The Licking Heights High School baseball team is losing six seniors who led the program to two league championships and a second-place league finish during the past three seasons, as well as a rare 20-win season this year.

The Licking Heights High School baseball team is losing six seniors who led the program to two league championships and a second-place league finish during the past three seasons, as well as a rare 20-win season this year.

"It was a tremendous run by these seniors," coach Jeff Boyer sad. "For them to do what they have these last three years is remarkable. It's unfortunate that they didn't get a third league championship as seniors and that they didn't reach a district championship. But it's been a tremendous run overall."

The eighth-seeded Hornets lost to second-seeded and host Bexley 7-1 in the second round of the Division II district tournament May 16 to finish 20-5 overall.

Boyer said it was the second time in his 33 years as coach that the Hornets reached 20 wins. It was the third consecutive season Licking Heights lost to Bexley in the district tournament.

The Hornets defeated visiting 24th-seeded Eastmoor Academy 18-0 in five innings in the first round May 14.

Licking Heights had two players set program records for a season. Senior Ronnie Dawson (2B) set marks for home runs (14) and RBI (51) and senior Jake Foley (SS/P) set a record for runs (44).

Dawson, an Ohio State signee, batted .578. He was the Player of the Year in the MSL-Cardinal Division for the second season in a row and also was the Division II district Player of the Year. A four-year starter, Dawson will play in the Mizuno all-state games June 14 and 15 at Ohio State.

Foley batted .543 with 34 RBI from his leadoff position and had a .673 on-base percentage.

"We've only had a handful of .500 hitters in the program, so to have two on the same team the same year is incredible," Boyer said. "In fact, from top to bottom, this was the best-hitting class we've ever had and the best offensive team we've had."

Joining Dawson and Foley as first-team all-league was senior third baseman Andrew Bailey (.439, 4 home runs). Foley and Bailey, both three-year starters, also were honorable mention all-district.

The Hornets tied Fisher Catholic for second (11-3) in the league behind Liberty Union (12-2).

The other seniors were three-year letterwinners Drew Giffin (C/P), Steven Clum (RF) and Tyler Sims (OF). Clum (.391) was second-team all-league and Giffin (3-2 pitching record) was honorable mention all-league.

The expected key returnees are juniors Blake Beaver (3B), Jacob Brandwein (P/1B), Jacob Kayser (DH/P/C), Luke Langkamp (P/1B), Eric Stubhar (utility) and Dakotah Waller (OF).

Kayser (.347, 7 home runs, 35 RBI) and Langkamp (7-0, 1.43 ERA in 34 1/3 innings) were second-team all-league and Brandwein (8-1, 3.50 ERA in 36 innings) was honorable mention all-league.

"We're going to need all those juniors to raise their games even higher next year when we are in the Licking County League," Boyer said. "But we entered this year with a question mark in pitching and we have 15 wins coming back between Brandwein and Langkamp.

"It'll be much more of a challenge because of the depth of the LCL.

You've obviously got Newark Catholic, Heath, Lakewood, Granville, Watkins Memorial and Licking Valley that have great programs. Northridge is good right now and Johnstown has had some great years. There are some good teams in the MSL, but there's also a big discrepancy from top to bottom that we won't have in the LCL."

Track teams begin postseason

The boys and girls track and field teams entered the Division I, district 1 meet after strong showings in the home MSL-Cardinal meet May 14 and 17.

The boys placed second (119) behind Liberty Union (156) and ahead of Grandview (104), Millersport (71), Berne Union (70), Fisher Catholic (66), West Jefferson (36) and Harvest Prep (34).

The girls finished second (138.5) behind Grandview (180) and ahead of Liberty Union (89), Fisher Catholic (64.5), Berne Union (62), Millersport (54), West Jefferson (42) and Harvest Prep (14).

The Hornets competed at district May 21, 23 and 25. The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional Wednesday, May 29, and Friday, May 31, at Pickerington North, where the top four in each event move on to the state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.

In the league meet, Skyler Ortiz won the 100 meters (13.03 seconds), the 200 (27.27), the 100 hurdles (15.74) and the 300 hurdles (48.41). Other individual winners were Cameron Bryant in the 400 (1:00.61) and Alexis Sanidad in the long jump (16 feet, 2 1/4 inches).

Also winning were the 400 relay (51.88) of Mykala Suggs, Sanidad, Adrianna Lewis and Mykayla Scott and the 1,600 relay (4:11.83) of Bryant, Sanidad, PyLynne Myers and Justice Stegall.

The 800 relay of Suggs, Sanidad, Stegall and Myers was second (1:52.5), as was the 3,200 relay (10:33) of Bryant, Stegall, Jessica Brungs and Myers.

A.J. Velasquez won the discus (134-4) and Bryan Justice won the pole vault (14-7) for the boys team. Also winning were the 800 relay (1:31.67) of Mychal Suggs, Kendall Bradley, Matt Gebremedhin and Devon Eubanks and the 1,600 relay (3:32.27) of Gebremedhin, Suggs, Eubanks and Jared Richardson.

Gebremedhin was runner-up in the 400 (50.1) and 800 (2:05.12), and Bradley was second in the 100 (11.40) and 200 (23.44). Also placing second were Curtis Richardson in the long jump (20-2 1/4) and Jared Richardson in the 300 hurdles (43.33).