Reece Klamorick expected that he would contribute to the Canal Winchester High School baseball team's pitching staff, but the sophomore admitted he never would have seen himself being undefeated as the regular season wound down.
A complete-game, five-hit performance in a 4-2 win over New Albany on May 2 improved Klamorick to 6-0 with a 0.71 ERA, 25 strikeouts, eight walks and four earned runs allowed in 39 2/3 innings spanning seven starts.
Canal Winchester was 16-7 overall before playing Hartley on May 8, and 9-5 in the OCC-Capital Division pending the completion of a May 4 game against Newark that was suspended because of bad weather with the game tied at 5 in the seventh inning.
"I thought it would go well. We have a good team. This has been even better than I expected," said Klamorick, who also has been among the boys cross country team's top runners each of the past two seasons. "My fastball has been working well, but so have my changeup and curveball. I'm used to (this level of competition) and I'm more comfortable this season."
Klamorick also was part of a no-hitter April 11, when he and Trevor Mays combined for the achievement in a 10-0, six-inning win over Franklin Heights. Klamorick struck out six in four innings, and Mays pitched the other two innings with a pair of strikeouts.
According to coach Tyler Kuhn, part of Klamorick's success comes from his understanding of the bigger picture, including learning that it's sometimes acceptable not to throw strikes.
"I'll call a pitch and I might not be calling it for a strike in that situation; I might want to go out on the corners to set up something else. It's fun to have that kind of progression and conversation with a sophomore," Kuhn said. "He's so young and he's already developing into one of our better pitchers for sure, (and) one of the better pitchers I've watched this season, period.
"He just knows what he's doing. He locates three pitches for strikes. He fields his position well, which is a huge plus. He gets a lot of soft contact so he can get off the mound and make plays."
Despite winning the first three of four scheduled league games last week, Canal Winchester fell short of repeating as OCC-Capital champion. Justin Cox allowed one hit and struck out eight in a 4-0 win over New Albany on May 3.
Big Walnut clinched the outright league title with a 10-0 win over Groveport on May 4 to finish 12-3. New Albany was second at 11-4.
Canal Winchester also defeated Franklin Heights 23-0 in five innings April 30.
"We've been getting the bats going lately. We've been hitting well and this is the time of year when we want to be doing that," infielder/outfielder Drake Burris said. "We have been getting behind our pitchers and supporting them. They've been throwing very well. We're confident with them on the mound."
Seeded 13th of 48 teams for the Division I district tournament, Canal Winchester took a first-round bye and played host to 19th-seeded Pickerington North or 33rd-seeded Chillicothe in a second-round game May 9.
The winner will play ninth-seeded Olentangy, 26th-seeded Dublin Coffman or 40th-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Monday, May 14, at a neutral site to be determined. That winner will play second-seeded Hilliard Darby, 14th-seeded Teays Valley, 21st-seeded St. Charles, 37th-seeded Northland, 41st-seeded Columbus West or 42nd-seeded Logan in a district final Wednesday, May 16, at a neutral site.
The district champion will advance to a regional semifinal May 24 at Coffman.
"We just have to find ways to manufacture runs and take advantage of other teams' mistakes," Kuhn said. "It's our style. We haven't hit a home run on the season (before May 4). We're not that team that will hit a bunch of home runs and doubles, but if we stick to having a good two-strike approach and lay down some good bunts, we can win a tight game against a really good team."
Track teams head to league meet
Erica Babusci of the girls track and field team will seek to defend her OCC-Capital championships in the 100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump in the league meet Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Olentangy Orange, and the boys team will go for its second consecutive OCC-Capital championship.
Babusci, a Pittsburgh recruit, also was second in the 200 last year as the Indians scored
117 points and finished second behind Big Walnut (158) and ahead of Groveport (94), Newark (59), New Albany (54) and Franklin Heights (41).
Five other league runners-up from a year ago will try to win titles in Emily Clubb (discus), Ariana Coleman (long jump), Taylor Davie (high jump), Katlyn Faieta (pole vault) and Angela Postage (300 hurdles).
The boys team scored 152 points in last year's meet, ahead of Newark (116), Big Walnut (96), New Albany (82), Groveport (47) and Franklin Heights (30).
The Indians' top returning individual performers from last year both placed third in Will Butler (1,600) and Gibby Cornett (200).
Despite both teams having seen several of their league foes throughout the regular season, boys coach Kurtis Robinson said little from those meets can be applied to this weekend.
"You really can't judge (the field) quite yet," Robinson said. "At meets throughout the year where you see these teams, everybody is doing different things. We're all just still trying to figure things out. When it comes to the OCC meet, every single team will put the best (athletes) on the track. We'll put the best Canal Winchester (athletes) that we can on the track. It's hard to gauge. We'll just have to wait and see."
Immediately after the league meet, the Indians will turn their attention to the Division I district meet beginning Tuesday, May 15, at Darby.
The boys team is in district 1. Preliminaries for the running events are Tuesday, May 15, followed by field events May 17 and running finals May 19.
The girls are in district 2, for which field events take place May 15, followed the next day by preliminaries for running events and then running finals May 19.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North.
Softball team hopes for tourney success
The softball team broke a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Westerville South on May 5 in its last scheduled regular-season game, then had four days before beginning the Division I district tournament May 9 at Gahanna.
Canal Winchester was 8-14 overall before May 9, including OCC-Capital losses to New Albany (10-2 on April 30), Big Walnut (12-2 in five innings May 1) and Newark (9-7 on May 2) and a 9-7 setback against Dublin Jerome on May 3.
The Indians, who finished 2-8 in the league, were seeded 34th in the 46-team district tournament. Gahanna was seeded sixth.
The winner will play fourth-seeded Groveport, 26th-seeded Orange or 31st-seeded DeSales in a district semifinal Monday, May 14, at a neutral site to be determined. That winner will advance to a district final May 18 or 19 at Pickerington Central.
The Indians were swept by Groveport during the regular season, 13-2 in five innings April 12 and 14-2 in six innings April 25, and have not played DeSales or Orange.
Boys tennis team prepares for sectional
After a regular season in which the boys tennis team exceeded its win total from the previous three seasons combined, the Indians will participate in a Division I sectional tournament beginning Thursday, May 10, at Pickerington Central.
Canal Winchester was 6-6 overall before wrapping up the regular season May 8 at Whitehall. The Indians split four matches last week, defeating Central Crossing 3-2 on April 30 and Bloom-Carroll 4-1 on May 3 and losing to Pickerington Central 5-0 on May 1 and Teays Valley 4-1 on May 2.
Canal Winchester won one regular-season match each of the past two years and three in 2015.
At sectional, Connor Clark, Jeremy Irby and Caden Sweeney will play singles. Doubles teams will consist of Corey Berner and Jake Chapman and Zeke Blanchard and Devin Mullett.
The sectional concludes Saturday, May 12.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to the district tournament May 17 at Hilliard Bradley and May 19 at Upper Arlington.
Canal Winchester is seeking its first district qualifier in program history.