Focusing on the moment paid off for the Ready High School softball team.
Knowing they could be in for a rematch of last year's Division III district championship game, the Silver Knights put together two multi-run innings and beat seventh-seeded West Jefferson 8-2 on May 16 in a district semifinal at Pickerington North.
On May 18, fourth-seeded Ready played top-seeded North Union in a district final at Pickerington Central.
Last season, the 11th-seeded Knights beat the top-seeded Wildcats 3-2 in a district final and went on to a regional runner-up finish.
"Everyone has been like, 'When do we play next?' But I've been saying we're not going to overlook any game," coach Jen Goff said. "We won the (CCL) and people were like, 'OK, when is the tournament?' But we still had regular-season games left. It's take one out, one hit, one run at a time."
Ready, which was 15-9 entering the district final, scored three times in the fourth against West Jefferson to take a 4-1 lead. Then in the fifth, Katie Gallagher hit a solo home run and Ashlyn Muraco added a two-run homer during a four-run inning.
Skylar Lafferty pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits and striking out two.
"It's been really good because last year we were definitely the underdogs," Lafferty said. "Everybody thought we were going to do better this year and it's good to be back in the district final."
North Union entered the district final after beating 19th-seeded Mount Gilead 21-0 on May 10 and 11th-seeded Marion Elgin 8-0 on May 15.
The Ready-North Union winner plays Mansfield Madison or West Liberty-Salem in a regional semifinal Friday, May 23, at Wright State. That winner plays Lewistown Indian Lake, Cincinnati Deer Park, Sabina East Clinton or Williamsburg in a regional final Saturday, May 26, at Wright State.
Baseball team losing seven seniors
The 18th-seeded baseball team followed a 7-1 win over 19th-seeded Mount Gilead on May 8 by losing at third-seeded Fredericktown 18-0 on May 10 in the second round of the Division III district tournament.
The Knights finished 2-18 overall and 0-8 in the CCL, behind co-champions DeSales and Hartley (6-2) as well as St. Charles (4-4) and Watterson (4-4).
"We had about 90 errors on the year, which was the main problem," first-year coach Bruce Lunsford said. "We were with teams for three, four, five, six innings and we'd have an inning where we'd give up nine runs and none of them were earned. But all in all, they've learned some things."
Chase Jones (SS/CF/P) led a seven-member senior class that also included Braedon Bowers (1B/P), Cameron Monovich (OF) and Eric Terranova (INF/P).
Ready's other win came over Franklin Heights, 9-2 on April 14. Jones was the winning pitcher against Franklin Heights and junior Cade Dent (INF/P) got the win against Mount Gilead.
Junior Alex Whorle (OF/P), sophomore Kaeden Boyd (C/3B/SS) and freshmen Nathan Boyer (3B/P) and Luke Jahn (INF) are others eligible to return.
"It's hard on the seniors when they've had three coaches in four years who teach differently than I do," Lunsford said. "They've gotten better."
Most of tennis team to return
During a Division II sectional tournament May 10 at Columbus Academy, boys tennis coach Dan Skuce was pleasantly surprised that he was still watching his players compete late into the afternoon.
Junior Sandon Skuce, the coach's son, won a sectional match while the doubles team of juniors Daniel Hamilton and Jarek Kolinski ended up playing two three-set matches, winning their first 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 before losing to Grandview's Patrick Rowland and Bryan Gilleland 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 in the second round.
"I didn't think I'd be here this long," coach Skuce said. "We had a half-hour delay to start and (we) had a couple wins and some long matches."
Ready finished 1-9 overall and 0-4 in the CCL, behind St. Charles (4-0), Watterson (3-1), DeSales (2-2) and Hartley (1-3). The Knights beat Franklin Heights 4-1 on April 13.
The only senior in the postseason lineup was Tommy Sithidouangleuthai, who lost in a sectional play-in match.
Junior Connor Nagy played first singles all season and lost in the first round at sectional.
The other doubles team at sectional was juniors Ricky Pittman and Dom Tokar. They lost in the second round after a first-round bye.
Track teams compete at district
The boys and girls track and field teams competed in the Division III, district 2 meet May 15, 17 and 19 at Watkins Memorial.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional Wednesday, May 23, and Friday, May 25, at Fairfield Union. At regional, the top four in each event qualify for the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
On the opening day of the district meet, Atenman Maker finished third in the long jump (16 feet, 3/4 inch) and Derricka Bramwell won the shot put (36-5) to advance to regional for the girls team.
On May 8 and 10 in the CCL meet at Hartley, the girls finished fourth (47.5) behind Watterson (175.5), Hartley (116) and DeSales (107) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (45). The boys were fifth (33) behind DeSales (138), St. Charles (126), Hartley (113) and Watterson (78).
Lauren Whitt won the 400 meters (59.87 seconds) and was fifth in the 100 (13.28), Bramwell won the shot put (35-4), Lindsay Bair was first in the long jump (16-11) and Michaela Kopczewski was third in the discus (81-9) for the girls.
For the boys, Shelrick McElroy was runner-up in the 200 (22.7) and 100 (11.17), the 800 relay of Austin Aiello, Jack Foley, McElroy and John Riewe was third (1:36.01) and Matt Frye was fifth in the shot put (38-5 1/2) and fifth in the discus (112-7).