Trevor Thomas was determined to not let his final season with the Reynoldsburg High School baseball team slip away after what happened a year ago.
Thomas earned a starting spot in right field to begin the 2016 season, only to lose the job shortly after the season started.
He's gotten off to a much better start this season for the Raiders, who lost to Newark 4-3 on April 13 but beat Columbus West 13-1 and 11-0 on April 15. They lost to Pickerington North 4-3 on April 17 and were 4-7 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Ohio Division before facing Pickerington North again April 19.
"I think my hitting has been pretty good so far, especially comparing to last year when I hardly hit at all," Thomas said. "This year I wanted to make sure I was getting more hits."
In Reynoldsburg's second game last season, Chase Collins -- who, like Thomas, is a senior -- hit a two-run home run as his team beat Carlisle 5-2 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Collins stayed in the starting lineup for the rest of the season while Thomas served as a part-time outfielder and pitcher.
"I definitely knew that this was going to be my last shot at playing baseball," Thomas said. "Over the summer I focused on being ready to go this year. I really needed to step up my game and put more into it than I have in the past."
Thomas has spent time in both right and left field for the Raiders and was 1-1 on the mound through seven games.
He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base during a 2-1 loss in nine innings April 12 against Pickerington Central.
The Raiders and Tigers also were tied at 7 in the top of the eighth April 10 at Reynoldsburg when the game was suspended. It will be completed May 1.
In the suspended game, Thomas had an RBI single and two walks and reached on an error.
"Trevor barely played for me last year," coach Bob Benjamin said. "Trevor's dad (Todd Thomas) is one of my assistants, so I've (known) Trevor since he was 8 or 9 years old. He started out last season as our starting right fielder but before we left Florida he lost the job to Chase Collins. He had kind of a bad year, so this year he dedicated himself."
Thomas is part of an 11-member senior class that includes Darius Montero, who pitched the first six innings of the 2-1 loss to Central, and Chandler McCroskey (1B/3B/P), who has been one of the team's top hitters.
Thomas attended the Licking Heights school district until open-enrolling at Reynoldsburg in eighth grade.
His mother, Tanya Thomas, is a fourth-grade teacher at Slate Ridge Elementary. He also has a brother, Tanner Thomas, who played baseball for Reynoldsburg and is a 2015 graduate.
Trevor is considering attending Harding University, a Christian school in Searcy Arkansas, where he might study nutrition.
He's hoping that the remainder of this season gives him a few more memorable moments in baseball.
"We've definitely been seeing a lot of improvement," Trevor said. "We've come out more hyped up and have been playing our best. If you do your best, that adrenaline comes out."
After winning four of its first five games, the softball team lost to Mount Vernon 14-1 on April 10.
The Raiders then lost to one of the area's top projected teams, four-time defending Division I district champion Gahanna, 3-0 on April 12.
Last season, Reynoldsburg lost to the Lions 10-0 and 22-4.
"This team is starting to see how their hard work (pays off)," coach Tony Rettke said. "They're buying into the belief they have just as many tools as other schools do and that winning is contagious, and (that's) a great feeling to have. The schedule starts to tighten up a bit, but the momentum we're carrying has supplied some great fuel and fire to help us in the upcoming tougher games and OCC play."
The Raiders, who lost to Grove City 8-3 on April 13, were 4-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Pickerington North on April 19.
Sophomore pitcher Olivia Rettke gave up just seven hits against Gahanna, which scored twice in the top of the first but didn't score its other run until the seventh.
Through five games, Rettke had struck out 19 and junior Mackenzie Huey had 13 strikeouts as the team's two primary pitchers.
Rettke and Huey, along with junior Fury Caldwell (SS/P) and sophomore Zoe Kirk (C/SS), have been the team's leading hitters, according to coach Rettke.
"With not having a lot of practices outside, we had some uncharacteristic fielding and throwing errors early and have since buckled and settled down to alleviate some of those errors," coach Rettke said.
"The ladies are all being asked to play different positions due to several injuries but have adapted well with the flexibility."
Tennis team to hold
At 9 a.m. Saturday, April 22, the boys tennis team will play host to the Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament.
Canal Winchester, Delaware, DeSales, Gahanna, Granville and Watkins Memorial also expected to compete.
Reynoldsburg beat Granville 3-2 on April 12 as Boban Mihajlov, Malcolm Kirksey and Preston Harmon won at first, second and third singles, respectively.
The Raiders, who lost to Olentangy Orange 3-0 on April 10 in the first round of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I team tournament, were 3-4 overall before facing Whitehall on April 17 and Watkins Memorial on April 18. They lost to Pickerington Central 5-0 on April 13 to fall to 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio.
Reynoldsburg beat Canal Winchester 5-0 on April 7 and has a league match to make up against Gahanna that originally was scheduled to be held April 6.
The football program will have 12 athletes playing in college, including eight who have made commitments since signing day in February.
Nathan Barko will play for Grand Valley State, Sam Cooper will play for Ohio Wesleyan, Arrington Dulin will play for Malone, Colin Dwenger will play for Kentucky State, Tyler Grant will play for Otterbein, Savon Pullie will play for Ohio Northern, Anthony Williams will play for Geneva and Matt Wilson will play for Indiana Wesleyan.