The best season the Reynoldsburg High School softball team has produced in almost two decades continued with a win in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
On May 14, the 18th-seeded Raiders tried to upset second-seeded Central Crossing in a district semifinal at Pickerington Central.
It marked the first time since 1999 that Reynoldsburg had reached a semifinal.
The Raiders were 14-9 heading into the matchup with the Comets, which means they have produced their first winning record since 2003.
"This is a feeling you can't really describe," senior shortstop and pitcher Mackenzie Huey said. "You're happy, excited, antsy because you have to do your best, but I'm really happy right now."
The Reynoldsburg-Central Crossing winner plays seventh-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 13th-seeded Olentangy in a district final Friday, May 18, or Saturday, May 19, at Central.
The district champion plays Delaware, Gahanna, Groveport or Mount Vernon in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 23, at Ohio State. The regional final is May 26 at the same site.
The Raiders opened the tournament with a 13-1 home win over 41st-seeded Columbus West on May 7 as Fury Caldwell and Olivia Rettke each had two RBI and Rettke pitched a complete game, striking out 15. Reynoldsburg led 10-0 at the end of the first inning.
Then on May 9 in a 9-4 victory over 22nd-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a second-round home game, Huey was walked intentionally three times but hit the only pitch she faced for a solo home run.
"That one pitch (I saw) they said was a changeup outside," Huey said. "It was my first time in forever that I've been hitting, and I just wanted to hit really bad."
Zoe Kirk had three hits and two RBI. Huey pitched six innings, striking out 13.
According to coach Tony Rettke, Huey had been intentionally walked 38 times heading into the district semifinal.
"We had a lot of intel on (Liberty) and played with a lot of their girls over the years," coach Rettke said. "It's very exciting. We were able to get our heads on straight. (We) had a real good practice (May 8), not too monotonous. It's been awhile since we had a practice.
"That's the best pitch they gave (Huey) in a while. We've been working with the lineup to make it hurt if they're going to put her on. We've got to take advantage of it. We did a decent job of that mostly this season. It could be a sign of respect. It is what it is, but let the girl swing. You'd like to put your best against the best."
Track teams out for strong district runs
The boys and girls track and field teams are competing in the Division I, district 2 meet, which began May 15, continued May 16 and concludes Saturday, May 19, at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North.
In the OCC-Ohio Division meet, which began May 9 at Lancaster and concluded May 12 at Dublin Coffman, the boys scored 44 points to finish fifth behind champion Pickerington Central (166) and the girls scored 23 points to place fifth behind champion Gahanna (164).
The 800-meter relay of Muhammed Fall, Camby Goff, Dionte Roddy and Adrian Logan led the boys team with a championship in 1 minute, 30.77 seconds. Also for the boys, the 400 relay of Goff, Logan, Roddy and Keyshawn Brown was third (43.8), James Hickman was third in the long jump (20 feet, 1 1/2 inches) and fourth in the high jump (6-0), Lance Gauthney was third in the 400 (49.46), Andre Turner was fourth in the long jump (20-1 1/2), Joe Boggs was fourth in the shot put (46-1), Fall was fifth in the 110 hurdles (14.66) and Logan was fifth in the 300 hurdles (41.97).
"Lance ran in the 49s (in the 400), so he's right there with the big dogs," coach Richard Ladowitz said. "Hickman has been jumping in the 20s all year (in the long jump) so we're just waiting for that 21, 22 for him."
It was just the second meet this season for girls sprinter Jessica Ricks, who had been competing in club volleyball. She was fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.13) and sixth in the 200 (26.85).
Nia Amerson won the discus (111-9), Adja Mbow was fifth in the 400 (1:00.99) and the 1,600 relay of Tayla Lee, Bre Johnson, Sherita Ingram and Mbow was fourth (4:14.01).
"Ricks is coming along nicely," Ladowitz said. "We're also pleased that Adja made the finals in the 400 and 200."
Tennis team wins one sectional match
The boys tennis team was 7-12 before closing the season May 15 at Big Walnut.
The Raiders defeated West 3-2 on May 8 as senior Daniel Pavlovski and junior Sean Burns won at second doubles in Pavlovski's first varsity match of the season.
On May 10 in a Division I sectional at home, junior Preston Harmon beat Mount Vernon's William Kaufmann 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in his play-in match before losing to Westerville North's Jeffrey Evans 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
"I thought Preston Harmon, who was my second-singles player, showed incredible improvement," coach Les Somogyi said. "He plays with heart, he plays with conviction."
Also in singles, junior Boban Mihajlov lost in the first round and junior Sean Burns lost in a play-in match.
In doubles, juniors Chase Cotner and Mick Garlinger had a first-round bye and lost in the second round while freshmen Brian McClain and Dane Myers lost in the first round.
Baseball team out to build program depth
After pulling a first-round upset in the Division I district tournament, the 32nd-seeded baseball team's season ended with a 4-2 loss May 9 at 16th-seeded Marysville.
The Raiders, who opened the postseason with a 7-5 win May 7 at 18th-seeded Mount Vernon, finished 8-18 overall.
Against Marysville, the Raiders got a run in the top of the first when senior Cam McCloud walked and later scored. Marysville answered with three runs in the bottom of the first.
In the second, sophomore Kaleb Holland led off with a single, moved to third on a hit by sophomore Reece Crabtree and scored on a hit by junior Brock Mason.
The Monarchs scored in the bottom of the second for the game's final run.
Junior pitcher Michael Tooker struck out six while tossing a complete game.
"(The Marysville game) started out to be entertaining but then no one had opportunities," coach Bob Benjamin said. "We just couldn't get that timely hit. ... Our pitching was really good all year."
Tooker pitched 37 1/3 innings and struck out 23 while senior Luke Duncan threw a team-high 49 innings and had a 3.29 ERA.
Mason pitched 29 innings and had a 3.86 ERA, and Crabtree pitched 18 1/3 innings and had a 3.40 ERA.
McCloud batted a team-high .338, and junior Drew Hall hit .333.
Reynoldsburg finished last (0-15) in the OCC-Ohio behind co-champions Lancaster and Pickerington Central (10-5) as well as Grove City (8-6), Pickerington North (8-6) and Gahanna (8-7).
Junior Ryan Grant missed much of the season with injuries, and Hall and Mason also missed time with injuries.
There were 38 players in the program, including 13 on varsity.
Also eligible to return are junior Bradley Thompson and sophomore Nate Russell.
"When you've only got 13 kids, injuries just killed us," Benjamin said. "In this league, it's not good.
"I'm looking very much forward to next year. As long as we stay healthy, we'll be all right. The freshman (team) was just below .500 and the (junior varsity) was at about .500. These kids that are coming back (have done) really, really well."
Volleyball team opens postseason
The boys volleyball team learned its Division I East Region tournament draw May 14.
After losing to Olentangy Orange 25-10, 25-18, 25-19 on May 10, the Raiders were 5-16. They also competed in the OCC Challenge on May 15 at Darby.
Reynoldsburg had lost nine in a row after beating Eastmoor Academy 25-14, 25-20, 25-15 on April 17.
Davis announces college decision
Girls basketball player Mackenzie Davis recently announced that she'll play collegiately for Stetson.
She joins classmate Jalynda Salley, who recently committed to Coppin State, as college recruits from the 2018 class.