begin postseason play
Thomas was seeded 16th in the Division I district tournament and played 34th-seeded Whetstone in the first round May 14.
The winner plays 13th-seeded Groveport or 37th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round Thursday, May 16, on the home field of the higher seed.
The second-round winner will play second-seeded Grove City, 26th-seeded Dublin Coffman or 31st-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North, and the semifinal winner advances to a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.