Don't be surprised if the members of the Pickerington High School North softball team gather in a circle and drop to one knee before a game.

Don't be surprised if the members of the Pickerington High School North softball team gather in a circle and drop to one knee before a game.

At the urging of senior catcher Taylor Knore – or perhaps merely in support of her – the Panthers might just be "Tebowing" for good luck.

"I have to admit I am a big fan of his," Knore said of NFL quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. "He's kind of become my inspiration, and some of my teammates have been having fun with it."

In what has been an up-and-down season for the Panthers, they'll take any good fortune that comes their way no matter the source, although Knore has been caught up in the Tebow phenomenon. North had lost five of six games to slip to 5-8 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Pickerington Central on April 23.

"I did a lot of training in the fall and winter at a place called DI (Sports) Training in (north Columbus near) Worthington," Knore said. "I read where Tim Tebow works out at one, too, and then I found one here, so I was pretty excited about that."

Knore has been preparing to continue her career next year at Wright State University, where she could end up playing any number of positions.

She's only been catching for the Panthers since last spring, and one of the biggest reasons the Wright State coaches recruited her was for her potent bat. She also has played first base, center field and left field during the summer and will play for the 18-and-under Ohio Stingrays this year.

"I've worked a lot on agility and speed training," Knore said. "I think it's really helped me have better balance in the batter's box, and I know I'm definitely feeling confident at the plate right now."

Knore batted .800 (16-for-20) over the first three weeks of the season and still was among central Ohio's leaders at .677 (21-for-31) with 11 RBI through 13 games.

"She's the anchor for our ship," first-year coach Sarah Looker said. "She regroups our defense when we struggle, and offensively she's obviously very, very good. She's a big part of our program, and I know we're all going to miss her when she's gone.

"At Wright State, I think she'll be a major role player, and not just as a softball player but as a student-athlete. She goes into everything whole-heartedly. She's all in 100 percent. That's just the way she thinks."

Knore has not let up this spring even though she signed with Wright State late last fall and has secured her immediate future.

"It definitely was a weight off my shoulders," she said. "But I'm still driven to be the best I can be."

Tigers coach still tinkering with lineup

First-year Central coach Carrie Eneix, who helped lead the Tigers to a pair of Division I state finals more than a decade ago and the state championship in 1997, continues to adjust her batting order in an effort to maximize production.

Recently, she moved freshman shortstop Madi Schott up in the batting order to the No. 2 spot behind Sadie Cunningham. The first result after the change was a 9-2 victory April 16 at Grove City, which is one of Central's top rivals for the OCC-Ohio title. Schott did her part by drawing a walk to help set the table for a two-run double by Hannah Gilkey with the bases loaded as the Tigers scored three first-inning runs and led 5-1 after two.

"I don't know, maybe I'm just never satisfied," Eneix said. "I've been trying different people there, and my thinking with Madi is that she's not just a singles hitter. She can drive it, too. Teams have to be very careful how they pitch to her."

Central was 17-3 overall and in sole possession of first place in the OCC-Ohio at 8-0 before playing North.

Another recent move initiated by senior pitcher Lindsey Inkrott and supported by Eneix was to have someone else bat for Inkott.

That leaves Eneix with two freshmen (Schott and Gilkey), two sophomores (Cunningham and cleanup hitter Allie Luther) and a senior (Hannah Dittoe) occupying the top five spots in the order.

"Lindsey's a big girl who can really swing the bat, so I thought that was pretty selfless of her," Eneix said."She told me, 'This way I can focus on pitching.' I know she looks really relaxed out there, and her fielding is unbelievable. She's probably our MVP right now."

Central plays host to Grove City in the second round of OCC-Ohio play on Wednesday, May 2. The Greyhounds were 11-1 overall before losing to the Tigers and went 6-1 in the first round.

"I think everyone on our team is just now realizing how good we can be," Eneix said. "It's exciting."