Eastmoor Academy hasn't always been thought of as a City League power in softball.
However, the Warriors proved again this season that their pool of talented athletes extends beyond the basketball court or the track when they won their second consecutive City softball championship.
Eastmoor defeated host Centennial 19-4 on May 21 to finish 18-5 and win back-to-back City titles for the first time in a sport that traditionally has been dominated in the league by the Stars, Whetstone and Briggs.
"For so long, we had that battle with Briggs (in the City-South Division)," said Travis Clodfelter, who is in his 11th season as coach. "For so many years, girls would come out and play softball (at Eastmoor) because they weren't fast enough to run track or good enough to put the ball in the basket. A lot of these girls are basketball or volleyball players, so they are athletic."
Eastmoor, which went 12-0 in the City-South, led Centennial 4-2 after five innings before scoring 12 runs in the sixth. The Warriors added three runs in the seventh to complete their scoring.
Seven of Eastmoor's nine starters got at least two hits, with junior Mallory Barnes (SS) going 4-for-4 with a home run, senior Averi Brown (P) and sophomore Paige Barnes (1B) each going 3-for-4 and senior Simone Brown (2B) going 3-for-5.
Averi Brown pitched a complete game, striking out 14 and allowing three earned runs.
"We haven't had back-to-back City championships in softball ever, so it's a pretty big deal," Averi Brown said. "As a senior, it's nice to go out with a title. It was pretty close for four innings and we needed to bring some things together.
"This is my last softball game ever, so I kind of wanted to set something for the underclassmen, something for them to look forward to when they're seniors."
Averi Brown, a four-time state qualifier in bowling who will compete in women's bowling at Arkansas State, finished 13-3 in the circle with a 3.35 ERA and batted .589 with three home runs and 35 RBI.
Mallory Barnes hit .781 with three home runs, 33 RBI and 44 runs scored and Paige Barnes hit .583 with 32 RBI and 40 runs scored.
Mallory and Paige Barnes are sisters, and they have another sister, eighth-grader Brooke Barnes, who is expected to join the team next season and could end up being one of the team's top pitchers.
Paige Barnes went 5-1 in the circle this spring.
"It's nice (to win the City) as a junior," Mallory Barnes said. "We got it last year, and I get a chance next year to do it again. I thought we could have (this type of season). There are no little cliques within our team and we're all cool with each other."
The Warriors are losing seven seniors, including Averi Brown and Simone Brown, who batted .490 with 34 RBI. Among the others are Imani Slater (designated player), who hit .379, and Lauryn White (C), who batted .435 with seven home runs and 32 RBI.
Others eligible to return include junior Marysa Georges (1B), sophomores Maliyah Eiland-Johnson (OF), Micaela Edwards (3B) and Annetta Jackson (INF) and freshman Tia Elder (CF).
"I'm going to enjoy this one right here," Clodfelter said. "With the senior class we have and with Mallory Barnes and Paige Barnes, they all hit the ball so well.
"We've got a handful of sophomores that will get their shots next year. We'll be in a good spot."
Bruins capture City boys volleyball title
The disappointment the Briggs boys volleyball team felt after it couldn't hang on to an early lead during a 25-27, 13-25, 25-21, 25-14, 16-14 loss to seventh-seeded Dublin Scioto on May 19 in the second round of the Division II East Region tournament was softened two days later when it won the City tournament.
On May 21, Northland defeated Beechcroft 25-18, 25-14 in a semifinal and the Bruins beat the Vikings 25-18, 25-20, 25-20 in the final to win the title.
"The kids were excited," coach Herb Sharfenaker said. "After the debacle in the district final (against Scioto), I didn't know how they'd come back and react because that was a letdown. But after they saw the awards and how the kids got recognized (with all-City honors), they kids came out and played really well."
Briggs finished 14-8 overall, including going 8-0 in the City during the regular season. Northland finished 9-13 overall and 5-3 in the City, while Eastmoor (4-4), Whetstone (2-5) and Beechcroft (0-7) rounded out the City standings.
Making first-team all-league for Briggs were juniors Justin Sharfenaker (outside hitter) and Quinten Johnson (outside hitter) and sophomore Jonathan Jasso (setter). They were joined on first-team all-league by junior Dal Sum (middle hitter) and sophomore Dal Kap (outside hitter) of Northland, senior Tim Smith (middle hitter) of Eastmoor, senior Shemar Samuel (right-side hitter) of Beechcroft and junior Nathan Vokac (outside hitter) of Whetstone.
Justin Sharfenaker, who is coach Sharfenaker's son, also was named Division II East Region Player of the Year.
Making second-team all-City were Briggs senior Gilbert Quinonez (libero), Northland senior Dipendra Dhakal (setter), Eastmoor junior Ravon Wheeler (middle hitter), Whetstone sophomore Faizon Thomas (setter) and Beechcroft senior Deonteze Newsom (middle hitter).
Briggs senior Devin Eastham (right-side hitter), Northland sophomore Rasi Bailey (right-side hitter), Eastmoor junior Semaj Wright (setter), Whetstone junior Gabe Reeves (middle hitter) and Beechcroft senior Tyshon Jennings (libero) were honorable mention all-league.
According to coach Sharfenaker, the City's five programs had 64 total players, and South is hoping to add a team next season.
Eastmoor boys relay advances to state
The Eastmoor boys track and field team moved from Division II to what is considered a deeper pool of athletes in Division I, but that didn't keep the 3,200-meter relay of seniors Chris Chandler, Omavi Hamilton and Sean Hathorn and junior Bushra Bonkiye from qualifying for the state meet.
On May 23 in the regional meet at Pickerington North, the Warriors' foursome finished third in 7 minutes, 55.98 seconds to earn one of four state berths in the event.
The Division I regional concluded May 25, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.
Also competing at regional were athletes from Northland and Walnut Ridge. In the long jump May 23, Walnut Ridge senior Greco Battles settled for fifth (21 feet, 2 1/2 inches), while the Vikings' Jesse Prewitt III fouled on each of his three attempts.
East, Linden-McKinley and Marion-Franklin all had representatives in the Division II regional held May 24 and 26 at Lexington, while Africentric was represented in the Division III regional held May 23 and 25 at Fairfield Union.
Girls track teams compete at regional
In the Division II girls track and field regional meet May 24 at Lexington, East senior Taija Sellars was 12th (4-10) in the high jump and Africentric junior Tearra Cook (15th, 32-5 1/2) and South junior Kennedy Stokes (16th, 31-8 1/4) competed in the shot put.
Beechcroft and Marion-Franklin also had competitors in the Lexington regional that concluded May 26. Eastmoor was represented in the Division I regional that concluded May 25 at Pickerington North.