The Whetstone High School baseball team extended its streak of City League titles to seven while also extending Briggs' misery.
Davis Kleen singled to left field to drive in Jacob Price with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 3-all tie and starting pitcher Jeffrey Golding capped his complete-game effort by stranding the potential tying run at second base in the top of the seventh as the host Braves defeated Briggs 4-3 in the City championship game May 17.
It marked the Bruins' ninth loss in the City final in as many years.
"We found a way to get it done again, despite making eight errors and getting just one hit," said coach Tim Broskie, whose team finished 18-10 overall. "It seemed like we were pressing to continue our streak and (Briggs) was pressing to end their streak. Both teams had poor defensive play, but the difference was that Jeffrey Golding didn't allow a walk. He struck out nine and finished with 104 pitches."
Terrance Yates, a four-year starter for Briggs, was the losing pitcher for the second year in a row. He walked two and hit a batter and all three baserunners came around to score as the Bruins made five errors.
Yates, who went the distance in a 2-0 loss to Whetstone in last year's City final, had seven strikeouts.
Price led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and went to second base on an errant pickoff attempt with one out. After a strikeout, Kleen produced Whetstone's lone hit.
The Braves won the City-North Division with an 11-1 record, edging runner-up Centennial (10-2). They were seeded 29th in the Division I district tournament and lost to 30th-seeded Dublin Scioto 5-0 in the first round May 7 at home.
Whetstone is losing six seniors, including starters Cameron Bragg (CF), Evan Cossin (C), Dalton Daugherty (LF), Jacob Hochstetler (3B) and Kleen (RF/P).
Daugherty led the team in batting average (.449) and runs scored (34) and had 24 RBI and six doubles. Cossin batted .371 with 18 runs and 16 RBI, Hochstetler hit .338 with 24 runs, 29 RBI and six doubles, Bragg batted .324 with 30 runs and 20 RBI and Kleen hit .311 with 26 runs, 11 RBI and five doubles.
Daugherty was named second-team all-district.
On the mound, Kleen was 2-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 24 innings and Hochstetler was 1-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 22 1/3 innings.
Among the expected returnees are juniors Golding (P/OF) and Price (P/INF) and sophomores Ben Paugh (P/INF) and Alex Timmons (P/OF).
Golding batted .380 with 21 runs and 11 RBI and Paugh batted .380 with 23 runs and 20 RBI. On the mound, Price was 3-1 with a 1.24 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, Timmons was 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings and Golding was 3-3 with a 1.81 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Track teams reach regional in two events
The track and field teams will be represented in the Division I regional meet, which began May 23 and concludes Friday, May 25, at Pickerington North.
The boys 1,600-meter relay of Emil Adams, Ibrahim Sesay, Francisco Soto and Brack Dillon placed third in 3 minutes, 27.79 seconds in the district 3 meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby, and Jamie Bossenbroek of the girls team finished third in the 300 hurdles (46.03) as the top four finishers in each district event advanced to regional.
For the boys, it was a bit of redemption to earn a regional berth in the final event at district.
"Ibrahim had a real difficult day in the long jump (May 16), but came back and ran well for our relays the next day and he had everyone pumped up for that (1,600 relay) final," coach Joe Monda said. "I think he wanted to go out on a high note, and it's a big reward for the hard work he put in these last four years. That's true for Francisco, too.
"Brack is a freshman who finished fifth in the 400 (51.27), about .09 (of a second) away from making regional. He had a blister on his foot and could barely get his track shoe on for that final race, so he could've checked out, but he hung in there for his teammates."
Also scoring for the boys were the 3,200 relay of Adams, Sam Khoury, Sean Jones and Soto (sixth, 8:26.82) and Adams in the 800 (eighth, 2:00.68).
Whetstone scored 14 points to place 12th of 14 teams, behind champion Olentangy Orange (133).
"We had a ton of PRs and it was just a fun final day at district," Monda said.
Bossenbroek, who finished seventh in the 100 hurdles (16.35) at district, did not have her best day, according to coach Chris Lisi.
"She showed a lot of heart and finished seventh in the 100 hurdles because she fell behind early and then hit a late hurdle," Lisi said. "She ran pretty well in the 300 hurdles, but she didn't close as well as she normally does. But it was a strong field and she got out to become a four-time regional qualifier in the 300 hurdles, which is what we were looking for."
Bossenbroek also was a regional qualifier in the 100 hurdles last season.
Sofia McLemore posted a personal-record 59.64 in the 400 to place fifth and was eighth in the 100 (13.08), while the 1,600 relay of McLemore, Mira Dush, Bossenbroek and Mariyanna Lacy was sixth in a season-best 4:13.25.
"I was very happy for Sofia to close her career the way she did, breaking the minute mark for the first time ever and running well in the (1,600 relay)," Lisi said.
The girls team finished 10th (16) of 14 teams, behind champion Pickerington North (109).
At regional, the top four finishers in each event qualify for the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Softball team loses City-North playoff
The softball team's bid to reach the City championship game fell short as it lost to Centennial 12-5 in a City-North playoff game May 16.
Whetstone and Centennial both finished 13-1 in the City-North to set up a tiebreaker for the second consecutive season. The Stars also won last year's playoff game, 7-6.
Centennial played Eastmoor Academy in the City final May 21.
"We were down 8-5 and had the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and Amelia Morris hit a screaming line drive right at their left fielder to end the inning," coach Larry Peck said. "A few feet either way and we may have tied the game right then."
Instead, Centennial added three runs in the bottom of the fourth and tacked on another run in the sixth. The Stars were the home team, but the game was played at Whetstone because of poor field conditions at Centennial.
"We made eight errors and allowed nine unearned runs, by my calculation," Peck said. "You're not going to win many games with that many errors, that's for sure."
Heaven McWilliams was 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Braves.
Season ends for boys volleyball team
The ninth-seeded boys volleyball team lost to sixth-seeded Licking Heights 25-12, 25-13, 25-13 in the first round of the Division II East Region tournament May 19 at St. Charles to finish 3-16.
The Braves went 2-5 against City opponents, defeating Beechcroft 22-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-15, 15-9 on April 26 and Eastmoor 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19 on May 1. Their other win came against New Albany, 25-22, 16-25, 25-22, 12-25, 16-14 on April 17.
Whetstone is losing four seniors in Manny Clarke (middle hitter), Abe Marzouk (outside hitter), David Maston (middle hitter) and Brenton Morrison (setter).
Expected to return are juniors Gabe Reeves (outside hitter), Gianni Signorio (outside hitter) and Nathan Vokac (outside hitter), sophomores Jaden Arledge (middle hitter), Malik Daiy (outside hitter), Mohamed Diallo (middle hitter), Kyjuan Glass (middle hitter), Sari Ophman (back row) and Faizon Thomas (setter) and freshman Emitt Schwier (outside hitter).