Whitehall-Yearling High School softball coach Brian Anderson has high praise for senior Becca Maxstead.
He believes she exemplifies everything a student-athlete should be.
"She's what I call a 'triple threat' that we look for in ballplayers," Anderson said. "She's a very talented ballplayer, she's a great student and she's just a great kid. She's well-mannered, she's very polite and just a very good kid. She never does anything wrong."
Maxstead has been one of many bright spots for the Rams, who were 5-7 overall and 1-3 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Worthington Christian on April 17. She was second on the team in batting average (.444) through 12 games, trailing Kayna Wooten (.556), and had scored a team-best 14 runs.
After playing numerous positions during her career, Maxstead took over at shortstop this season in place of 2016 graduate and four-year starter Brooklyn Rayburn, who now is a center fielder at Ohio Dominican.
"Becca is doing a great job," Anderson said. "We started the year with her hitting in the middle of the lineup and then we switched the lineup around a little bit and put her back in the two spot, where she was last year. She's been hitting the ball great. She's done a fine job at shortstop. It's a new position for her, but Becca has always been a great defensive player."
Maxstead played third base and center field as a freshman, third base as a sophomore and third base and second base last season.
"Coach came up to me and asked if I would play shortstop," Maxstead said. "I was fine with it because I played there in the past when I was younger."
Maxstead, who also played on the girls volleyball team, has a 4.3 GPA and has been named co-valedictorian with Jazmin Alejandre Gonzalez.
"I work very hard to keep those grades up while also being involved in my sports," Maxstead said.
Maxstead hopes to play at Otterbein. Tryouts will be held in the fall.
"(Playing in college) would mean a lot to me because it would show all the hard work I put into it throughout the years and it would be paying off," Maxstead said.
She began playing T-ball at age 5 and was introduced to softball at 8. She then began playing travel softball during middle school.
As Maxstead prepares her valedictorian speech as part of the graduation ceremony May 27 at Capital, she is focusing on a simple message for her classmates.
"I'm going to tell them to focus on their future and that their future is up to them," she said.
Through 12 games, Makayla Barber was hitting .385 and leading the Rams in home runs (4) and RBI (16). She homered twice in an 11-7 win at Grandview on April 10 and added a three-run homer in a 19-3 loss in five innings to West Jefferson on April 12.
Trinity Johnson, who was hitting .375, also homered against Grandview.
Kaila Daugherty was hitting .381.
Whitehall split a doubleheader at Canal Winchester on April 15, winning the first game 13-9 and dropping the second 15-12.
"We're doing pretty well," Maxstead said. "It's just sometimes we have that one inning that just gets us. We would have won some games if it wasn't for that one inning, so we need to work on that. ... We need to play more as a team. We've been playing as individuals."
Track teams prepare
for home meet
The track and field teams will play host to the 44th annual Pat McMillin Invitational on Friday, April 21.
"We look forward to it and the kids always look forward to it," coach Aaron Johnson said. "It's always a real fun meet. It's a relay meet as well so we get to see some shuttle hurdles, some races that the kids like to have a lot of fun with. It's also when the times start to drop. The weather is a little fairer, so it's always a good meet."
Last season, the boys won the eight-team event with 118 points, ahead of runner-up Columbus East (102), and the girls finished fourth (71) of seven teams behind champion Liberty Union (107).
McMillin was involved in Whitehall track for 36 years while serving as a teacher, coach, vice principal, athletics director, school board member and track official. He died in 1992 and the meet, formerly known as the Whitehall Relays and later the Whitehall Invitational, was renamed in his honor.
The teams competed April 11 at Westerville South, with the boys losing 93-42 and the girls losing 96-36.
For the boys, Chris Ceasar won the 110-meter hurdles (15.6 seconds) and 300 hurdles (42.27).
Liana Betts led the girls, winning the shot put (30 feet, 2 3/4 inches) and discus (83-6).
looking to improve
The baseball team was 2-11 overall and 1-4 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on April 17.
The Rams dropped a doubleheader against visiting Northland on April 15, falling 7-3 and 19-6 in six innings.
Whitehall earned its first league win April 7, defeating London 6-3.
"We are just having trouble getting out of our own way and playing complete games," coach Bill Welsh said.
"Inconsistent plate production and untimely errors have been our biggest issues. We just have to make the necessary adjustments and continue to work hard if we want to right the ship."