Anthony Paletta admits he has no coaching or competitive playing experience in tennis.

He's hoping to just bring some stability and provide an enjoyable experience for the Whitehall-Yearling High School boys team.

Paletta replaced Curt Metzger, who stepped down after one season and moved to South Korea because of work commitments. Metzger replaced Ben White, who coached the Rams for four seasons.

"I see a lot of potential," said Paletta, who is a social studies teacher at Whitehall. "I really want to grow this program even though I'm new to tennis. I really think we can do good things. I even had the kids sweeping and cleaning the courts just to teach them you have to respect your house."

Whitehall returns three players with varsity experience in senior Kenneth White, junior Seth Coleman and sophomore Kaleb Regassa.

White will play first singles and Coleman will compete at first doubles in the early season.

The Rams opened April 5 with a competitive effort in a 3-2 loss to Grandview in an MSL-Ohio Division match at home.

Sophomores Jacob Clark and Nemedi Girma won 7-5, 6-4 at second doubles, and Regassa won by forfeit at third singles.

Paletta said freshman Raymond Zhen has shown potential and will play second singles in the early season, while freshman Adonay Estifanos will join Coleman at first doubles.

Other players are junior Chris Hogan and sophomores Fraij Adam, Tobias Guzek, Samuel Hagos and Haben Woldemelak.

"The team is very young," Paletta said. "We had a solid 14 kids come out and even after practice there's kids staying after and just hanging out playing with each other and getting a feel for (the sport), which is really cool because a lot of these kids have never played before."

Whitehall also lost at Bexley 5-0 on April 6 in a league match that had been postponed April 3 and 4 because of bad weather.

"I like what I'm seeing," athletics director Bill Hughett said. "The kids are working hard. ... They told me this sport is a lot harder than what they thought it would be. I told them the sport is supposed to be tough."

Last season, Whitehall finished 1-11 overall and went 1-5 with seven points in the MSL-Ohio to place sixth behind champion Columbus Academy (46, 6-0).

"We really want to focus on the fundamentals," Paletta said. "There are a lot of teams in our conference where some of these kids have been playing since they were young. We just want to focus on integrity on our team, sportsmanship and using tennis to help them be more successful at school."

Paletta's volunteer assistant coaches include Christine Davis, who is a professional instructor with coaching experience at collegiate level. She has guided the women's program at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, since 1979.

"Chris has a wealth of experience," Hughett said.

Baseball coach looks for improvement

Baseball coach Bill Welsh wants to see his team improve on the fundamentals.

The Rams were 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the MSL-Ohio before playing London on April 9. A doubleheader against Westland was postponed April 7 because of bad weather.

Whitehall was competitive in league losses to Bexley, falling 3-2 on April 2 and 3-0 on April 5.

"We have to do a better job executing and getting quality at-bats," Welsh said. "Our pitchers have done a really nice job and the defense is improving, but offensively, we have a lot to work on. This is to be expected early in the season. The players showed good toughness in the games with Bexley. We will try to build on that moving forward."

Softball team showing progress

The softball team has made strides since the preseason, according to coach Brian Anderson.

The Rams were 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing London on April 9. They defeated Bexley 17-5 in six innings April 6 as Trinity Johnson homered.

"We have shown good improvement since (our) scrimmages," Anderson said. "We're hitting the ball pretty well."

Anderson said he made a defensive change, as Johnson has returned to center field with freshman Mackenzie Schmittauer taking over at shortstop.

"That seems to have improved our defense both in the infield and outfield," Anderson said.

The Rams face a potential key loss to the lineup, as senior pitcher Makayla Barber sat out a 14-7 loss at Big Walnut on April 5 with an injury to her right pitching shoulder.

Anderson said Barber would have further testing to determine the severity.

School seeking new girls soccer coach

Whitehall is searching for a girls soccer coach to replace Deanna Mascia, who stepped down after two seasons.

The Rams finished 1-22 under Mascia.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

chedules

BOYS TENNIS

*April 5 -- vs. Grandview

*April 6 -- at Bexley

*April 10 -- at Columbus Academy

*April 12 -- vs. Wellington

*April 17 -- at Worthington Christian

April 19 -- Beechcroft at Woodward Park Middle School

*April 25 -- at London

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling baseball, softball and track & field teams:

BASEBALL

April 14 -- At Madison Plains

*April 16 -- At Grandview

*April 18 -- Home vs. Grandview

SOFTBALL

April 12 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

April 13 -- At Hartley

*April 16 -- At Grandview

*April 18 -- Home vs. Grandview

TRACK & FIELD

April 13 -- Bexley Relays

April 18 -- Gahanna Relays

*League contest