If Nick Moser of the Big Walnut High School baseball team gets on base against Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district semifinal on Monday, May 16, chances are he will be looking to run.

If Nick Moser of the Big Walnut High School baseball team gets on base against Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district semifinal on Monday, May 16, chances are he will be looking to run.

The senior center fielder broke the OHSAA record for career stolen bases in a 19-0 win over host Ready on May 7. He enters the contest against third-seeded Liberty at Olentangy with 172 career steals. The previous record was 170, set by Matt Figgie of Gates Mills Gilmour Academy in 1984.

Moser has 47 steals in 27 games this season.

"It was a crazy feeling and a lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders once I got it," Moser said of the record. "Seeing the crowd clap and cheer was the best part. It made me feel like I wasn't alone (on the base paths), and that was a great experience."

Moser had three steals against Ready but didn't have any in the Golden Eagles' next game, a 10-0, six-inning win over 33rd-seeded Licking Heights on May 11 at home in the second round of the district tournament. Big Walnut, which is seeded 15th and had a first-round bye, improved to 18-9 with the victory, which set up the meeting with Liberty.

Coach Chris Holly said he likes the way his team is playing heading into the matchup with the Patriots, who edged 40th-seeded Franklin Heights 6-5 in a second-round game May 11 to improve to 23-3.

"(The players) have a certain confidence about them and they know what they're capable of," said Holly, whose team has yet to play Liberty this season. "We believe that we can beat anybody with the way we've been hitting."

The semifinal winner advances to a district final Wednesday, May 18, at Don Edwards Park in Newark, where it faces ninth-seeded Pickerington Central or 16th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne.

Big Walnut did not play Central in the regular season, but it was swept by Kilbourne in OCC-Capital Division play, losing 7-4 on April 13 and 5-1 on April 15.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 26 at Dublin Coffman.

"Last year, no one expected anything from us when we played Bloom-Carroll and we have the same mentality going into this game," Moser said. "We know we can handle Liberty. We just have to play our game and do what we know we can do."

Seeded ninth in the Division II district tournament last season, Big Walnut upset top-seeded Bloom-Carroll 5-1 in a semifinal and went on to win district and regional titles before falling to Defiance 8-1 in a state semifinal.

Against Licking Heights, Henry von Hollen pitched a one-hitter with four strikeouts. Shortstop Noah Sprowls went 3-for-4 with four RBI, third baseman Jakob Evans was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI and Moser went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Nick Green, Austin Becker and Jacob Young each contributed an RBI.

Softball team falls in first round

For the second year in a row, the softball team fell in the first round of the district tournament.

The seventh-seeded Golden Eagles, who moved to Division II this season after being in Division I the past two years, lost to 15th-seeded Licking Valley 6-3 in eight innings on May 10 at home to finish 13-14 overall.

Big Walnut, which had beaten Licking Valley 7-6 on April 2, led 3-0 before giving up three runs in the top of the seventh inning and three in the eighth. The Golden Eagles had a combined seven errors in those two innings.

Senior Kate Petty pitched seven innings, allowing no earned runs with five strikeouts.

"In many ways, we beat ourselves," said coach Jeff Hatfield, who completed his 10th season leading the program. "We committed too many errors and baserunning mistakes contributed to leaving so many runners on."

Big Walnut had 12 hits and drew two walks, but stranded 11 runners. Petty went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, junior first baseman Kasey Becker and junior third baseman Taryn Hammond each had an RBI and sophomore Stacey Walters was 2-for-3 with a walk.

"Licking Valley came to play, but I honestly thought we were going to come back," Hatfield said. "It was one of the weirdest games I've ever been a part of."

Big Walnut, which improved by six wins over last season, finished 6-8 in the OCC-Capital to tie Olentangy Orange for fifth, behind Delaware (14-0), Mount Vernon and New Albany (both 10-4) and Olentangy (7-7) and ahead of Kilbourne (2-12) and Franklin Heights (1-13).

The Golden Eagles are losing four seniors in Petty, Rachael Brown (OF), Skylar Bullock (1B), and Samantha Hard (OF).

Petty finished 11-10 in the circle with a 3.28 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 141 innings and batted .443 with 24 RBI.

Among the expected returnees are Becker, Hammond, Walters, juniors Jessica Coletta (C) and Katie Neff (OF), sophomores Emma Schwinne (2B) and Meredith Thomas (SS) and freshman Jocelyn Lucas (OF).

Hammond hit .375 with 24 RBI and 23 runs scored, Thomas batted .378 with 16 RBI and 21 runs, Coletta hit .338 with 13 RBI and Neff batted .320 with 13 RBI and 12 runs. Walters went 2-4 in the circle with a 3.97 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 30 innings.

"I'm excited about next year with most of our team coming back," Hatfield said. "The offensive talent we have coming back is very encouraging."

Track teams getting set for district meet

The track and field teams will compete in the Division I district meet this week at Hilliard Darby.

The boys will compete in district 3, with field events Wednesday, May 18, running preliminaries Thursday, May 19, and running finals Saturday, May 21. The girls are in district 1, with running preliminaries Tuesday, May 17, field events May 19 and running finals May 21.

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

Big Walnut played host to the OCC-Capital meet May 12 and 14.

Winning on the first day of the league meet for the boys was Brandon Mosher in the shot put (52 feet, 6 1/4 inches). Winning for the girls were Ellie Jindra in the high jump (5-2) and Anna Vrancken in the discus (109-4).

The Golden Eagles competed in the Delaware County Elite 8 meet May 6 at Orange. The girls scored 86 points to finish third behind Liberty (138) and Orange (114), and the boys finished fifth (61) behind Orange (140), Liberty (123.33), Olentangy (79.33) and Delaware (72.33).

Winning for the girls were Vrancken in the discus (107-4), Kaley Rammelsberg in the high jump (5-2), Sara Althauser in the 300-meter hurdles (46.82 seconds) and the 3,200 relay of Kaitlin Meade, Adelee Gartner, Leksi Murnieks and Becca Bogantz (10:24.6).

Finishing first for the boys were Mosher in the shot put (51-3), Abe Myers in the discus (meet-record 161-3 1/2) and Collin White in the 110 hurdles (15.48).

Girls lacrosse team set to face Wolves

Seeded 28th, the girls lacrosse team will open the Division II South/Central Region tournament Tuesday, May 17, at fifth-seeded Kilbourne.

The winner plays host to 12th-seeded Bexley or 14th-seeded Cincinnati Anderson in the second round Friday, May 20, with that winner likely facing second-seeded Columbus Academy in a regional semifinal May 23.

The Golden Eagles defeated Chillicothe 17-8 on May 10 to improve to 2-10. They played Westerville South on May 12 before closing the regular season May 14 against Westerville Central.

"Despite our record, the kids know we are young and are playing with good spirits," said coach Steve Palmer, whose team posted its first win of the season against Centennial, 12-6 on April 22. "Our defense has been playing well of late."

Against Chillicothe, attacker Sam Grumney scored five goals and midfielder Cheyanne Salazar and attacker Cassidy Becker both scored three.

Boys tennis team competes at sectional

Seven members of the boys tennis team competed in the Division I sectional tournament May 12 and 14 at Reynoldsburg, but none advanced to district.

Jared Deel, D.J. Werner and Lane Davis each competed in singles. Werner won two matches, falling one win shy of a district berth. Deel also won a match.

Competing in doubles were Stephen Pushkin and Nick Schulz and Grant Bartlett and Mitchell Cholley.

Boys lacrosse team prepping for tourney

The boys lacrosse team was 5-7 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central before playing Pickerington Central on May 12.

The Golden Eagles concluded the regular season May 13 against Buckeye Valley and have turned their focus to the postseason. The Division II Central/Northwest Region tournament drawing is Sunday, May 15. Play-in games are scheduled for Tuesday, May 17, and first-round games are set for Thursday, May 19.