Hilliard Davidson High School softball pitcher Erica Buchanan admits she may not throw with as much velocity as other pitchers. That's why she relies on pinpoint control and deception in the circle.
"I focus more on my spins more than the speed," Buchanan said.Videos •Watch an interview with Hilliard Davidson softball player Erica Buchanan. •Watch an interview with Davidson baseball player Kyle Neimeister. •The Davidson softball team celebrates Leah Belgar's home run against Marysville on May 3. •The baseball team celebrates Neimeister's game-winning homer against Marysville on May 6.
Through 23 games, Buchanan was 19-4 with a 1.61 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 13 walks in 138 innings. She also has been a solid contributor at the plate, batting .408 with 22 RBI as the team's No. 3 hitter in the lineup.
"It's more (about) her offspeed (pitches), her locations and spins," coach Katie Speakman said of Buchanan's success in the circle. "She tries to get us grounders and fly balls. That's what she does for her defense. I know her defense is confident behind her."
Buchanan, who was introduced to the sport at age 8 and began playing travel ball at age 10, has pitched four years at the varsity level.
"I can't believe it's almost over," Speakman said of Buchanan's prep career. "I've had her since she was a 14-year-old. I've seen her mature over the years. Her progress and her maturity and growth as a pitcher and a hitter and just an overall player have been incredible. She has left her mark at Davidson."
Last season, Buchanan helped the Wildcats win the OCC-Central Division title, as she was 22-3 in the circle with a 1.55 ERA and 106 strikeouts and hit .500 with 29 RBI. She was named first-team all-league and all-district and second-team all-state.
As a sophomore, Buchanan shared pitching duties with 2015 graduate Lizzy O'Grady and had eight wins. As a freshman, she batted .328 and was honorable mention all-league.
"We've played well all four years, but we've gradually gotten better each year," Buchanan said. "We became a lot closer. We've grown a lot more from being younger and maturing."
Buchanan has committed to play for Ohio Wesleyan University.
"It was an at-home feeling," she said. "I was close to home and it felt just like here at Davidson, like a family."
Davidson was 19-4 overall before opening the Division I district tournament May 10 against 23rd-seeded Pickerington North in a second-round game. The Wildcats are seeded seventh of 45 teams and had a first-round bye.
The second-round winner likely plays 10th-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined, with that winner advancing to a district final May 19 or 20 at Pickerington Central.
Davidson swept Marysville in OCC-Central play, winning 8-7 on April 20 and 6-5 on May 3.
The Wildcats trailed the second meeting 3-0 before scoring six runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Leah Belgar's two-run home run. Buchanan scattered nine hits to earn the win.
Davidson finished 8-2 in the OCC-Central, second behind Central Crossing (9-1) and ahead of third-place Marysville (7-3).
The Wildcats were swept by Central Crossing, losing 3-1 on April 17 and 4-1 on April 27. The Comets are seeded second in the district tournament.
Through 23 games, Aubrey Rolon was leading Davidson with a .494 batting average with 30 runs scored, Morgan Coleman was hitting .425 with 26 runs and 19 RBI and Abby Sheets was batting .393 with 16 RBI.
Other key offensive contributors were Belgar with 25 RBI and 21 runs, Haley Goodburn with 22 RBI and 22 runs and Kelly Heck with 20 runs.
Boys lacrosse team
shares league title
The boys lacrosse team earned the program's first league championship, sharing the OCC-Central title with Upper Arlington and Dublin Coffman at 6-1.
Davidson defeated Coffman 13-12 on April 6 but lost to UA 13-3 on April 24. Coffman defeated UA 16-12 on May 2.
"Winning a league title is a goal we established for this program when I became the head coach," coach Adam Beasley said. "But to do it in my first year says a lot about the guys and my staff.
"These seniors have completely changed the mindset of the program and competing with the best is no longer a goal, but an expectation. They are the reason we won the OCC title."
The Wildcats were 12-4 overall before playing Dublin Scioto on May 9 and close the regular season Thursday, May 11, at Bradley.
Davidson is seeded fourth in the Division I, Region 3 tournament and will play host to 13th-seeded Bradley in the second round Wednesday, May 17. The game will be at Bradley due to renovation of Davidson's field. The winner plays host to fifth-seeded New Albany or 12th-seeded Westerville Central in a quarterfinal May 20.
The regional semifinals are May 24.
clinches OCC title
The baseball team captured the program's 19th OCC title with a 3-1, eight-inning win over visiting Marysville on May 6.
Kyle Neimeister hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Wildcats to the OCC-Central championship.
Davidson finished 11-4 in the league, one game ahead of runner-up Marysville (10-5).
"I have never gotten a hit like that before. It felt amazing," Neimeister said. "It feels like a dream, but it's great being on the bottom of that dog pile, getting that winning hit. It's great."
The Wildcats, who lost at Darby 11-4 on May 8 to slip to 15-8 overall, are seeded 12th of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament and took a first-round bye. They played 23rd-seeded Westerville North in the second round May 10. The winner plays eighth-seeded Big Walnut or 39th-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 16, at a neutral site to be determined.
The district final is May 18 at a neutral site to be determined.
Boys volleyball team
wins league title
The boys volleyball team won the OCC-Central title, finishing 10-0 in league play.
"We are thrilled to win the OCC-Central this year," coach Rusty Herring said. "Our success this year is a testament to our players' commitment to developing team chemistry and focus on improving. We have a number of new starters this year, but very early we found success.
"Also, to win the league with a perfect 10-0 record is a tremendous accomplishment."
Davidson was 15-6 overall after going 2-3 in the Spike for Tykes tournament May 5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The Wildcats defeated Massillon Jackson 25-15 and Middletown 25-18 in pool play before losing to Centerville (25-13, 25-20), Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit (25-20, 25-23) and Akron Hoban (25-12, 25-17) in the gold bracket.
Through 14 matches, D'Angelo Boehner led the Wildcats with 128 kills, 46 blocks and 29 aces and Alex Petersen led in digs with 255.
"Setters Mo Rasul and Owen Fetty are doing a great job of getting the ball to our hitters, specifically Nathan Cassell and Justin English," Herring said.
The Wildcats play host to Olentangy Liberty on Thursday, May 11.