Pickerington High School Central's Zach Beaver has been trying to get up to speed baseball-wise after playing for the Division I state champion boys basketball team.

Pickerington High School Central's Zach Beaver has been trying to get up to speed baseball-wise after playing for the Division I state champion boys basketball team.

"It's really different going from a basketball court to a baseball field," he said after playing a starring role in a 4-2 OCC-Ohio Division victory April 11 at Pickerington North as the Tigers earned a split in the season series. "I mean, it's almost ridiculous.

"I tried to get in the (batting) cages when I could, and I threw on the sideline some after (basketball) practices. There have been moments when I still feel out of sync, but I'm getting there."

Beaver pitched six innings in the win over the Panthers, striking out five while allowing six hits.

With Central leading 4-1 and before handing the ball over to Evan Jensen, who pitched a scoreless seventh for the save, Beaver escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam. Mason Olszewski drove in a run grounding out to first, and Beaver struck out Chaz Murray to end the threat.

Beaver then moved to third base and converted two difficult fielding plays, forcing a runner at second on both. He grabbed one ball just inside the bag and went outside the line to snare the other.

"My arm was a little sore from pitching," Beaver said. "I wasn't sure if I could get enough on the throws or not."

The Tigers had gone 0-4 on their spring break trip to Tennessee and dropped six consecutive games overall before beating North.

They were coming off a 17-4 loss in five innings the day before against Lancaster, and the Panthers had won the first game in the series 4-1 on April 9 as pitchers Tyler Pagano and Corey Black limited Central to four hits.

"It was like the Zach Beaver show out there," North coach Tim Thomas said after the second game. "He threw an outstanding game, and he made those plays at third look routine.

"We competed, but we didn't capitalize on our chances leaving (base) runners out there in the fifth, sixth and seventh (innings)."

Feeding off the win, the Tigers then rallied from a 3-0 deficit to post a 4-3 league victory April 13 at Gahanna. They were 6-9 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Ohio after losing to the Lions 8-7 in nine innings on April 16.

"We kind of got in a couple of the seniors' ears and told them, 'Hey, this is your team,'" Central coach Chick Campbell said. "This is the first time I've seen them play with a lot of excitement all year."

One positive that came out of the Tennessee trip was the emergence of sophomore Chris Reyes as the starting shortstop.

"We've played through some adversity with injuries and other things," Campbell said. "(Avery) Walker was supposed to be our No. 3 pitcher and he's been out, (Greg) Basalyga has a disc problem (in his back) and (Nick) Jensen-Clagg is just coming back after some off-field issues.

"Hopefully, we're finally starting to put things together."

Panthers respond with victory over Raiders

North won four of six games in Myrtle Beach, S.C., before coming back to defeat the Tigers in the first game of the series. After dropping the second one, the Panthers beat Reynoldsburg 7-3 on April 13.

The defending OCC-Ohio champions improved to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the league after beating the Raiders 14-6 on April 16.

The highlights in Myrtle Beach included Pagano pitching a no-hitter as the Panthers defeated Brandenburg (Ky.) Meade County 4-0 on April 3.

"We had a great trip over spring break," Thomas said. "We got a lot of baseball in, a lot of reps. It was well worth it. We pitched, we played defense and we got timely hitting. It's not rocket science. It's about doing all the little things it takes to win."