The Groveport Madison High School softball team continues to be the surprise of the OCC-Ohio Division.

The Groveport Madison High School softball team continues to be the surprise of the OCC-Ohio Division.

The Cruisers beat league-leading Gahanna 10-6 on April 20 to hand the Lions their first loss of the season. Groveport scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning and two in the fifth to overcome a 5-3 deficit against the Lions, who were ranked first in the Division I state poll at the time.

Gahanna was 14-1 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Reynoldsburg on April 25.

"I think people know who we are now," coach Chris Downing said. "What a huge win for our program and this young team. I can't begin to tell you how excited our girls are."

Leading the way against the Lions were Lanie White, who went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI, and Jessie Rock, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI and was intentionally walked twice.

"It's the best win I've ever been involved with," said Rock, a junior catcher who has committed to play for Walsh University.

"I think a lot of people underestimated us this year because we lost eight seniors, including a great pitcher in Emilee (Downing). We didn't have a lot of varsity experience, but we have a lot of talented girls who have played travel ball for years. We've played with a chip on our shoulders because we feel we have to prove ourselves."

Groveport was 9-9 overall and 6-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Lancaster on April 25.

"Everyone had a part in the win," coach Downing said. "They intentionally walked Jessie once to load the bases and Jodi Kern followed with a two-run single. We had a 14-hit game and had a five-run inning against a great team and great pitcher."

The Cruisers followed the upset win by beating Grove City 6-5 on April 22.

Rock broke a 5-all tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth and finished 3-for-3 with an intentional walk. Kern and Sara Gockenbach both singled and doubled, Shyla Shirkey had a two-out, two-run double and Carsyn Saunders had a two-run single.

In the circle, Gockenbach had 10 strikeouts against the Greyhounds.

"Beating Grove City proved the win over Gahanna wasn't a fluke," Downing said. "Jessie had a remarkable week and things began clicking when we moved Laney to the No. 2 hole in the (batting) order. I was a little concerned about which team would show up for Grove City after beating Gahanna, but the girls did a great job moving forward. We're only starting one senior and one junior, so it's very exciting."

Rock, who also homered in an 11-2 win over Reynoldsburg on April 18, was hitting .421 with four doubles and seven home runs through 18 games. White was hitting .351 with five doubles and eight stolen bases and Saunders was batting .309 with four doubles. Other top hitters were Shirkey (.300), Gockenbach (.277, 6 doubles) and Kern (.276, 7 doubles).

"We beat Pickerington Central (7-6 on April 15) for the first time in four years and I think we started to really see what we're capable of doing that day," Rock said. "We don't have a great record, but we're going to finish strong and go into (the postseason) with momentum. I'm so excited about the rest of this season and next year we should be very, very good."

The Division I district tournament draw is Sunday, May 1. First-round games are scheduled for May 9.

Baseball team falls after reaching .500

After winning back-to-back games to reach .500, the baseball team lost its next three contests and was 7-10 overall and 3-6 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Pickerington North on April 25.

The Cruisers fell to host Newark 6-5 on April 18, giving up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a walk, bunt single, throwing error and another single.

Groveport defeated Westland 4-0 the next day and then avenged the loss to Newark by beating the Wildcats 7-2 on April 20, scoring six runs in the third inning.

"We got a big two-run double from Conner Coffey after (Newark) made two or three errors that inning," coach David Eft said. "Things kind of snowballed on them, but I was really happy to see us take advantage of the situation. We've been hitting the ball well all season and it was nice to have the shoe on the other foot after losing to (Newark) at their place like that."

Starting pitcher Luis Pantoja allowed four hits in six innings in the win over Newark, with Derek Downard pitching the seventh. Starting pitcher Daniel Fairfield scattered five hits to get the shutout against Westland.

Groveport lost to Pickerington North 4-1 on April 22 and was swept by Teays Valley in a doubleheader April 23, falling 7-3 and 6-5.

The Cruisers made five errors in in the second game against Teays Valley.

Track teams compete in Elmo Kallner Invite

Tyler Hanna finished third in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches), fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (16.44 seconds) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (45.06) to lead the boys track and field team in the Elmo Kallner Invitational on April 23 at Hamilton Township.

Brennan Watson was runner-up in the 800 (2:06.01), and the Cruisers won the 400 relay (44.73) and finished second in the 800 relay (1:33.8), third in the 1,600 relay (3:34.4) and fourth in the 3,200 relay (8:39.52).

Cleopatria Steward led the girls team, placing third in the 400 (1:02.86).

Toni Woods finished fifth in the long jump (15-11 3/4), and the Cruisers finished second in the 400 relay (50.1), 800 relay (1:50.52) and 1,600 relay (4:17.3).

The boys team finished fifth (63.5 points) behind champion Fairfield Union (119.5) as 12 teams scored, and the girls team finished eighth (36) behind champion Fairfield Union (99) as 15 teams scored.