The Dublin Coffman High School baseball team tied Hilliard Davidson for first in the OCC-Ohio Division at 7-3 last year despite losing to the Wildcats 7-6 and 5-4 in league games and 4-3 in a non-league play.

The Dublin Coffman High School baseball team tied Hilliard Davidson for first in the OCC-Ohio Division at 7-3 last year despite losing to the Wildcats 7-6 and 5-4 in league games and 4-3 in a non-league play.

The Shamrocks were happy to win their first league title in five years but wished they didn't need the aid of others to catch Davidson.

"Winning the OCC last year was bittersweet because Hilliard Davidson swept us, so we're not sure that we really deserved to share it with them," said senior right-fielder Bryan Vranic, whose team will play at Davidson on Friday in an OCC-Central game. "We want to beat them this year and win our league by ourselves so it feels like we're really champions. They've beaten us a bunch of times, so we look at them as the team to beat. But our games have been close and we know that they're beatable."

The Wildcats extended their winning streak against the Shamrocks to six games with an 8-5 decision in eight innings at Coffman on April 21. Kyle Frazier hit a three-run home run off starting pitcher Tyler Backstrom in the bottom of the third inning. Tommy Zigo, who went 4-for-5 with three runs scored, scored an unearned run in the seventh to tie the score at 5.

But Keenan White relieved Victor Migliore in the eighth and gave up three runs.

Vranic said the Shamrocks, who drew eight walks but had only six hits in 38 plate appearances, need to do a better job of driving in runners in scoring position.

Davidson beat Thomas Worthington 5-4 last Friday to improve to 12-2 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Central.

"We've lost to Hilliard Davidson all these times because we haven't gotten hits in those key situations when we've had runners on second and third with one or two outs," Vranic said. "We timed Backstrom up and we saw him well, but our bats just weren't there. I'm confident we'll be ready this time because our bats are coming alive."

The Shamrocks had a .273 batting average through 14 games, with Austin Cousino (.385, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, 10 runs), Zigo (.357, 6 RBI, 10 runs), Vranic (.351, 8 RBI, 7 runs), Jay Couger (.346, 4 RBI, 4 runs), Migliore (.303, 1 home run, 7 RBI, 4 runs) and Frazier (.290, 1 home run, 5 RBI, 4 runs) leading the way.

"We were batting .230 at one point, and that's why we were losing some low-scoring games," coach Tim Saunders said. "We knew we have good hitters, and our kids have done a good job of looking at different stances and listening to their coaching. The biggest thing is they're starting to hit more hard line-drives instead of trying to hit it out of the park and getting a lot of pop-ups. When you look at professional players they're out there trying to make good contact, and that's how they end up with doubles, triples and home runs. Our kids are making better contact now."

Through 14 games, Coffman had a 2.94 team ERA and a .928 team fielding percentage. Migliore was 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA, one save and 14 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings, White was 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 30 innings, Colton Caldwell was 1-1 with a 5.48 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings and Alex Parker was 1-2 with a 2.85 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 27 innings.

"Our pitching staff has done a wonderful job of carrying us through the first half of the season," Saunders said. "Our defense has been making a lot of good plays, too. We're hitting that stretch where we're playing a lot of our league games in a short amount of time, and we need good pitching and defense right now, so that we can win if we score five or more runs.

"Our kids know we've got to beat Davidson to get into the driver's seat in the OCC race. We were able to sneak in the back door for the championship last year, when Davidson lost its last (two) OCC games, but we've got to assume that they're not going to let that happen again. We want to win our way into first place."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Coffman baseball team:

*April 21 -- Lost to Hilliard Davidson 8-5 in eight innings

*April 22 -- Defeated Central Crossing 5-1. Keenan White pitched a three-hitter.

*April 23 -- Def. Thomas Worthington 6-5. Alex Parker was the winning pitcher. Austin Cousino and Victor Migliore hit solo home runs.

*Last Friday -- Def. Westland 5-3. Colton Caldwell was the winning pitcher and Migliore earned a save.

*Last Monday -- Def. Thomas 10-8

*Last Tuesday -- Played Central Crossing

*Last Wednesday -- Played Hilliard Darby

*Today -- Home vs. UA

*Friday -- At Davidson

*Monday -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne. Coffman beat Kilbourne 7-4 on April 17.

*Wednesday -- At UA

Of note: The Shamrocks were 9-6 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game