The Groveport Madison High School softball team has been Rock solid in the second half of the season.

The Groveport Madison High School softball team has been Rock solid in the second half of the season.

The Cruisers won nine of their final 11 regular-season games and won their final 10 OCC-Ohio Division contests to finish 11-3 in the league. Groveport and Lancaster, which also went 11-3, had a chance to share the league title with Gahanna, which was 11-2 before playing Pickerington Central on May 9.

The Cruisers' second-half surge has been propelled by junior catcher Jessie Rock, who extended her state record for consecutive games with a home run to eight during a 4-2 win over Upper Arlington on May 7.

"She has been outstanding on offense and behind the plate," coach Chris Downing said. "She is on a tear right now and it's a thrill to watch it unfold. I'm kind of surprised that teams continue to pitch to her, honestly."

Rock was hoping to continue the streak May 9 when the 14th-seeded Cruisers played host to 17th-seeded Watterson in the first round of the Division I district tournament. Groveport was 15-10 overall entering the tournament.

The winner played at 11th-seeded Westerville North in the second round May 11. That winner plays second-seeded Hilliard Davidson, 20th-seeded Pickerington North or 41st-seeded Dublin Scioto in a district semifinal Monday, May 16, at Pickerington Central or Pickerington North. The district final will be played May 20 or 21 at Pickerington Central, with the opponent likely being fifth-seeded Westerville Central or seventh-seeded Marysville.

The Cruisers did not play Davidson or Scioto in the regular season. They split their league games against Pickerington North, losing 3-1 on April 13 and winning 5-1 on April 28. They have yet to play Westerville Central this season, but swept Pickerington Central in league play, winning 7-6 on April 15 and 3-2 on May 2.

Rock broke the previous state record of six consecutive games with a home run during a 9-2 win over Reynoldsburg on May 5. She had tied the record in the latter meeting against Pickerington Central.

According to the OHSAA, Kathy Peter of Shaker Heights and Lindsey Tobias of Defiance both homered in six consecutive games in 2008 and Gahanna's Brittany Oldaker duplicated the feat in 2013.

Rock, who had 13 home runs during the regular season, began her streak April 20 in a 10-6 win over Gahanna.

Groveport had an eight-game winning streak snapped with a 12-1 loss to Fairfield Union in the second game of a three-team doubleheader May 7. Rock did not play in that game because of a previous commitment.

"Jessie had to leave after the first game and we rested a few others," Downing said. "We only let (pitcher Sara Gockenbach) go five innings because she pitched the first game and, with the tournament coming, we thought she could use a few innings off. We also didn't use our No. 2 pitcher because she wasn't feeling well and it was raining.

"We trailed 2-1 when Sara came out and we had to go with a (junior varsity) pitcher and she struggled. Fairfield Union is a good team. They were ranked seventh in the (Division II) state poll last week and they scored 10 on us (in the seventh inning)."

Through 25 games, Rock was hitting .429 with 23 runs scored and 31 RBI. Other offensive leaders were Lanie White (.346, 18 runs, 11 RBI), Gockenbach (.314, 17 runs, 11 RBI), Shyla Shirkey (.306), Carsyn Saunders (.303, 12 RBI), Shelby Hobson (.296, 12 runs) and Jodi Kern (12 RBI).

In the circle, Gockenbach was 11-6 with two saves and a 3.70 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 119 innings, and Chloe Woods was 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 40 1/3 innings.

Baseball team ends nine-game skid

The baseball team struggled in the second half of the season, losing nine consecutive games before closing the regular season with a 10-0 win over Logan in the second game of a three-team doubleheader May 7 to improve to 8-16 overall.

Seeded 35th of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament, the Cruisers played 31st-seeded Central Crossing in the first round May 9. The winner played seventh-seeded Olentangy in the second round May 11. That winner plays fifth-seeded Olentangy Orange, 21st-seeded Dublin Coffman or 45th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 17, at a site to be determined. The district final is May 19 at Don Edwards Park in Newark.

"Our hitting really dropped off during the losing streak and our pitching was giving up too many walks," coach David Eft said. "That's a recipe for disaster, when you struggle on the mound and at the plate like that.

"We also reached the tough part of our league schedule and we lost confidence. But maybe the win over Logan will re-energize us for the postseason. We hit the ball real well and Colin Bobo pitched very well. I think Connor Seipel has played well in left field and he's been hitting a bit. Quinton Small has been a great utility player for us. He has played second base, shortstop, third base and outfield for us and has done well no matter where we put him."

Groveport finished 3-11 in the OCC-Ohio. Its skid consisted of a pair of losses to Pickerington North (4-1 on April 22 and 14-6 on April 24), Teays Valley (7-3 and 6-5 on April 23), Pickerington Central (9-8 on April 27 and 9-5 on April 28) and Reynoldsburg (7-0 on May 2 and 13-3 on May 4) as well as a 6-2 loss to Johnstown on May 7.

Boys tennis team set for sectional

The boys tennis team remained busy in the days leading up to the Division I sectional Thursday, May 12, and Saturday, May 14, at Reynoldsburg.

The Cruisers were 7-5 overall before playing Eastmoor Academy on May 9, Bloom-Carroll on May 10 and Watkins Memorial on May 11.

Groveport finished 3-4 in the OCC-Ohio.

"It's been a very good season given our youth and based on our improvement," coach Cody Masters said. "I have a good feeling that we can have several players win at least a match or two in the sectional. We don't have any seniors on the team, so this will be good experience for all of them."

Masters decided to move junior Austin Sourinha, who played first singles during the regular season, to doubles and pair him with classmate Jonathon Thomas. They are seeded fourth in the sectional and have a first-round bye. They will play Big Walnut's Nick Schulz and Stephen Pushkin or Pickerington North's Avery Kreemer and Peter Vanderhoff in the second round.

Also in doubles, Chris Salva and Ryan Harder will play Columbus West's Brian Layman and Darius Jackson in the first round.

In first-round singles matches, Chris Royster will play Watkins Memorial's Michael Cisar and Al Alemu will face Teays Valley's Justin Stewart. In a play-in singles match, Caleb West will face Watkins Memorial's Robby Schaal.

Track teams ready for league meet

The track and field teams will compete in the OCC-Ohio meet Thursday, May 12, and Saturday, May 14, at Big Walnut.

The Cruisers then will shift their focus to the Division I district meet next week at Hilliard Darby.

The boys team will compete in district 1, with running preliminaries on Tuesday, May 17, field events on May 19 and running finals on May 21. The girls team will be in district 2, with field events on Tuesday, May 17, running preliminaries on Wednesday, May 18, and running finals on May 21.

The top four finishers in each district event qualify for regional May 25 and 27 at Pickerington North.