When Marlo Robinson steps to the plate, her aggressive nature comes to the forefront.
The senior first baseman for the Olentangy Orange High School softball team tries to remain focused and do one thing when she swings the bat -- "punch the pitcher."Video •Watch an interview with Olentangy Orange softball player Marlo Robinson.
No fisticuffs are involved. Robinson wants to make sure her hands are in the appropriate position to best handle the offering from her opponent in the circle.
"Every time I go in the (batter's) box, I try to clear my head and just see the ball and react to it," Robinson said. "I'm more of a line-drive hitter; I've never hit a home run. I try to line the ball into the outfield gaps.
"To do that, I want to punch the pitcher. That's how I keep my hands in and get them through the ball. My hands look like I'm punching the pitcher when I swing."
The strategy has worked well for Robinson, who led the Pioneers in batting average (.417), on-base percentage (.462) and runs (14) during the regular season. She also had five RBI.
"I experimented using Marlo as a leadoff hitter because she makes contact and gets on base, so we really need her as the No. 3 or 4 hitter," coach Jenna Tullis said. "She is a powerful hitter, but is more of a line-drive hitter. She doesn't lift the ball, but finds the center (of the ball) and drives it."
Robinson is a four-year starter at first who did not make an error in 17 regular-season games.
"You have to be confident playing first base because you're usually part of every play," said Robinson, who is 5-foot-10. "Even when the ball is hit to shortstop, it still has to come to first base. You always have to be ready."
Robinson has a 4.26 GPA and will attend Case Western Reserve in Cleveland to play softball and study biochemistry with the goal of going to medical school.
Like in science labs, softball is a game of trial and error. To be successful, you need to succeed only about three times out of 10.
"Softball is both a team sport and an individual sport," Robinson said. "When you are in the field, you are a team and play together. But at the plate, you're there all by yourself, even though you have your team behind you.
"The game is like life. It's a game of failing. If you succeed a third of the time, you're successful. It shows that you can fail and still be successful."
Seeded 33rd for the Division I district tournament, Orange was 5-13 overall after losing at 23rd-seeded Pickerington North 11-8 on May 8 in a first-round game.
The Pioneers were 2-7 in OCC-Buckeye Division play, closing their schedule Thursday, May 11, at home against Olentangy.
Track teams aiming to
repeat as OCC champs
The boys and girls track and field teams are looking to repeat as league champions, but in a new OCC division.
The Pioneers will compete in the OCC-Buckeye meet Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, at home. They swept the OCC-Capital championships last season, finishing ahead of second-place Olentangy in the boys and girls meets.
The teams then open the postseason in the Division I district meet, beginning Tuesday, May 16, at Hilliard Darby. The boys will be in district 1 and the girls will compete in district 2.
Orange swept the boys and girls titles in the Delaware County Elite 8 meet May 5 at home.
The boys scored 163 points, finishing ahead of runner-up Olentangy (76.5) with the help of two record-setting performances. Zach Harrison won the 200 meters in a program-record 22.02 seconds and Hunter Moore was second in the 1,600 in a program-record 4:16.67.
Jayden Rodgers won the long jump (20 feet, 4 inches) and high jump (6-0) and was a member of the winning 400 relay (44.47) with Brandon Ransom, Joel Sarpong and Kevin Acheampong.
T.J. Coates won the 400 (51.15) and was on the winning 800 and 1,600 relays. He joined Sarpong, Sam Ansong and Harrison on the 800 relay (1:31.64) and Christian Wright, Tyler King and Manny Anderson on the 1,600 relay (3:34.31).
Allison Guagenti won the 800 (2:20.87) and 1,600 (5:18.39) to lead the girls team, which scored 153 points to finish ahead of Liberty (111).
Guagenti also was on the winning 1,600 relay (4:20.83) with Grace Frye, Brynna Johnson and Angel Frye.
Katie Priest won the 300 hurdles (47.671), Tiere Richardson was first in the long jump (16-6 1/4) and Anna Watson won the pole vault (13-6). Grace Frye won the discus (114-6 1/2) and was runner-up in the shot put (30-1/2).
Brenda Agyekum, Angel Frye, Ahtiona Carter and Gurleen Vikhu won the 400 relay (50.93).
The 11th-seeded baseball team opened the Division I district tournament May 10 with a second-round home game against 31st-seeded Central Crossing.
The Pioneers were 15-8 overall after defeating Hilliard Bradley 6-4 on May 8.
The second-round winner plays fifth-seeded Canal Winchester or 25th-seeded Lancaster in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a site to be determined. Orange did not play either team this season.
The district final is Wednesday, May 17, at a site to be determined. Possible opponents include fourth-seeded Thomas Worthington, 16th-seeded Zanesville and 18th-seeded Westerville Central. The Pioneers swept Central in OCC-Buckeye play, winning 3-2 on April 5, 2-0 on April 8 and 2-1 on April 28.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal May 25 at Dublin Coffman.
Orange is 9-5 in the OCC-Buckeye and closes its league schedule Thursday, May 11, against Westerville North.
Tyler Brown was batting .405 with five home runs, 20 RBI and 17 runs through 22 games. He also was 2-2 in 32 innings with a 0.88 ERA, 36 strikeouts and nine walks.
Matt Poole was batting .391 with 12 RBI and 18 runs, and Zach Stiteler was hitting .388 with 23 RBI and 14 runs. Jason Schutte was batting .377 with eight RBI, 21 runs and seven stolen bases, and Garrett O'Reilly was hitting .339 with 18 RBI and 13 runs.