When it comes to central Ohio's traditional Division II powers, Hartley High School baseball coach Chris Sawyer knows most followers of his sport first point to programs like DeSales, Watterson and Lakewood.
He acknowledges that his program doesn't yet have the same reputation, but he hopes what the Hawks have done this season will help change that.
Hartley defeated DeSales 1-0 in a district final May 17, giving the Hawks their first district title since winning the Division IV state championship in 1996.
"This is the first step of something we hopes lasts a long time," Sawyer said. "We want to be one of the very best baseball teams in the state of Ohio."
In his team's final practice before it began regional action, Sawyer told his players, "The old is gone and we're the new. The team chemistry we have is unbelievable."
Hartley finished 19-8 after losing to Dayton Chaminade Julienne 3-2 in a regional semifinal May 24 at Mason.
The Hawks rallied to tie the score at 2 in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Anthony Whitney, but the Eagles answered with the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
"It's been a pretty crazy ride for us," Whitney said. "We're a young team, but we're hard-working and continuously working. We build off of each other. One guy gets it going and we just keep it going. Our defense has been playing pretty well throughout the year."
Jacob Culbertson started on the mound and went 5 1/3 innings against Chaminade Julienne, which lost to Tallmadge 4-0 in last year's state championship game.
"We have a lot of kids that can throw strikes for us," Sawyer said. "Our whole philosophy is we don't want kids to throw strikeouts. It's nice if it happens, but we pitch to contact. We're big believers in throwing strikes. We want to get an out as soon as we can. People say the perfect inning is nine pitches, but that's wrong. Three pitches is the perfect inning for us because we want to try to keep our pitch count down."
Track teams compete at regional meet
The track and field teams competed in the Division II regional meet held May 24 and 26 at Lexington.
On May 24, Ben Dankow fouled on all three attempts in the boys long jump and Ellie Kitsmiller failed to clear the opening height of 4 feet, 8 inches in the girls high jump.
Preliminary races were held May 24 and running finals were held May 26. Also competing May 26 was Chase Rawlins in the boys high jump and Liana Burk and Abby Rhodes in the girls long jump.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.
Both the boys and girls teams were coming off team titles at district, with the boys winning district 1 and the girls sharing the title in district 2.
Also competing at regional for the boys were Miles Fleming in the 100 meters and 200, Patrick Scurlock in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Dankow in the 400, Rawlins in the 800, the 400 relay, the 800 relay and the 1,600 relay.
The other regional competitors for the girls were Bailey Smith in the 100, Hannah Thompson in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, England Ladd in the 200, Emily Moore in the 300 hurdles, Rachael LeMay in the 400, Bailee Zacovic in the 1,600, the 400 relay and the 1,600 relay.
Girls lacrosse season ended on high note
After losing five of its first six games, the girls lacrosse team put together an eight-game winning streak and went on to post a record of .500 or better for the sixth time in eight seasons under coach Molly Gilbert.
The sixth-seeded Hawks beat 11th-seeded Dayton Carroll 18-7 in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 17 before falling to third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 17-7 on May 19 to finish 9-6 overall.
"We finished strong despite losing in the second round, and that's what you want as a coach," Gilbert said. "We came back from 1-5 to win eight straight. We came in second in the CCL, which was outstanding. We kept getting better and better (and more) together as a team."
Hartley closed the regular season with a 14-13 victory over Columbus School for Girls to clinch fourth place in the Central Independent League at 4-3, behind DeSales (7-0), Columbus Academy (6-1) and Granville (5-2) and ahead of CSG (3-4), Watterson (2-5), Bexley (1-6) and Wellington (0-7).
The Hawks went 2-1 in the CCL to place second, behind DeSales (3-0) and ahead of CSG (1-2) and Watterson (0-3).
Hartley found out before the season that it would be without senior midfielder Maria Evans, who scored 47 goals last year but missed this season with a knee injury.
Senior midfielder Hannah McFeeters had 37 goals, 25 assists and 100 draw controls, senior attacker Killian Sweeney had a team-high 46 goals and 10 assists and senior attacker Luci Kanowsky had 27 goals and 25 assists.
They were part of an 11-member senior class that also featured defenders Taylour Golden, Jordan Kaylor and Hannah Murphy.
Among the expected returnees are juniors Sienna Caridi (defender) and Tommie Lipp (attacker) and freshmen Sydney Onega (midfielder) and Sidney Sheridan (goalkeeper).
Onega had 38 goals and 17 assists and Sheridan had a .550 save percentage.
"I'm so excited to build this next group of players," Gilbert said. "We had two freshmen start and play almost the entire game every game for us. ... Graduating almost an entire team of seniors is tough, but we're always looking forward to the talent that Hartley has behind each senior class."