The Grove City Christian School baseball team wrapped up its first league title since 2014 with a 13-3 win in six innings over Fairfield Christian on May 10.
The Eagles finished 12-2 in the league to share the championship with Fisher Catholic. Berne Union finished third at 11-3.
"This is awesome," senior Luke Spegal said. "It's something I've wanted for the last four years. We haven't been able to get it, but I think everyone knew this was going to be our year and we finally made it happen. It means a lot."
In 2014, Grove City Christian shared the league title with Berne Union and Fisher Catholic at 8-2. That was coach A.J. McCampbell's first season.
"This is my second league title but the first one we clinched on our home field, which was nice to do," McCampbell said.
Grove City Christian was 17-4 overall before playing second-seeded Centerburg in a Division IV district semifinal May 15. The game was postponed May 14 because of bad weather. The winner played fourth-seeded Fisher Catholic in a district final May 16.
The district champion plays Beaver Eastern or Portsmouth Clay in a regional semifinal May 24 at Beavers Field in Lancaster. The regional final is May 25 in Lancaster.
The fifth-seeded Eagles reached a district semifinal with a 16-5 win in five innings at third-seeded Morral Ridgedale on May 9.
"We came out on fire in that game," McCampbell said. "We put up eight (runs) in the first inning. We've done that to other teams before. Against Fisher Catholic (on April 13), we scored eight in the first inning and let them creep back in. Thankfully we didn't do that this game. We kept it comfortable after that first inning. It was a good thing to see."
Spegal doubled twice and singled, Aaron Wickham had three hits and four RBI and Alex Moore homered and singled.
"We got a little underestimated going into the tournament," Spegal said before the semifinal. "Teams didn't respect us as much as we thought we should be. We woke them up a little."
Track teams place fourth in league
The boys and girls track and field teams both finished fourth in the MSL-Cardinal meet held May 8 and 11 at Berne Union.
Calista Manns led the girls, winning the 100 meters (12.81 seconds), 100 hurdles (14.85), 300 hurdles (48.64) and high jump (4 feet, 8 inches).
Morgan Iverson won the pole vault (9-6).
Finishing second were Abbie McDonald in the discus (86-5) and Dalina Phompheng-chane in the 100 (13.09).
The Eagles scored 108 points to finish behind Berne Union (154), Fisher Catholic (141) and Fairfield Christian (129) and ahead of Millersport (89), Harvest Prep (11) and Zanesville Rosecrans (6).
Brett Baker led the boys, finishing second in the pole vault (11-6).
Grove City Christian scored 58 points to finish behind Berne Union (174), Fisher Catholic (158.5) and Millersport (93.5) and ahead of Harvest Prep (57), Rosecrans (54) and Fairfield Christian (23).
The Eagles are competing in the Division III, district 1 meet, which began May 15, continues Thursday, May 17, and concludes Saturday, May 19 at Watkins Memorial. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Fairfield Union.
Softball team closes season
Softball coach Elysse Rathbone said she was pleased with her team's progress this season.
Grove City Christian closed the season with a 6-3 loss to Fairfield Christian on May 10 to finish 3-15 overall and 2-10 in the MSL-Cardinal. Berne Union won the league at 12-0.
"Despite being a loss, it really gave us some much needed confidence and momentum to roll over into next year," Rathbone said.
In the first round of the Division IV district tournament May 7, the 13th-seeded Eagles lost at third-seeded Fairfield Christian 16-2 in five innings.
Grove City Christian will lose two seniors in pitcher Alissa Collins and outfielder Martina Baruffaldi, who is an exchange student from Italy.
"Both players will be heavily missed next year, but especially Alissa," Rathbone said. "She is a four-year letterwinner and a source of leadership on the team."
Rathbone said junior catcher Megan McGrath emerged as the team's top hitter. She finished the season with no strikeouts.
"That is an unheard of feat in this sport," Rathbone said. "I am very excited to see what she brings to the team next year."
Others eligible to return are junior Cheyenne Pierce (3B), sophomores Odette Espinoza (OF), Jessalyn Glovitch (OF), Sophie Hoyt (SS), Emma Howard (1B) and Damaris Vanecko (2B/OF) and freshmen Jamie Dozier (OF) and Taylor Ison (SS).