Dublin Jerome High School baseball coach Chris Huesman never has doubted his team's ability to play defense or find success at the plate this season.
When the Celtics have gotten the job done on the mound, they've been a particularly tough team to tangle with.
Seeded 17th in the Division I district tournament, Jerome opened with a 6-4 victory over 28th-seeded Groveport on May 7 and then upended fourth-seeded Hilliard Davidson 9-7 in the second round May 9.
The Celtics put together a four-run fourth inning and stayed one step ahead of the Wildcats the rest of the game to advance to a district semifinal against eighth-seeded Lancaster on May 15 at Hamilton Township.
"We don't have a guy that throws over 80 mph," Huesman said. "We hit the ball well and we play defense well. We've just got to get some timely pitching."
The Celtics lost to Marysville 10-3 in a regular-season game May 12 and were 15-14 before playing the Golden Gales, who opened the postseason with a 9-3 win over 27th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley on May 9.
The semifinal winner plays fifth-seeded Upper Arlington or 20th-seeded Gahanna in a district final Thursday, May 17, at a neutral site. The district champion plays Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Grove City or Marysville in a regional semifinal May 24 at Coffman.
Against Davidson, Trent Belli was 3-for-4 with two RBI, Rob Cope was 2-for-5 with two RBI, Ryan Miller had two RBI, Will Piccin and Chase Gorman each went 2-for-3 and Ryan Callahan went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Belli had eight hits in his last 13 at-bats heading into the game against Lancaster.
Jerome also reached a district semifinal last season.
"It feels pretty good to beat as good of a team as we did (in Davidson)," Belli said. "It was a really good team win with a lot of guys hitting the ball well. As of late, I've been seeing the ball pretty well and hitting the ball well."
Seven tennis players advance to district
The boys tennis team advanced its entire lineup to the Division I district tournament Thursday, May 17, at Hilliard Bradley and Saturday, May 19, at UA.
In singles at district, junior Daniel Utkin opens against Thomas Worthington's Kai Britz, sophomore Anish Patel opens against Thomas' Will Newberry and sophomore Andrew Dvorkin opens against New Albany's Ryan Mudre.
In doubles, senior Dhruva Gurushankar and junior Dylan Cai open against UA's Josh Cole and Will Reynolds and seniors Nate Meadors and Pranav Murali open against New Albany's Ben Yan and Dev Vasani.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the state tournament May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"Not sure (advancing seven players to district) has ever happened on the boys side, maybe a time or two with the girls," coach Ken Berlin said. "It's a great team accomplishment with all the guys doing their job and contributing."
In singles in a sectional May 10 and 12 at Bradley, Patel lost in the championship match to Davidson's Noah Elliott 7-5, 6-2 after beating Utkin 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 in a semifinal, while Dvorkin lost to Elliott 6-4, 6-2 in a semifinal and beat Utkin 6-1, 6-1 in the consolation match.
In doubles, Meadors and Murali lost to Olentangy Orange's David Cavote and Ben Thompson 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 in one semifinal and Gurushankar and Cai lost to Orange's Jordan Phelps and Alex Heiden 6-0, 7-5 in the other. Meadors and Murali then beat Gurushankar and Cai 6-1, 0-6, 6-2 in the consolation match.
In the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament, Jerome lost to UA 3-1 on May 14 in a district semifinal.
Boys lacrosse team opens postseason
The fourth-seeded boys lacrosse team opened the Division I, Region 1 tournament May 15 at home against 15th-seeded Marysville.
The winner plays host to sixth-seeded Delaware or 14th-seeded Brunswick in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 18. That winner will play at top-seeded Coffman, 11th-seeded Olmsted Falls, 12th-seeded Wadsworth or 16th-seeded Berea-Midpark in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22.
The regional final is May 25 at a neutral site.
In the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association (MSLCA) B Bracket tournament at Fortress Obetz, the Celtics beat Pittsburgh Shady Side Academy 9-8 on May 11 and Saltsburg (Pennsylvania) Kiski Prep 8-7 on May 12.
Jerome was 13-5 entering the postseason.
Andrew Brim (attacker) and Vince Comfort (long-stick midfielder) were named first-team all-MSLCA, Ray Prochko (midfielder) and Brandon Infante (defender) were second team and Nick Gosnell (midfielder), Chris Posacki (attacker) and Zach Dubois (defender) were honorable mention.
Girls lacrosse team begins tourney play
The second-seeded girls lacrosse team was 13-4 after opening the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 14 at home with a 19-2 win over 16th-seeded Marysville.
