The Ready High School softball team views its latest appearance in a Division III district championship game as a learning experience.

In a rematch of a district final it won 3-2 last season, the fourth-seeded Silver Knights lost to top-seeded North Union 11-1 on May 18 at Pickerington Central.

Ready was limited to three hits, with one being a solo home run by sophomore Ashlyn Muraco (OF/1B).

"We just didn't play our game, we didn't hit our game, we didn't pitch our game," coach Jen Goff said. "We just struggled. (North Union pitcher Madison Wedding) kept you guessing, moving the ball in and out. We had effective at-bats, it was just when we were looking outside, we'd hit a weak grounder. It was an off day."

Ready, which was a regional runner-up last season despite being the 11th seed for the district tournament, finished 15-10 overall and won its first CCL title since 2009. The Knights went 5-1 in the league to finish ahead of Watterson (4-2), DeSales (2-4) and Hartley (1-5).

The Knights opened the postseason with an 8-4 victory May 10 at home against 10th-seeded Northridge and then beat seventh-seeded West Jefferson 8-2 on May 16 in a district semifinal at Pickerington North.

Against West Jefferson, Ready scored three times in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Then in the fifth, freshman Katie Gallagher (CF) hit a solo home run and Muraco added a two-run homer during a four-run inning.

Junior Skylar Lafferty pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits and striking out two.

"Last year we were definitely the underdogs," Lafferty said. "Everybody thought we were going to do better this year and (it was) good to be back in the district final."

Ready loses three seniors in Dani Hall (SS), Nikki Hawkins (2B) and Shelby Tracy (C/3B). Hall is expected to attend Cincinnati, where she might play for the club team, while Hawkins has committed to Wittenberg and Tracy will play for Belmont Abbey.

Hall batted .488 with 12 RBI and a team-best 33 runs. Hawkins had one home run and 12 RBI while batting .333 and Tracy had two home runs and 19 RBI while batting .309.

Junior CeCe Phillips (1B/P), sophomores Hannah Bryan (3B/C) and Kiley Gallagher (LF) and freshman Sarah Ranke (OF) were other key contributors.

Bryan finished with nine home runs and 43 RBI and batted .438, and Muraco hit .414 with five homers and 18 RBI. Kiley Gallagher had five homers and 27 RBI and hit .365, Katie Gallagher hit .339 and Ranke batted .333 with 12 runs scored.

Phillips batted .293 with two home runs and 12 RBI and was 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Lafferty went 13-8 with 101 strikeouts in 125 1/3 innings and batted .355.

Others eligible to return include junior Addison Gualtieri (OF), sophomore Maryann Rucker (INF) and freshmen Carissa Perez (OF), Catey Wolfe (OF) and Megan Wohrle (INF).

"The future is bright," Goff said. "We learned a lot. The best thing about getting (to a district final) two times in a row is that you know what to do to get better, and obviously we'll fix the things we can fix."

Track teams battling at regional meet

The boys and girls track and field teams are competing in the Division III regional meet, which began May 23 and concludes Friday, May 25, at Fairfield Union.

The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.

In the district 2 meet that concluded May 19 at Watkins Memorial, the girls scored 78 points to place third of 13 teams behind Mount Gilead (164) and Columbus Academy (114) while the boys were seventh (38) of 12 teams behind champion Mount Gilead (154).

Lauren Whitt led the girls and Shelrick McElroy led the boys at district, as the top four in each event qualified for regional.

Whitt was runner-up in the 100 meters (13.09 seconds), won the 400 (59.94) and ran on the second-place 1,600 relay (4:16.23) with Lindsey Bair, Brigitte Bowman and Atenman Maker.

McElroy was third in the 100 (11.22), third in the 200 (22.63) and ran on the fourth-place 400 relay (46.12) with Austin Aiello, Jack Foley and John Riewe.

Also for the girls team, Derricka Bramwell won the shot put (36 feet, 5 inches), Bowman was third in the 300 hurdles (52.22), Maker was third in the long jump (16-3/4), Bair was runner-up in the 800 (2:28.65) and Allison Poe was third in the discus (92-2).

Finishing fifth for the boys team were Matt Frye in the shot put (41-3 1/2), the 800 relay of Aiello, Foley, McElroy and Riewe (1:36.09) and the 1,600 relay of Grant Cordle, Evan Cordle, Foley and Riewe (3:46.27).

For the girls squad, finishing fifth were Jenna Winslow in the 100 (13.61) and the 3,200 relay of Bair, Maker, Isabella Marsh and Katelyn Paul (10:54.49).

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 Wohrle (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 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.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek