Manda Cash has been on the money for the Worthington Kilbourne High School softball team this season.
The senior left-hander not only has been golden in the circle, but at the plate as well.
"People recognize her as an outstanding pitcher, but she also is a tremendous hitter," coach Marty Mearhoff said. "She is accounting for about 25 percent of our hits and RBI. She has quick hands and a quick bat."
In the circle through 13 games, Cash was 7-3 with a 0.49 ERA. In 71 innings, she had allowed only 20 hits and 12 walks while recording 147 strikeouts.
At the plate, Cash had a team-high .553 batting average (21-for-38) and also led the Wolves in runs (11) and RBI (11).
"She is a very tenacious competitor and she's so poised in the circle. She just doesn't get rattled," Mearhoff said. "If she is missing her spots, not getting calls or her young defense is making errors behind her, you would never know it. She's stoic. She would be a fantastic poker player."
Cash pitched four games last week, throwing two no-hitters and a one-hitter. The no-hitters came in a 6-0 win over New Albany in an OCC-Capital Division game April 21 and a 4-0 win over Dublin Coffman on April 24, and the one-hitter came in a 3-2 loss to Olentangy Orange in a league game April 23.
Her strikeout totals in those three games were 17, 15 and 14, respectively.
In her other outing last week, Cash allowed seven hits in a 2-1, nine-inning loss to Delaware, which was ranked first in the Division I district poll last week. Offensively, she went 8-for-11 with a home run in the four games last week.
Cash has signed to play for the University of Dayton. Her two sisters also attended Dayton, but neither one played softball at the college level. Ashley, 25, played club field hockey for the Flyers before graduating in 2012, and Kelsie, 23, played club lacrosse before graduating last year.
"I signed last fall because I like the school," Cash said. "I have two older sisters who went to Dayton and I visited them a lot, so I knew a lot about the school."
Kilbourne entered the week 9-4 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Capital. The losses to Delaware and Orange likely have dropped the Wolves out of the chase for the league title, as the Pacers entered the week 7-0 in league play.
"The loss to Orange was real disappointing because we thought we'd be playing Delaware for a share of the lead," Cash said. "We didn't play well and we definitely didn't hit well against (Orange). Then, I think we played our best all-around game of the year against Delaware and lost.
"Now all we can do is try to play like we did against Delaware and improve on that and see what we can do in the (Division I district) tournament. We proved we can play with them twice and we had some chances."
Kilbourne also lost to Delaware on April 9, falling 3-1 in its second game of the season.
"We have a lot of new faces in new positions and Manda's strikeouts account for two-thirds of our defensive outs," Mearhoff said. "Our defense doesn't have to do too much, so we need to take care of the opportunities we get to support her. We also need to give her some offensive support."
Through 13 games, Kilbourne's team batting average of .254 was less than half of Cash's batting average. Other key offensive contributors for the Wolves include senior second baseman Kristen Rossi (.268, 7 runs), junior catcher Elyssa LaBine (.268, 7 RBI) and junior third baseman Emily Dodd (.265, 7 RBI).
"We're so close to being 6-1 or 7-0 (in the league), but that's softball," Cash said. "Delaware had some timely hits and we didn't. That's what we're going to focus on to prepare for the tournament. We've got to get a little more aggressive and get a little more offense."
The district tournament draw will be held Sunday, May 4. The tournament gets underway May 13.
Cardinals looking for more offense
Thomas had been outscored by only one run, 69-68, through 14 games, but was 5-9 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Central before playing Dublin Coffman on April 30.
The magic number for the Cardinals this season is two, at least as it pertains to runs allowed. Before playing Coffman, they were 0-9 in games in which they had allowed three runs or more and 5-0 when allowing fewer than three runs.
Thomas completed a sweep of Upper Arlington in league play with a 10-1 win on April 23. The Cardinals won the first meeting with the Golden Bears 3-2 on April 10.
Thomas won its second game in a row April 26 when it beat Westerville South 6-0 behind a two-hitter by pitcher Anna Boue.
The other wins came against league-foes Westland (17-1 on April 9) and Hilliard Davidson (4-1 on April 21).