When the Ready High School baseball coaching job came open in 2009, the candidates included a coach who had guided DeSales to three district titles and led Westland to a district runner-up finish in 2002.
That coach, Harry Caruso, was given the job and held it for five seasons.
One of the other candidates, Bruce Lunsford, took another shot at the position when it came open during the past offseason and landed it.
A former head coach at Briggs, Franklin Heights and Columbus West who also has more than a decade of experience as an assistant, Lunsford will try to rebuild a program that went 12-15 in 2016 but fell to 1-16 last spring in Mike Kula’s second season as coach.
“Two of my kids graduated from Ready so I’m familiar with how things are run there,” Lunsford said. “I like the kids there. I’ve always liked the school. The thing we’re lacking is baseball knowledge. I’ve told them you can be average at it, but to be good you’ve got to play more.
“I’m excited. We’ve got three or four seniors that are pretty good. It’s a small school and they want to do whatever to help the team and they all work hard.”
Ready opened March 24 with a pair of losses at West Jefferson, 14-0 and 11-1.
Last season, the Silver Knights won their only game in their Division III district tournament opener. They were seeded 17th and won 12-4 at 16th-seeded Mount Gilead.
Senior Chase Jones is one of the team’s top pitchers and also plays shortstop and center field.
Seniors Braedon Bowers (1B/P), Cameron Monovich (OF) and Eric Terranova (INF/P) and junior Cade Dent (INF/P) also are key returnees.
Others on the team include seniors Alan Delgado (OF), Eddie Donis (OF) and Doug Reed (3B/P), junior Alex Whorle (OF/P), sophomores Kaeden Boyd (3B/SS) and Hunter McBrayer (P/OF) and freshman Nathan Boyer (3B/P).
“Last year was rough, but we’ve made some improvements,” Jones said. “The new coach has brought in some really good hitting concepts that are helping everyone improve. … He’s tough. The main thing is that he wants us to focus on the little things.”
Softball team eyeing title runs
The last time the softball team won a CCL championship was in 2009, a season in which it captured its fifth consecutive league title and made it to a Division III state semifinal.
Goals such as those are on the table again this spring for the Knights, who were a regional runner-up a season ago and return three players who have committed to play collegiately.
Ready opened March 24 by splitting two games at home, beating London 11-1 and losing to Upper Arlington 21-11. It then won at Newark Catholic 6-5 on March 26 and won 7-1 on April 2 at Hilliard Davidson.
Last season, the Knights finished 13-11 overall and placed third (3-3) in the CCL behind Watterson (5-1) and DeSales (4-2).
“I’m pretty excited,” senior Shelby Tracy said. “We only lost two starters. Our infield is set and our pitchers are good. (Some of us have) been playing together since we were probably 10 years old so we have a lot of team chemistry. I think we have a better chance to win the CCL this year and I hope we get (to the regional tournament) and go farther.”
Tracy, who has committed to Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, likely will start at catcher and see time at third base. She had three home runs and 17 RBI last season.
Senior shortstop Dani Hall, who has committed to Eastern Michigan, batted .512 with 19 RBI and senior second baseman Nikki Hawkins, who will play for Wittenberg, hit .463 with 21 RBI.
Sophomore Hannah Bryan likely will start at third base and also see time at catcher after hitting .452 with three home runs and 18 RBI.
Juniors Skylar Lafferty and CeCe Phillips will see most of the innings in the circle, with Phillips also seeing action at first base along with sophomore Ashlyn Muraco.
Last season, Lafferty went 11-10 with a 3.56 ERA and 84 strikeouts, and Phillips went 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA and one save.
Sophomore returnee Kylie Gallagher is starting in left field. Her sister, freshman Katie Gallagher, is in center and freshmen Sarah Ranke and Catey Wolfe are in right.
Also on the team are junior Addison Gualtieri (OF), sophomore Maryann Rucker (2B) and freshmen Carissa Perez (OF) and Megan Worhle (3B/1B).
“We’re hitting the ball well,” seventh-year coach Jen Goff said. “(We’ll be) very solid defensively. Everybody in the outfield has lots of travel experience. The freshmen have just fit right in.
“We made the regional final last year and everybody’s been working. They want to get past it. They’ve spent a lot of extra work in the offseason and tons of work at lifting, staying after for practices to get extra work.”
Byrum named girls soccer coach
After previously coaching the Briggs girls soccer team, Chris Byrum recently was named Ready’s new coach.
He replaces Bob Piper, who led the program last fall when the Knights went 3-13.
Ready was 23-29-1 from 2014-16 under Benjamin Au, including 8-10 in 2016.
“(Byrum) just seemed to want to bring a faith-based aspect to the program,” athletics director Steve McQuade said.
March 24 -- at West Jefferson (DH)
April 4 -- at Wellington
April 7 -- at London
*April 11 -- at Hartley
April 12 -- at Dublin Jerome
*April 13 -- vs. DeSales
April 14 -- vs. Franklin Heights (DH)
*April 16 -- vs. Watterson
*April 20 -- at St. Charles
April 21 -- at Reynoldsburg (DH)
*April 23 -- vs. Hartley
*April 25 -- at DeSales
April 26 -- vs. Fredericktown
*April 27 -- at Watterson
April 28 -- at Marysville
May 1 -- at Grandview
*May 2 -- vs. St. Charles
May 4 -- at Delaware
March 24 -- vs. Upper Arlington and London
March 26 -- at Newark Catholic
April 2 -- at Hilliard Davidson
April 3 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
April 5 -- at Madison Plains
April 7 -- at Central Crossing with Utica
*April 9 -- vs. Watterson
*April 11 -- vs. DeSales
April 14 -- Medina and Cardington in Pickerington Central Showcase
*April 16 -- at Hartley
April 17 -- at Bloom-Carroll
April 19 -- at Hilliard Bradley
April 21 -- Wheelersburg in Valley of Thunder Tournament at Willow Wood Symmes Valley
*April 23 -- at Watterson
*April 25 -- at DeSales
April 26 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
April 28 -- vs. Williamsport Westfall and Lancaster
*April 30 -- vs. Hartley
May 1 -- vs. Licking Valley
May 4 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
May 5 -- at Groveport with Watkins Memorial
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready boys tennis and track & field teams:
April 9 – At Hilliard Davidson
*April 10 – Home vs. Hartley
April 11- Home vs. Jonathan Alder
TRACK & FIELD
April 7 – Fairfield Union Invitational
April 10 – At Columbus School for Girls with Bexley, Columbus Academy and St. Charles
April 11 – At Briggs with Columbus West