The Westerville Central High School baseball team is enjoying "a dream season."

The Westerville Central High School baseball team is enjoying "a dream season."

Led by its seniors and several talented underclassmen, the fourth-seeded Warhawks won the program's first district title with a 12-7 win over Reynoldsburg in a Division I district final on May 21 at Olentangy.

Central had never advanced past the second round of the district tournament. The school opened in 2003.

"It's been a dream season, a magical season where weird, funny things have happened," coach Jeff Keifer said. "We knew we had the ability to do it. There were a lot of good teams in our way. I'm so proud of the seniors specifically, but I'm proud of all these guys because they've worked extraordinarily hard to get to this point."

Central plays Gahanna in a regional semifinal at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Dublin Coffman.

The winner plays Grove City or West Chester Lakota West in a regional final at 5 p.m. Friday, May 27, at Coffman.

The regional champion advances to a state semifinal June 2 at Huntington Park. The state title game is June 4 at Huntington Park.

Gahanna advanced to its third regional semifinal in four seasons with a 5-1 win over Coffman on May 21.

Gahanna and Central played in the second round of the district tournament last season, with the Lions winning 8-3.

The Warhawks are 23-7 overall and Gahanna is 24-6.

"Gahanna is a great team," Keifer said. "They've had a great year; they have a great tradition. When our guys are rested and focused, I like our chances."

Central proved it could win a low-scoring contest and also a slugfest in its past two games.

Against Reynoldsburg, the Warhawks took a 10-1 lead in the fifth inning.

Senior Kyle Pollock led Central with two doubles, two singles and three RBI. Danny Lawrence had two hits and three RBI, and Jake Simmerman hit a three-run home run to center field in a five-run fifth inning.

Chris Gygi was the winning pitcher and got relief help from John Whitaker. Gygi went 4 1/3 innings, allowing five hits. He struck out four and walked four.

Whitaker pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits. He struck out six and walked four.

In a 4-2, nine-inning victory over Pickerington Central in a district semifinal May 20 at Delaware, Pollock won the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

"It was a very timely hit, very lucky," Pollock said. "It wasn't just one person, though. Pitching kept us in the whole game."

Simmerman opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first.

Junior Connor Sitz pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run on three hits. He struck out 11 and walked one.

"I love this team," Sitz said. "All the guys together, this is a real special senior class. We have something special going, so we want to make sure that we don't end the year, and if we do, we want to make sure we end it on a good note. And we're definitely on that road right now."

South coach Tim Bates points to a dedicated senior class for keeping his team upbeat during a 6-15 season.

Bates said that because of the bad weather this spring, the Wildcats never were able to get into a rhythm. South lost six of its first seven games.

"I was disappointed for the seniors with how the season went, not only with our win-loss record, but because the type of season that they got to play their senior year with the weather," Bates said.

South lost to Dresden Tri-Valley 9-8 in 10 innings in the first round of the district tournament May 10. The game began May 9 at Tri-Valley and was tied at 8 after nine innings when it was suspended because of darkness.

The Wildcats finished eighth in the OCC-Cardinal Division at 3-11, behind Olentangy (12-2), Central (10-4), Marysville (7-6), Dublin Scioto (7-7), Dublin Jerome (6-8) North (5-8) and Olentangy Liberty (5-9).

The Wildcats' OCC-Cardinal wins came against Jerome (6-1 on April 15), Marysville (7-6 on April 18) and North (12-11 in eight innings on April 30).

Josh Llaneza had a 20-game hitting streak and batted a team-high .448, followed by Ben Williams (.377), Joe Stiltner (.367) and Matt Stiltner (.318).

Joe Stiltner led the team in home runs with five and had 18 RBI. Llaneza had a team-high 20 RBI.

Llaneza was first-team all-OCC-Cardinal and honorable mention all-district. Williams was second-team, Joe Stiltner was special mention and Matt Stiltner was honorable mention all-league.

Bates said junior Pat Triacheff and sophomore Jake Robinson emerged as the top two pitchers on the team.

Bates also expects contributions next season from juniors Forrest Dill (OF/3B) and Jayson Perkins (OF) and freshman Tim Bates (P/SS), the coach's son.