The way members of the Upper Arlington High School baseball team see it, you play how you practice.

The way members of the Upper Arlington High School baseball team see it, you play how you practice.

A 2-5 start encouraged the Golden Bears to wipe the slate clean, and they responded with a more focused attitude and a doubleheader sweep of Olentangy Liberty on April 7, winning 7-0 and 7-6.

UA's improved play since an 8-4 loss to New Albany on April 3 seems to stem from a change in practice curriculum. Since that loss, the Bears have turned various practice moments into intra-squad contests.

"After we played New Albany, we started making everything a competition," coach Matt Middleton said. "(On April 7) we looked like a baseball team. Now our guys are starting to figure out some things. We decided for the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes that we'd do these competitions, and we allow them to heckle each other and have some fun with it."

The Bears have 32 players on their junior varsity and varsity teams, making for an even split of two teams by numbers. Competitions such as who can lay down the most bunts are held, with the losers doing five "army runs," during which a player carries one of his teammates on his back, according to Middleton.

"We've kind of turned everything into a competition," senior infielder and pitcher Eddie Miller said. "Since we started off 2-5, everybody has been kind of locked in. A competition we will do is have everybody line up for a bunt and see who can get the most bunts. It's bringing out our competitive edge."

The first three games after the new practice procedure produced the wins over Liberty and a 3-0 victory over Worthington Kilbourne in an OCC-Central Division game on April 9.

The Bears committed a combined three errors during the doubleheader sweep and had one against Kilbourne.

Sam Thompson pitched a five-hit shutout against Liberty and Michael Koltak picked up a win in relief in the other game against the Patriots. Koltak then came back two days later to shut out Kilbourne on five hits and outpitch Wolves' sophomore Jacob Niggemeyer, who verbally committed to Ohio State last fall.

Through 10 games, Koltak was 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA, Thompson was 1-1 with a 2.21 ERA and Miller and Will Marable both had one save.

•HUMMING ALONG - Sophomore Danny Hummer played his first game April 9 against Kilbourne when he started in center field.

He went 1-for-2 with a run and should continue to see action at the position in place of junior Chandler Cole, who is out indefinitely with a separated shoulder. Cole was hitting .273 with five runs and three stolen bases through 10 games.

•SECOND HALF OF LEAGUE - The Bears begin the second half of OCC-Central action Thursday, April 19, against visiting Thomas Worthington.

The Cardinals beat the Bears 4-2 on March 30, as Nick Pauley gave up one run in six innings and Drew Taylor hit a home run. Koltak started for UA and took the loss, giving up three runs in the second inning.

"The other OCC teams are always really tough," Miller said. "My class has played against those teams for four years, and I think we can win the OCC this year."

UA is looking to do better offensively, especially in league play. Through 10 games, its only player with a batting average above .300 was Michael Armstrong (.316).