The Delaware Hayes High School softball team is playing at a "high level" at the right time of the season.
The fifth-seeded Pacers rolled past 23rd-seeded Dublin Coffman 17-1 in five innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 9 at home to improve to 19-2 overall. It was their 11th consecutive victory.
Delaware faces 15th-seeded Mount Vernon in a district semifinal Monday, May 14, at a neutral site, which as of May 10 had not been announced. The winner plays fourth-seeded Groveport or sixth-seeded Gahanna in a district final Friday, May 18, or Saturday, May 19, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 23 at Ohio State.
"We've been pretty sharp lately and we'll need to continue that to reach our goal of winning a district championship," coach Mark Thomas said. "I think the two best semifinals out of the eight in our four district brackets are in our particular bracket. It will be a challenge."
The Yellow Jackets improved to 16-4 by beating 12th-seeded Watterson 10-3 in the second round of the district tournament May 9.
"Mount Vernon really rips the ball and they have a handful of girls who can hit for power," Thomas said. "You add in there that it's always a rivalry game and we haven't played in a few years since we've switched leagues. ... In fact, I think the reason they aren't seeded higher is because they no longer play teams from our district in the regular season. Coaches don't know much about them, but they're very good."
The Pacers haven't played Groveport or Gahanna this season, either. Through May 9, the Cruisers were 20-6 and the Lions were 16-6.
Delaware played in three consecutive district finals from 2013-15 before losing in district semifinals the past two seasons, including a 13-1 loss to Teays Valley last year. In 2016, the Pacers were unbeaten and ranked first in the state when they lost to 26th-seeded Olentangy Liberty 4-3 to finish 23-1.
Haley Osborne allowed three hits against Coffman and went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI. Laiha Slayton was 2-for-3 with four RBI and Lexi Mattix was 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Mallory Stonebraker and Amaia Daniel also both had two hits and Chloe Barton drove in two runs.
"These are the times you wish you were playing every day," Thomas said. "We're playing at a high level and we've just got to maintain that and stay focused."
Delaware earned a share of the OCC-Cardinal Division title by beating Dublin Scioto 19-2 on May 3. The Pacers and Hilliard Bradley both finished 10-2 in the league, while Hilliard Darby (9-3) was third.
Baseball team falls to Greyhounds
The 36th-seeded baseball team lost at third-seeded Grove City 8-3 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 9 to finish 10-13.
The Pacers had defeated 43rd-seeded Marion Harding 5-1 in the first round May 7 at home.
Delaware led Grove City 1-0 until starting pitcher Matt Gladden allowed seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the third inning before being relieved by Ryan Murphy. That inning, the first six batters reached base for Grove City, which had two bloop hits and two bunt hits and was aided by a Pacers error.
"They started to time Matt up a bit, but they really didn't pound the ball. They had one seeing-eye grounder get through, too, which is part of the game," coach Ryan Montgomery said. "Even though it was our last game of the year, I was proud of all of our guys. Ryan came in and was in control on the mound the rest of the way and we battled right back and scored twice in the fourth. But (Grove City) is a good team and was seeded third for a reason."
Murphy allowed three hits in 3 1/3 innings. Dom Byers singled and scored on Zach Miller's double in the first inning for the Pacers. In the fourth, Zach Price doubled and scored on a double by Isaiah Moore, who then scored on a single by Tyler Breitsch.
Miller finished 2-for-3 with a walk.
Jason Cross scattered five hits and did not allow an earned run against Harding. Byers went 2-for-2 with two doubles and scored two runs. Alex Kelly was 2-for-2 with two RBI, Miller also drove in two runs and Cole Barton scored twice.
Boys lacrosse team riding hot stretch
The boys lacrosse team had won seven of its previous eight games and was 10-6 overall before closing the regular season May 12 against both Strongsville and Shaker Heights.
The Pacers hope to carry the momentum into the Division I, Region 1 tournament, where they are seeded sixth of 16 teams and will play host to 14th-seeded Brunswick in the opening round Tuesday, May 15.
The winner plays fourth-seeded Dublin Jerome or 15th-seeded Marysville in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 18, at the home of the higher seed. That winner will face top-seeded Dublin Coffman, 11th-seeded Olmsted Falls, 12th-seeded Wadsworth or 16th-seeded Berea in a regional semifinal May 22.
The lone loss during the eight-game stretch was to Worthington Kilbourne, 13-1 on April 17.
"That was just an ugly, ugly game for us," coach John Lyon said. "Kilbourne is a good team, but nobody should beat us like that. Our biggest game of the year, our make-or-break game, was the next game and we beat a pretty good New Albany team 9-3 (on April 21). Since then, we've been playing pretty well.
"We started limiting our turnovers and learning to play together as a team within our offensive and defensive systems. We've gained some confidence and our seniors did a good job leading us back. Levi Jones, Casey Eiland, Josiah Naegele and Alex Schumacher did a good job of bringing everyone together and communicating that it takes a total team effort to have success."
The victory over New Albany began a six-game winning streak. Delaware defeated Bradley (12-4 on April 24), Scioto (14-3 on April 26, Whitehouse Anthony Wayne (10-7 on May 4), Toledo St. John's (12-6 on May 5) and Columbus Academy (18-7 on May 8).
The Pacers finished 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to place third, behind Kilbourne (6-0) and Jerome (5-1) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (3-3), Darby (2-4), Bradley (1-5) and Scioto (0-6).
Through 16 games, Casey Eiland led the team in goals (39) and points (47). Blake Eiland had 30 goals and 11 assists for 41 points to tie Andrew Lyon (19 goals, team-high 22 assists) for second on the team in points. Ryan Smudz had 18 goals and 11 assists for 29 points, and Sam Lagando had 22 goals and six assists for 28 points.
The Pacers' other league loss came against Jerome, 13-9 on April 10.
"That's one of two or three games we wish we had back," coach Lyon said. "We took 44 shots and only put 20 on goal, so we scored on 20.5 percent of our shots. Jerome scored on 41 percent of their shots. If we get a chance to play them again, we'll need to take better shots, be more precise and be better in goal. It would help if we get healthy, too. We have four players with injuries and a few others who have been sick."
Girls lacrosse team set for postseason
The girls lacrosse team was 5-8 overall before closing the regular season May 10 against Buckeye Valley and May 12 at Bellbrook.
The Pacers are seeded 11th of 15 teams in the Division I, Region 1 tournament and will play at third-seeded Olentangy in the first round Monday, May 14. The winner plays fourth-seeded Medina or 13th-seeded Brunswick in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 18, at the home of the higher seed.
That winner will play second-seeded Olentangy Liberty, fifth-seeded Olentangy Orange, 12th-seeded Westerville Central or 15th-seeded Anthony Wayne in a regional semifinal May 21.
Track teams prep for district meet
The boys and girls track and field teams will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet this week at Darby.
The meet begins Tuesday, May 15, with the field events, continues Wednesday, May 16, with the running preliminaries and concludes Saturday, May 19, with the running finals.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North.
The Pacers competed in the OCC-Cardinal meet May 10 and 12 at Dublin Coffman.
Boys tennis team competes at sectional
Members of the boys tennis team competed in a Division I sectional tournament May 10 and 12 at Pickerington Central.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Thursday, May 17, at Bradley and Saturday, May 19, at Upper Arlington. At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles qualify for the state tournament May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.