The Centennial High School baseball team's top goals for the regular season are to win a third consecutive City League North-Division title and a third consecutive City League championship.

The Centennial High School baseball team's top goals for the regular season are to win a third consecutive City League North-Division title and a third consecutive City League championship.

To have a chance to do that, coach Scott Kirby said the Stars must win a key league game on Friday, April 27, at Whetstone. Centennial trailed the Braves by one game entering play April 23.

"Whetstone is the team to beat in the North Division right now, and if we lose this game, we might as well start getting ready for the (Division II) district tournament because I don't see them losing to anyone else in our league," he said. "We'll definitely need to play better than we did the last time we played Whetstone, that's for sure."

Centennial lost 14-2 in five innings to Whetstone on April 2. The Stars had four errors that led to nine unearned runs.

Since the Stars lack a true ace on their pitching staff, Kirby said his defense needs to be more consistent than it was through 13 games, in which Centennial made 37 errors.

Through 13 games, first baseman Christian Cumberlander was the team's most consistent defensive player with 41 putouts, six assists and three errors. With a 2-1 record, Bobby Levine was the Stars' only pitcher with more than one win.

"We don't have that shutdown pitcher that we've had in the past, so we need to do a better job of fielding the ball behind all of our pitchers," Kirby said. "Errors have been our biggest problem this year, and we gave up way too many unearned runs against Whetstone in our last meeting. I just hope that we've improved enough to close the gap so that we'll have a chance to beat them in the rematch."

Kirby expects Whetstone to start Zak Davidson or Ross Homan on the mound. Davidson pitched a five-hitter in the teams' first meeting this season, and Homan earned a victory against the Stars last year.

The Stars hit the ball well during a three-game winning streak against league opponents last week, rallying from a three-run deficit to beat Northland 9-3 on April 16, defeating Brookhaven 7-0 on April 18 and beating Linden-McKinley 13-0 in five innings on April 20.

Leading the Stars in hitting through 13 games were Dan O'Keefe (.563, 2 home runs) and Brandon Upchurch (.417).

"We've hit the ball real well against the teams we should beat, but we've struggled against our higher-caliber opponents and that needs to change," Kirby said. "We had only five hits against Whetstone compared to their 11 hits, and we'll need to do better than that to beat them.

"I'm most proud of the way we came back to beat Northland after we fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning. Bobby Levine did a good job of shutting them down after we gave up those three early runs."

Boys tennis team set for key match with West

After getting upset by Beechcroft 3-2 in a City League match on April 16, the boys tennis team rebounded to beat Whetstone 3-2 two days later in a key league match.

The Stars also defeated Briggs 5-0 on April 20 to improve to 5-1 in the City League and maintain their hopes of defending their City League title.
Against Whetstone, Teddy Jones won the decisive match at third singles, beating Tyler Weissant 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

"Whetstone's our big rival and we really needed to beat them after we lost to Beech-croft," coach Barb Stevenson said. "It was fun because it was an even match that our guys found a way to win."

The Stars play host to Columbus West in a key league match on Wednesday, May 2.

Through seven matches, Sam Zaris was 7-0 at first singles and Rafael DeCarvalho was 7-0 at second singles.

"That's a big match for us, because I feel like we need to beat West to win our league," Stevenson said. "If we lose that match, we'll probably be out of it, so we'll need to play well on all five courts and hope that we're good enough on that day to win at least three of them."