A mixture of veterans and underclassmen helped lead the Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team to its third Division III district final in four seasons.
The sixth-seeded Johnnies (17-7) play second-seeded Cardington at 1 p.m. May 20 at Pickerington Central. The Pirates (22-4) defeated 13th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek 5-2 in a district semifinal May 16.
Sydney Stefanick struck out 12, didn’t issue a walk and allowed only six hits in Johnstown’s 5-0 win over 15th-seeded Fairbanks in a district semifinal May 16 at Pickerington North.
“Syd was a little stronger (against Fairbanks),” assistant coach Ed Schaffer said. “She had not pitched since (an 8-2 win over seventh-seeded Fredericktown on May 11 in a second-round game), so she had plenty of rest and looked really good.”
The senior Western Michigan signee also excelled at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double, two singles and an RBI. Sophomore Haylee Frost hit a solo home run, sophomore Lauren Layman had two singles and senior Abby Schaffer singled and scored two runs.
The Johnnies won their first district championship last season, defeating North Union 4-3 in eight innings. They went on to win their first regional title before losing to eventual state champion Wheelersburg 1-0 in a state semifinal.
“We have some seniors who were big contributors last year and their leadership is coming through,” coach Schaffer said. “Even the sophomores we have now benefited from that experience. They went with us to regional and state and many didn't play a lot, but they learned a lot. You can see a calm about them when they are out there playing.”
The district champion plays Coldwater or Hamler Patrick Henry in a regional semifinal May 24 at Findlay. The regional final is May 27 at Findlay.
Baseball team falls to
DeSales in 10 innings
The baseball team’s turnaround season came to an end May 16 with a 4-3, 10-inning loss to third-seeded DeSales in a Division II district semifinal at Ohio Dominican.
The eighth-seeded Johnnies finished 19-8 overall after going 8-15 last season.
“We played good baseball all year,” said fourth-year coach Justin Richards, whose team had its first winning record since 2011. “We started 3-3 and then went on a run (winning 10 of 13 games), but we never had a losing record all year. That says something.”
Against DeSales, senior Peyton Clift hit Drew McLuckie with a pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th.
Clift went 2 2/3 innings in relief of senior Cody Workman, striking out four with no walks and allowing one hit. Workman went seven innings, surrendering seven hits with six strikeouts and five walks.
Sophomore Luke Myers had a two-run single, and sophomore Jaren Hewitt had two singles and an RBI.
The Johnnies were playing in their first district semifinal since 2011, when they finished 15-9. That season, they defeated Liberty Union 7-4 before losing to Heath 7-2 in a Division III district final.
Johnstown earned its first league title since winning the MBC in 2006. The Johnnies went 9-4 in the LCL-Cardinal Division, finishing ahead of runner-up Heath (8-5).
Other seniors were Parker Calhoun, Kyle Carpenter, Marques Denney and Austin Metz.
“The seniors started helping us as freshmen,” Richards said. “They kept buying into what we were trying to do and did everything that I asked of them.”
Also expected back are juniors Ty Helmke, Austin Hurst, Will Schmitt and Justin Walters and sophomores Bryce Barasch, Josh Boso and Jackson Peloquin.
“We kept getting better every day, and that’s all you can ask,” Richards said. “We lost to (DeSales) 8-0 (on April 4) the first time we played and took them to 10 innings this time. That shows how much we have improved.”
Boys lacrosse team
falls to Kilbourne
The boys lacrosse team lost to third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 17-4 on May 16 in the second round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament.
The 14th-seeded Johnnies had a first-round bye and finished 10-7. It was the fourth-year program’s first winning season.
Senior Hunter Alley had two goals against the Wolves, and senior Brandon Siegfried and junior Jared Orders both scored once. Sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Bowers had two saves.
Other seniors were Pace Branson, David Hall, Isaia Jacob and Andrew Sayer.
“We continued to jell as a team and kept getting better every day,” fourth-year coach Stephanie Alley said.
Boys track team
takes second in league
The boys track and field team finished second in the LCL-Cardinal meet May 10 and 12 at Licking Heights.
The Johnnies (88 points) finished behind Heath (162) and ahead of Newark Catholic (54.5), Utica (25.5) and Northridge (23).
Brendan Peloquin won the 110-meter hurdles (17.48 seconds) and Alexander Jenney finished first in the 300 hurdles (43.65). Josh Ashbrook won the 100 (11.58) and was runner-up in the 200 (23.4).
Nathaniel Taylor won the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches), and Nathan Clark was runner-up in both the 1,600 (4:38.37) and 3,200 (10:14.7). Zachary Jenney was second in the shot put (48-0).
Clark, Brennan Scurlock, Brendan Sapp and Luke Clark placed second in the 3,200 relay (9:10.03).
The girls team was fifth (37.5) behind Heath (105), Northridge (73.5), Newark Catholic (70) and Utica (67).
Emily Blenk won the long jump (15-1), and the 3,200 relay of Taylor Anderson, Hannah Dowell, Celsey Argyle and Charity Campbell was second (10:43.6).
In the Division II district meet at Westerville South, the Johnnies had two boys advance to regional in field events. Taylor tied for second in the high jump (5-10), and Daniel Rose was fourth in the discus (136-5).
The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional May 25 and 27 at Lexington.
The district meet continues May 18 and concludes May 20.