Ryan Glauner barely had taken the mound April 3 for the Canal Winchester High School baseball team's game against Big Walnut when he got the feeling it would be his day.

"I was warming up before the first inning and I could feel myself going down the mound more. I was spotting my fastball on the outside corner," said Glauner, a senior. "I could tell that was going to be my go-to pitch for the day.

"I struck out the side in the first inning. That outside fastball was my bread-and-butter for the whole day. I broke off a few curveballs and a changeup here and there. Everything was just kind of working."

A year after being unsure of his place in the rotation, Glauner has become a mainstay on the mound as the Indians find themselves in early contention for the OCC-Capital Division championship.

He threw nine perfect innings against Big Walnut, striking out 13 but falling short of a complete-game win as bad weather forced the contest to be suspension to the next day. Classmate Luke Williamson finished what Glauner started, striking out six in three innings as the Indians pulled out a 1-0 win in 12 innings.

Glauner, Williamson and fellow senior Austin Trace have anchored what at times has been a lockdown pitching staff for Canal Winchester, which defeated Pickerington North 10-4 and 7-4 in a doubleheader April 15 and was 10-3 overall and 6-0 in the league before playing co-league leader New Albany on April 17.

Through nine games, Glauner was 2-0 with 36 strikeouts, seven walks and a 0.54 ERA in 26 innings. Williamson (2-1; 27 strikeouts, 7 walks, 1.50 ERA in 14 innings) and Trace (2-0; 13 strikeouts, 4 walks, 2.10 ERA in 11 innings) also were largely responsible for the staff boasting a 2.03 ERA through the first two-plus weeks of the season.

"We don't have a set No. 1 pitcher, but we feel really good about Ryan when it's his turn to throw," said coach Tyler Kuhn, who praised Glauner's efficiency against Big Walnut. Glauner threw 100 pitches in nine innings, which took just 1 hour, 38 minutes, according to Kuhn.

"He can throw a slider for a strike. He locates and he keeps hitters off balance," Kuhn said. "He pitches down in the zone and he's really a complete pitcher. He controls the running game well."

Williamson admitted Glauner was a tough act to follow April 4.

"That is the best game I've ever seen or played in," Williamson said. "We hit the weight room hard in the winter. It helped me, Ryan, Austin Trace and a lot of guys. We've gotten better. That's what will help us in the long run. We have to start strong and finish hard."

Glauner called the learning curve "steep" after joining the rotation before last season under former coach Jason Vest. Glauner went 4-2 with 59 strikeouts, 21 walks and a 2.11 ERA in 49 2/3 innings, bolstering his confidence to the point that he plans to walk on at Miami University next spring.

"If I can hit the weight room this summer and add a few miles per hour to my fastball, I don't see any reason why I can't do it," Glauner said.

New Albany also was 6-0 in the OCC-Capital entering its home game against the Indians on April 17. The teams were scheduled to meet again April 19 at Canal Winchester.

"Being undefeated in this league is tough," Williamson said. "We have to keep rolling and not let off the gas."

Softball team
'still adjusting'

Softball coach Randy Hinton hoped stability on the field would bring consistency to his team's production and record.

Although Canal Winchester averaged five runs through its first 10 games, it allowed a total of 120 runs, and personal commitments and sickness meant Hinton was shuffling players in and out of various spots. His projected starting outfield of Corri Etter, Shannon Seymour and Lauren Zaleski did not play together until April 8, and sophomore Carlaysia Webb (C/OF) missed the first few weeks because of illness.

Canal Winchester was 3-10 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on April 17. The Indians began league play with losses to Big Walnut (8-3 on April 12) and Groveport (21-3 in five innings April 13).

Canal Winchester split a doubleheader against Whitehall on April 15, losing 13-9 before winning 15-12. The win snapped a six-game losing streak.

"The team is working hard and still adjusting to a lot of changes," Hinton said. "The season has been rocky to start. We have been able to produce offense in good games; we are just giving up a good start (to the opponent). (Pitcher) Brandi Gidley is doing OK. She just needs more support from the defense at times."

Hinton also played Amber Johnson, Lindsey Nein, Jessica Ruskin and Brooklyn Wolfe in the outfield during five games in Florida to start the season. Wolfe is primarily a junior varsity player and the backup first baseman.

Through eight games, Mackenzie Hamilton was batting .632 with four doubles, and Emily Bryant was hitting .444 with four doubles and 11 RBI.

Boys tennis team
earns first win

After losing three of its first four matches by 5-0 scores, the boys tennis team earned its first win of the season April 13, shutting out Franklin Heights 5-0 in its OCC-Capital opener.

Connor Clark, Alex Ugrinov and Caden Sweeney won at first, second and third singles, respectively. Both of the Indians' doubles teams won by forfeit.

With the exception of Clark at first singles, coach Doug Welsh moved players around the lineup during the first two weeks of the season. Zeke Blanchard, Vinny Caskey, Jacob Noel, Sweeney and Ugrinov have played singles, and all but Ugrinov also have seen time at doubles.

Canal Winchester was 1-4 overall before playing Central Crossing on April 17 and 1-0 in the league before playing New Albany on April 18.

Caskey, one of five first-year players on the team, said Welsh told his players before the season that wins would be a bonus considering that overall development is his top priority.

"He has said he does not care if we get absolutely destroyed," said Caskey, a freshman. "All he wants us to do is remember the fundamentals of our swing and to move our feet all the time. He just wants us to learn the sport."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave