Despite entering the week with a two-game losing streak in OCC-Buckeye Division play, the Westerville Central High School softball team's major goals remained attainable if it returned to the basics.
That was the message coach Brian Wamsley stressed to his players after a 10-2 loss at Olentangy on April 26, a day after a 6-5 loss to Olentangy Orange.
The Warhawks, who are seeking their fifth consecutive league title, were 8-9 overall before playing Dublin Coffman on May 1 and 5-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Westerville South on May 2.
"It's tough," Wamsley said. "I thought Olentangy deserved it; they were hungry. I haven't seen that look in our kids' eyes in a while and that disappoints me. It's my job to get it back. It might have been a little hangover from (the Orange loss) because that was shocking, but they played well as well. Being four-time OCC champs, you're going to get everybody's best game."
The Warhawks, however, were aided by Olentangy's 10-6 loss to Liberty on April 27. The Braves were 5-1 in the league before playing South on May 1.
Central, which lost to Liberty 7-3 in 10 innings April 30, will look to avenge the loss to Olentangy when the teams meet Thursday, May 3, in a makeup from April 17.
The Warhawks took a 2-0 lead in the first meeting on Avrey Schumacher's two-run home run in the first, but the Braves responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Senior catcher Hope Miller is hoping she can earn at least a share of her fourth consecutive league title. She saw limited time as a freshman and sophomore before replacing 2016 graduate Ellyn Briggs behind the plate last season.
"A lot of us are disappointed (with loss to Olentangy) and that's going to drive us to play harder than we ever have," Miller said.
The Warhawks are seeded 19th of 46 teams for the Division I district tournament and have a first-round bye. They play host to 25th-seeded Dublin Scioto or 36th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the second round Wednesday, May 9, with the winner likely to play top-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal May 14.
After winning the OCC-Buckeye title last year, Central saw its season come to an abrupt end in a 5-3 loss to Westerville North in the second round.
The Warhawks are looking to atone for that performance this season.
"The tournament is always what we've been aiming for," Miller said. "We want to get to state. A lot of us were disappointed with how it ended last year and we want more than that, so we're definitely going further."
The Warhawks close the regular season Friday, May 4, at Hilliard Darby and Monday, May 7, at home against Big Walnut.
Pitcher Sydney Stepp has missed time with a bruised elbow.
"We've come a long way, but we have some work to do," Wamsley said. "We have some injuries that we're dealing with and we're trying to slowly limp back into it. We'll be OK. We just have to get ourselves ready for the tournament."
Boys volleyball team making progress
The boys volleyball team was 10-6 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Liberty on May 1.
The Warhawks won a pair of matches in the Centerville Elite Tournament on April 28, defeating Huber Heights Wayne 25-11, 28-26 and Xenia 25-20, 25-19.
Through 16 matches, Ryan Kannenwischer had 82 kills, 14 digs and 13 aces, and Scott Broadright had 55 kills, 28 aces and 25 digs.
"The season has been a lot rockier than I originally anticipated," coach Jimi Yu said. "We've been through many lineup adjustments and unfortunately lost a few games along the way. The players learned a lot from games we lost and remain focused on improving their skills and teamwork. ... I am proud of the progress the team has made and I am optimistic heading into the last few weeks of competition with the team that I envisioned during (the) preseason."
Track teams sweep top honors at meet
The boys and girls track and field teams both captured titles in the Dan Adams Classic on April 27 at Muskingum University.
For the boys, winners were Luke Finnegan in the 100 meters (11.13 seconds) and 400 (meet-record 48.37), Nathan Schroeder in the 200 (23.18), Austin Smith in the 800 (1:58.97), Schroeder, Myles Williamson, Erice Bonner and Steven Hartley in the 400 relay (44.67) and Schroeder, Smith, Rickey Hyatt and Dymon Gainey in the 1,600 relay (3:32.21).
Central finished first of 14 teams with 127 points, ahead of runner-up St. Clairsville (98).
For the girls, winners included Savannah Hall in the 100 (12.64) and 200 (26.42), Lyssa Zepfel in the seated 400 (1:23.01) and 800 (3:10.71), McKenna Fry in the 1,600 (4:57.38) and 3,200 (11:24.92), Sydney Kapral in the 800 (2:23.35), Chloe Ey in the 2,000 steeplechase (8:18.39) and Gianna Brooks in the long jump (16 feet, 5 3/4 inches).
Also winning were Hall, Moriah Johnson, Princella Ackon and Delaney Reed in the 400 relay (50.09), Ackon, Jennifer Ayarkwa, Chiedza Guyo and Precious Baker in the 800 relay (1:49.18) and Kayla Jones, Lauryn Chapman, Andi Zimmerer and Ashley Hockstok in the 3,200 relay (10:30.28).
The Warhawks finished first (169) of 16 teams ahead of second-place Vincent Warren (100.5).
Two Central athletes
make college decisions
A pair of Central athletes recently announced their college decisions.
Solomon Wells will play men's basketball at Case Western Reserve and Samantha Wyatt will play women's basketball at Wittenberg.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 4 -- Home vs. Westerville South. The Warhawks defeated the Wildcats 4-3 in eight innings April 20 and lost to the Wildcats 6-2 on April 26.
May 5 -- Home vs. Lakewood (DH)
May 7 -- Home vs. 48th-seeded Whitehall in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 10th-seeded Pickerington Central in second round May 9. The Warhawks are seeded 24th of 48 teams.
May 3 -- At Buckeye Valley
*May 8 -- At Olentangy Liberty
May 3 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
May 8 -- At Pickerington Central
May 3 -- At Watkins Memorial
May 8 -- At Columbus Academy
TRACK & FIELD
May 3 -- Debbie Merriman Invitational at South
May 4 -- Warhawk Invitational at Otterbein
*May 3 -- At South. The Warhawks defeated the Wildcats 25-13, 25-10, 25-17 on April 23.
May 4 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon
May 7 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington