Something about Allie Saulnier's interaction with area youth softball players after a recent game told her Canal Winchester High School coach, Casey Whitlatch, that she might make a good teacher someday.

"Just the way she interacted with the kids, how she speaks, her leadership, it all stood out to me and I said, 'You'd be good at (working with children),' " Whitlatch said. "She answered me back that that's what she's going into. She'll be good at (teaching). She has the right kind of demeanor."

Saulnier, the Indians' starting catcher and a third-year starter who will play at Capital University while majoring in early childhood education and intervention education, is no stranger to leadership. She is president of the senior class, co-vice president of the student council and even has acted as the school mascot, leading the football team onto the field before games.

On the softball diamond, Saulnier is helping bring along three freshman pitchers in Brooklyn Best, Sam Peters and Samantha Zungri. Their fortunes should go a long way in determining those of the team, which was 3-5 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Franklin Heights on April 16.

"I have to remind them to forget about everything else. If they are struggling, I call a timeout and go talk to them and calm them down," Saulnier said. "I know it's different coming from eighth grade to varsity. I want them to get settled in. I know how to call my own games, but in tight games, I'd much rather have (the coaches) call the pitches. It's not a huge adjustment.

"I have to be their friend on and off the field. I pump them up and support them. They know if they give up a walk or a home run, it's not the end of the world."

The coaches, not Saulnier, call pitches.

"I'm comfortable with Allie calling a pitch. I might override a pitch here and there, but I don't mind it. I gear it to how comfortable we feel in a given situation," Whitlatch said. "She does a good job of framing a pitch. Her demeanor towards umpires is spot-on. Her arm strength is pretty good."

Whitlatch and third baseman Kaylee Dunkle, who because of her position has a good view of every pitch, said Saulnier's biggest strength is her blocking.

"We can always count on her for that," Dunkle said. "She always has a positive attitude. She can encourage anybody. She keeps our pitchers comfortable, for sure."

Saulnier has been a catcher since she took up the sport in elementary school, although she had to move to third base when she was promoted to varsity as a sophomore because of the presence of then-senior Bailee Faulkner, who now plays at Urbana University.

Once Faulkner graduated, Saulnier returned to her natural position.

Despite having played travel softball since age 10 for the Buckeye Heat, Saulnier did not plan to play in college until participating in a few camps at Capital. She committed to the Crusaders on Jan. 20.

"I was looking there and Ohio Dominican, but once I visited Capital, I knew that was where I belonged," Saulnier said, adding that she has known Capital coach Nan Payne for several years. "I found my roommate. I jelled with the team. That's where I want to spend my next four years, and softball just fell into place."

Irby settles in for tennis team

Freshman Jeremy Irby cracked the boys tennis team's lineup at second singles to start the year, and he seemed to validate that by winning four of his first five matches -- three of them in straight sets.

Irby began his season with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Hamilton Township's Garrett DeBoard on April 4, and after a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Big Walnut's Gabe Mexicott the next day, bounced back last week with wins over Reynoldsburg's Preston Harmon (6-3, 7-6 on April 9), Groveport's Miles Mason (6-1, 6-1 on April 10) and Franklin Heights' Dustin Henderson (6-1, 6-0 on April 12).

Canal Winchester was 3-2 overall before playing Logan on April 16 and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital before an April 17 match against 11-time defending league champion New Albany. The Indians, who went 1-13 last year, exceeded that win total with a 5-0 win over Groveport.

Irby's win was the lone Indians victory against Rey-noldsburg.

"Jeremy is very good. I see a lot of potential from him," first singles player Connor Clark said. "(Irby) is very experienced. I like it. He doesn't get too down about his shots. He's better than I was when I was a freshman. He will be good."

Coach Doug Welsh did not rule out moving players around the lineup, which has been stable through the first two weeks of the season. Caden Sweeney has played third singles, Zeke Blanchard and Devin Mullett have been at first doubles and Drew Adams and Zane Diehl played four matches at second doubles.

Corey Berner and Jake Chapman played second doubles against Franklin Heights.

"You need everybody over the course of the season," Welsh said. "Things like sickness will come up. We'll move the lineup around occasionally."

Klamorick, Mays combine for no-hitter

In their first year as starters for the baseball team, Reece Klamorick and Trevor Mays helped each other record a memorable accomplishment.

Mays, a junior, and Klamorick, a sophomore, combined to throw a no-hitter April 11 as Canal Winchester shut out Franklin Heights 10-0 in six innings. Klamorick struck out six in four innings, and five of the six outs recorded by May in the final two innings were by strikeout.

A six-game winning streak improved the Indians to 10-3 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing New Albany on April 16.

After losing to Groveport 10-0 in six innings April 6, Canal Winchester beat the Cruisers 2-1 in eight innings April 10. The Indians followed up their combined no-hitter with wins over Bexley (21-4 in five innings April 12), Franklin Heights (12-0 in five innings April 13) and Youngstown Ursuline (7-1 and 12-2 in five innings on April 14).

Gidley, Olger announce college decisions

Two student-athletes announced their college decisions April 11.

Brittany Gidley will play softball at Chatham and Hannah Olger will swim at Youngstown State.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:

BASEBALL

*April 19 -- At Newark

*April 23 -- Home vs. Newark

April 24 -- Home vs. Teays Valley

*April 25 -- Home vs. Big Walnut. The Indians defeated the Golden Eagles 1-0 on April 5 and lost 1-0 on April 2.

SOFTBALL

*April 19 -- At Newark

*April 23 -- At Big Walnut. The Indians lost to the Golden Eagles 15-5 on April 11.

April 24 -- At Grandview in makeup from April 3

*April 25 -- Home vs. Groveport. The Indians lost to the Cruisers 13-2 on April 12.

BOYS TENNIS

*April 19 -- At Newark

April 21 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament

April 23 -- At Logan Elm

April 24 -- Ready at Westgate Park

TRACK & FIELD

April 17 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg

April 21 -- Elmo Kallner Invitational at Hamilton Township

*League contest