Lexie Hilling knew exactly who stood in the way of the first district championship for the Hilliard Bradley High School softball program.
The junior pitcher for the eighth-seeded Jaguars had to face Kallie Boren of top-seeded Pickerington Central with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning in a Division I district final May 20 at Central.Videos •The Hilliard Bradley softball team celebrates its first district championship. •Watch an interview with softball pitcher Lexie Hilling.
Boren, an Ohio State commit, had a two-run home run, a single and a walk and was hit by a pitch in her first four plate appearances of the game. However, Hilling was able to get Boren to fly out deep to center fielder Hannah Lewis to secure the Jaguars' 7-6 victory.
"I knew who was coming up," Hilling said. "I threw (Boren) an outside fastball and she hit it. I knew it was hit well, but I thought it sounded good off the bat. I didn't think it was going out.
"I turned around and started yelling 'Hannah! Hannah!,' calling people off. I knew she had it."
It was the Jaguars' second appearance in a district final. In 2011, they lost to DeSales 3-2 in a Division II district final.
"(Central) had runners every inning and they are a great team that had it all -- hitting, pitching and fielding," said coach Kevin Moody, who has coached the program since it began in 2010. "Being able to play with a team like that is great. It just shows the determination of these girls."
Bradley improved to 23-4 and advanced to play Mount Vernon in a regional semifinal May 24 at Ohio State. The winner plays Gahanna or Lancaster in a regional final at noon Saturday, May 27, at Ohio State.
The Jaguars have not played the Lions or Golden Gales this season.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal June 1 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
"These girls worked hard to get here," Moody said. "Now we have to keep playing the way we have all season."
Hilling struck out one, walked three, hit one batter and surrendered 14 hits as the fourth-ranked Tigers left 13 runners on base. She also hit a three-run home run.
Amy Duckworth had a solo home run for the Jaguars, while Jen Nashalsky had three singles, Jordan Pallay had an RBI double and Lewis and Annika Murray both had an RBI single.
"We did this as a team, just like we have all year," Duckworth said. "We have fought together all year and we were fighting the whole game."
Thai making third
trip to state
Senior Mitchell Thai of the boys tennis team finished second in singles in the Division I district tournament held May 18 at Davidson and May 20 at Upper Arlington to advance to state for the third time.
Thai lost to New Albany's Robert Cash 6-0, 6-1 in the championship match, as the top four finishers in singles and doubles at district advanced to state Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"I beat Robert the first time we played (6-4, 6-7, 10-6 on May 1), but this wasn't close," said Thai, who went 3-1 at district to enter state at 22-1 on the season. "Robert played well and I didn't play to the best of my abilities, and he took advantage of my mistakes."
Last season at state, Thai lost to Solon's Vlad Rotnov 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5 in a first-round singles match that lasted more than three hours.
As a sophomore, he defeated Avon's Nico Mostardi 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round before losing to eventual runner-up Deepak Indrakanti of Cincinnati Sycamore 6-4, 6-3 in the second round.
"I'm not super-bummed because (Cash) is one of top players in the state," said Thai, who has committed to Denison. "Everyone there is either at his level or a little below. I still have the ultimate goal of winning state."
in regional track
The boys track and field team is well represented in the Division I regional meet, which began May 24 and concludes Friday, May 26, at Pickerington North.
The Jaguars were led in the district 4 meet that concluded May 20 at Westerville South by juniors Daevon Anderson and Alec Frymier.
Frymier won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.71 seconds, and Anderson was runner-up in the event in 14.95, as the top four finishers in each district event qualified for regional.
The two also were on the winning 400 relay (43.55) with Said Saleh and Kory Taylor, and Anderson, Saleh and Taylor were on the first-place 800 relay (1:29.88) with Tyler Lewright.
Placing third were Anderson in the long jump (21 feet, 11 inches), the 3,200 relay of Ethan Pearson, Rob McCabe, Cullen Bober and Alex Lewis (8:14.73), the 1,600 relay of Saleh, Pearson, Bober and Lewright (3:26.99) and Pearson in the 800 (1:59.94).
Lewright was fourth in the 400 (50.62).
Bradley finished third (83 points) of 15 teams at district, behind Thomas Worthington (136) and Canal Winchester (100.5).
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
The girls team did not have any regional qualifiers and finished 10th (20.5) behind champion Gahanna (158.5) in the 17-team district 2 meet, which concluded May 20 at Darby.
Placing fifth were Regan Corea in the 1,600 (5:21.01), Haley Johnson in the high jump (4-10) and Shelby Schroeder in the discus (110-7).
Baseball team falls
in district semifinal
The baseball team lost to seventh-seeded Gahanna 10-0 in five innings in a Division I district semifinal May 16 at UA to finish 16-13 overall.
The Jaguars, seeded 15th of 46 teams, had a first-round bye and defeated 17th-seeded St. Charles 9-0 in the second round May 10 before falling to the Lions.
"I think 16-13 is a good year, especially after a 1-5 start," coach Matt Gilkerson said. "The kids showed they had a lot of grit and determination."
The Jaguars went 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place third, behind Darby (11-1) and Thomas (9-3) and ahead of Dublin Scioto and Worthington Kilbourne (both 5-7), Dublin Jerome (3-9) and Delaware (2-10).
Senior pitcher Tyler Lehman (honorable mention all-district, first-team all-league) threw three shutouts for the Jaguars. He was 6-3 with one save, a 2.16 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 19 walks in 55 innings. At the plate, he batted .350 with 16 RBI and 14 runs scored.
Outfielder Andrew Charley (team-high .420, 9 RBI, 11 runs, 8 stolen bases), outfielder Bryson Creed (.257, .471 on-base percentage, 8 RBI, team-high 24 runs, 20 walks, 11 hit by pitch, program-record 19 stolen bases) and pitcher Kyle Davis (3-4, 1.81 ERA, 30 strikeouts, 18 walks, 31 innings) were other key performers among the team's seven seniors. Creed was honorable mention all-league.
Leading the list of returnees is junior infielder/pitcher Jack Rasmussen (second-team all-district and all-league), who batted .313 and set program records with three home runs and 25 RBI. On the mound, he was 3-2 with a 3.65 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 27 walks in 48 innings.
Junior third baseman Trey Yoder (second-team all-league) batted .333 with 11 RBI and 15 runs, and junior shortstop Louis Ozoa (special mention all-league) hit .329 with 10 RBI, 16 runs and eight stolen bases.
Also expected to return are juniors Tim Miles (INF/C; .295, 9 RBI, 13 runs) and Tyler Stover (OF; .302, 11 RBI, 9 runs) and sophomores Luke Barren (P; 1-2, 4.63 ERA, 22 2/3 innings) and Drew Donaldson (INF; .306, 9 RBI, 10 runs).
"I'm happy with the guys we have coming back, but we need to find leaders in the group," Gilkerson said. "We lost some good senior leaders and these guys will have to step up and fill those roles."
Boys volleyball team
loses in first round
The boys volleyball team lost to ninth-seeded Pickerington North 25-21, 21-25, 26-24. 25-18 in the first round of the Division I East Region tournament May 20 at Olentangy to finish 9-10.
The 11th-seeded Jaguars defeated 14th-seeded Westerville Central 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 20-25, 15-12 in a play-in match May 19 at Westerville North.
Boys lacrosse team
falls to Davidson
The 13th-seeded boys lacrosse team lost to fourth-seeded Davidson 16-8 in its Division I, Region 3 tournament opener May 17 to finish 3-15.