The Delaware Hayes High School softball team has struggled to produce much offense against the better opponents on its schedule and has been inconsistent in its play overall, something coach Mark Thomas chalks up to inexperience.

Videos •The Delaware Hayes boys lacrosse team celebrates its 10-8 win over Worthington Kilbourne on April 19. •Watch an interview with Delaware LAX coach John Lyon. •Watch an interview with Delaware girls lacrosse coach Randy Gatenbee after a 17-3 loss to Kilbourne on April 18.

"We lost a ton of leadership and experience last year," said Thomas, whose team finished 23-1 last season. "We show up one game and play well and hit well and then show up the next game and make seven errors and don't hit the ball. Last year, we could rely on home runs to help. We had 34 last year and we have three this year."

Delaware was 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Dublin Scioto on April 20.

After winning three of their first four games, the Pacers split their next six, including an 18-2, five-inning win over Thomas Worthington on April 18 and a 1-0 loss to Hilliard Darby on April 19.

"The good news is, we have just one senior and we have five freshmen or sophomores in the starting lineup," Thomas said. "We're excited about the future, but we need to make progress this season and maybe we can be one of those teams who gets hot before the (Division I district) tournament and pulls some surprises. It happened to us last year."

Last season, the Pacers set program records for wins, shutouts (14), fewest runs allowed in a season (21) and most home runs in a season. They were ranked first in the final state poll and were the top seed in the district, but were upset by 26th-seeded Olentangy Liberty 4-3 in a district semifinal.

"Me and (assistant) coach (Dave) Morgan have talked about that, having an average season but hitting our stride by tournament time," sophomore shortstop Chloe Barton said. "Looking at this team, I think with this season and then a strong summer in travel ball, we'll be in good position to have a big season next year.

"I think we've got a strong sophomore and freshman class. (Thomas) pushes us hard because he sees our potential and we're working together to get better."

Eiland returns for
boys lacrosse team

Junior midfielder Casey Eiland returned from injury to score five goals and help the boys lacrosse team upend defending Division II state champion Worthington Kilbourne 10-8 on April 19.

It was the second win in a row for the Pacers, who improved to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.

"This was (Eiland's) first game back since a broken collarbone early this season and he played very, very well," coach John Lyon said. "He gives us another look because he can go left or right and we trust him with the ball. Plus, he's a dominant faceoff guy for us.

"We're hoping it's just the start of things. It'd be nice to get everyone back. We've had some injuries in the midfield with Alex Schumacher having a broken thumb and Levi Jones having a leg injury, but we're getting there."

The Pacers led host Kilbourne 6-3 at halftime, but the teams were tied at 7 entering the fourth quarter.

Cole Livermore scored with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining to give Delaware a 9-8 lead and Andrew Lyon, the coach's son, added the final goal with 53 seconds left.

Goalkeeper Tyler Groth made eight saves.

"Tyler is a fourth-year starter and we told him he doesn't have to be perfect back there," coach Lyon said. "He just needs to make the big saves and he did that tonight. This is a big win and now we've got to build on it."

Girls lacrosse team
learning on fly

The girls lacrosse team fell to visiting Kilbourne 17-3 on April 18 for its sixth consecutive loss. The Pacers, who dropped to 2-6 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal, continue to focus on learning the game and gaining experience.

"We've only got six girls on this team who are not freshmen or sophomores, so there's a steep learning curve that we're dealing with," coach Randy Gatenbee said. "We're in a new conference, which is a step up in competition from last year, so we're focused on just improving.

"We look at it as each day and each game is an opportunity to get better and, if we can treat it like that and take something away from each game, good things are coming for us down the road."

Against Kilbourne, Lexi Wright, Olivia Shroyer and Sydney Henderson scored and goalie Maeve Gatenbee made six saves.

The Pacers played at Wellington on April 21 before facing Hudson Western Reserve Academy and Newfane (New York) in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament on April 22 at Thomas Worthington.

Athletes announce
college decisions

Twenty-one senior student-athletes recently announced their college decisions.

Making the announcements were Aaron Adair (football, Capital), Noah Alexander (men's lacrosse, Transylvania), Kameron Beekman (men's basketball, Muskingum), Katie Blair (women's basketball, Otterbein), Wayne Brookover (men's track and field, Ohio Wesleyan), Remington Curtin (men's lacrosse, Transylvania), Carter Davidson (wrestling, Otterbein), Mason Davis (baseball, Wittenberg), Alysa Durbin (softball, Capital), Alicia Halstead (women's bowling, Thomas More), Craig Klumpp (men's swimming, Wooster), Colten McCabe (men's soccer, Bluffton), Ethan Miller (men's lacrosse, Baldwin Wallace), Alicia Rittenour (women's cross country and track & field, Wright State), Anthony Rodgers (football, Wittenberg), Molly Schul (women's swimming, Lake Forest), Ashley Smiley (women's soccer, Ohio Wesleyan), Andrew Wagner (men's lacrosse, Dubuque), Deven Ward (football, John Carroll), Hannah Weller (women's swimming, Hope) and Will Yoakum (baseball, West Liberty State).

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek