The Canal Winchester High School softball team struggled in the field while losing seven of its first 12 games.

The Canal Winchester High School softball team struggled in the field while losing seven of its first 12 games.

But after shortstop Mackenzie Hamilton returned from a sprained ankle and Bailee Faulkner and Kasey Wentzel were moved to third base and catcher, respectively, the Indians significantly improved their defense.

"Our defense has gotten a lot better and we've cut our errors down to less than one per game over our last seven regular-season games," coach Randy Hinton said. "Having Mackenzie back at shortstop has made a big difference. Moving Bailee to third base has improved our bunt coverage quite a bit, too. Really, everyone on our team has picked up their defense lately to help us finish the season on a positive note."

Canal Winchester concluded the regular season May 6 with a 13-1, six-inning win over host Dublin Scioto in an OCC-Cardinal Division game.

Katie Hinkle pitched a two-hitter for the Indians, who finished 8-6 in the league.

Seeded 22nd of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament, Canal Winchester was 13-11 overall before playing host to 41st-seeded Northland in the first round May 11. The winner played at third-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round May 13.

The second-round winner faces ninth-seeded Westerville North, 20th-seeded Olentangy or 34th-seeded Dublin Jerome in a district semifinal Monday, May 18, at a site to be determined.

The Indians swept Jerome in OCC-Cardinal play, winning 8-6 on April 15 and 8-4 on May 1, but were swept by Westerville North in league play, losing 8-2 on April 17 and 5-0 on May 4.

The district final will be played May 22 or 23 at Pickerington Central.

"To win in the tournament, we need to keep playing defense like we have down the stretch, and hopefully our hitting will stay the same," Hinton said.

Through 24 games, the Indians were batting .357 as a team, with Faulkner (.525 batting average, 2 home runs, 31 RBI), Raven Hamilton (.390, 3 home runs), Callie Caswell (15 RBI) and Taylor Griffin (2 home runs) leading the way.

Raven Hamilton hit a solo home run and Carly Favorito was the winning pitcher in a 2-1 victory over Olentangy Orange on May 2.

"Beating Orange late in the season was big for us because they are seeded 13th in the district tournament," Hinton said. "A lot of our girls have improved their batting averages, including Paige Hughes, Raven Hamilton and Bailee Faulkner. Carly Favorito and Katie Hinkle both are pitching well, too."

Baseball team skidsinto postseason

The baseball team closed the regular season on a six-game losing streak.

Seeded 28th of 44 teams in the Division I district tournament, Canal Winchester was 9-18 overall before playing at 27th-seeded Hamilton Township in the first round May 11.

The winner played at 20th-seeded Teays Valley in the second round May 13. The second-round winner faces top-seeded Westerville Central, 33rd-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley or 40th-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Monday, May 18, at Gahanna.

The Indians were swept by Westerville Central in OCC-Cardinal play, losing 16-0 on April 13 and 7-2 on April 16.

The semifinal winner advances to a district final Wednesday, May 20, at Otterbein University, where it likely would face sixth-seeded Orange, 14th-seeded Marys-ville or 18th-seeded New Albany.

Canal Winchester lost to Circleville 8-2 on May 9 in its regular-season finale. Also last week, the Indians were swept by Scioto, falling 7-1 on May 4 and 9-0 on May 6, to finish 3-11 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Canal Winchester had a .278 team batting average through 27 games, with Collin Sanders (.394, 15 RBI, 28 runs), Austin Trace (.382, 26 RBI, 12 runs), Colin Sotlar (.348, 16 RBI, 14 runs) and Troy Fleming (.328, 7 RBI, 7 runs) leading the way.

"We're just trying to find ourselves," coach Jay Bartos said. "For the most part, our pitching and defense have been solid, but we're not hitting or scoring runs. We'll need to start hitting in the tournament. All it takes is getting a little confidence and getting hot at the right time."

Boys tennis teamready for sectional

Seven members of the boys tennis team are set to compete in the Division I sectional Thursday, May 14, and Saturday, May 16, at Pickerington Central.

The top four placers in singles and doubles advance to district May 22 at Hilliard Davidson and May 23 at Upper Arlington.

Andrew Ornsburn, Alex Ugrinov and Ryan Warner will play singles at sectional. Aaron Graber and Zach Lewis will comprise one of the doubles teams and Tristan Daniels and Kevin Karn will make up the other.

Canal Winchester defeated Westland 3-1 on May 7 and was 3-9 overall before playing Lancaster on May 11 and Pickerington North on May 13. The Indians entered the week 0-6 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Track teams setfor league meet

The track and field teams will compete in the OCC-Cardinal meet Thursday, May 14, and Saturday, May 16, at Davidson.

In the league meet last season, the boys team scored 55 points to place sixth, behind Westerville Central (129), Hilliard Darby (108.5), Hilliard Bradley (105), Jerome (97.5) and Westerville North (69) and ahead of Westerville South (49) and Scioto (42). The girls placed second (112), behind Scioto (116) and ahead of South (110), Bradley (93.5), North (67), Central (66.5), Jerome (66) and Darby (31).

After the league meet, the Indians will prepare for the Division I, district 3 meet at Darby. They will compete in the field events Wednesday, May 20, followed by the preliminaries for the running events May 21 and the running finals May 23.

The top four finishers in each district event advance to regional May 27 and 29 at Pickerington North.