The Celtics play host to ninth-seeded Pickerington Central in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 18. The winner will play at third-seeded Thomas Worthington or fifth-seeded Coffman in a regional semifinal Monday, May 21.
The regional final is May 24 at a neutral site.
The Celtics lost to UA 13-2 on May 8 but defeated Cincinnati Sycamore 12-9 on May 11 in their regular-season finale.
Boys volleyball team set for tourney
The boys volleyball team is seeded fifth for the Division I East Region tournament and opens against 13th-seeded Olentangy Orange on Saturday, May 19, in a quarterfinal at Hilliard Darby.
The winner plays third-seeded Hilliard Davidson, 17th-seeded Reynoldsburg or 18th-seeded Westerville South on Tuesday, May 22, in a regional semifinal at Darby.
The regional final is May 25 at Westerville Central.
With a 25-17, 27-25, 25-13 win over Scioto on May 8, the Celtics were 15-5 overall and had won six in a row before closing the regular season May 15 in the OCC Challenge.
They finished runner-up in the OCC-Cardinal at 10-2 behind Hilliard Darby (12-0) and were ranked eighth in last week's East Region rankings.
Girls track team begins postseason
The girls track and field team is competing in the Division I, district 3 meet this week at Darby. The meet began May 15, continues Thursday, May 17, and concludes Saturday, May 19, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to the regional meet Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North.
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet June 1 and 12 at Ohio State.
Jerome scored 63.5 points in the OCC-Cardinal meet May 10 and 12 at Coffman to finish fifth behind champion Darby (146.5).
Sydney Browning won the league title in the 100 meters (12.74 seconds).
Placing third were Jessica Blake in the 300 hurdles (47.71), Paige Elder in the discus (104 feet, 10 inches), the 400 relay of Sydney Browning, Nadia Coalter, Alexandra Dean and Hayley Jacobs (51.66), the 1,600 relay of Coalter, Dean, Emily Oiler and Larkin Thomas (4:15.54) and the 3,200 relay of Abigail Lenz, Thomas, Kathryn Willette and Madison Weigle (10:11.53).
Boys track team places fourth in OCC
The boys track and field team scored 98 points in the OCC-Cardinal meet to finish fourth behind champion Bradley (143.5).
Ezra Strickland won the league title in the high jump (6-2) and Elliott Cook finished first in the 1,600 (4:18.04).
Placing second were Ross Stevenson in the pole vault (12-6) and the 400 relay of Frank Blair, Blake Hara, Cade Kacherski and Alex Smythe (44.21).
Finishing third were Cook in the 800 (1:58.09), Anthony Alvarez in the 400 (52.32), Blair in the long jump (20-2 3/4), Carson DeCarlo in the pole vault (12-6) and Alec Scheurle in the discus (143-0).
The Celtics are competing in the Division I, district 3 meet this week at Darby.
Most of softball team expected to return
The softball team is eligible to return all but just two key seniors in Ashley Hammett (P/SS) and Tasia Talton (CF).
The Celtics were seeded 17th in the Division I district tournament and lost to 21st-seeded UA 9-5 in the first round May 7 to finish 11-10 overall.
"This is the first team that's really competed every game," coach Alyssa Kelley said. "We were out there giving tough games to really, really good teams. Our competitiveness rose. Our game knowledge rose. There's a lot to be proud of. It's just tough being so close in so many games and falling short."
Hammett went 5-3 with 30 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings pitched and led the Celtics in hitting with a .458 average, two home runs, 22 RBI and 27 runs scored. Talton hit .343 with 16 RBI.
Sydney Berberick (OF/C) batted .388 with 16 RBI to lead a junior class that also included Whitney Karg (3B) and Anna Orben (SS).
Among the sophomore class, Julia Burch (LF) hit .306 with 21 runs, Alie Intihar (C) batted .324 with 21 RBI, Alessandra Monte (OF) hit .293 and Kendall Sestili (INF) batted .305.
Sophomore Jenna Watts (2B/P) is expected to return as the No. 1 pitcher after going 6-7 with a 2.63 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 88 innings.
Others eligible to return include junior Lauren Belu (OF) and sophomores Holly Harris (utility) and Brigitte Rehtus (OF).
Jerome placed fourth in the OCC-Cardinal at 6-6, behind co-champions Delaware and Bradley (both 10-2) and Darby (9-3) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (4-8), Scioto (3-9) and Thomas (0-12).
"We'll have seven starting sophomores returning, so hopefully we'll be a force to be reckoned with," Kelley said.