There are varying opinions within the Westerville South High School softball team about whether the Wildcats need more practice, or if it's OK to go through a trial by fire.

There are varying opinions within the Westerville South High School softball team about whether the Wildcats need more practice, or if it's OK to go through a trial by fire.

The week after returning from a spring-break trip to South Carolina, bad weather pushed several OCC-Cardinal Division games back, and outdoor practice time has been a rarity -- which is just fine by the players.

"Just go out and play," outfielder Erica Aiello said. "We're on a roll right now. The momentum keeps on growing as we win more games, so I think it will keep going."

"That's experience, and that's what we're going to be facing in postseason play," pitcher Rachel Ross said. "And we just all stay positive and pick each other up so we can learn. If we make a mistake, oh well, we'll come back with our bats.

"It is difficult, but it keeps us focused. We know we have to play a game, instead of going to practice and just being relaxed. After we win, we're usually real pumped and ready for our next game. For a momentum-builder, playing a lot of games is good."

The Wildcats, who opened 4-0 in the OCC-Cardinal, originally had four of its 14 league games being played before the South Carolina trip, followed by OCC-Cardinal games each weekday the first week back. The remaining five league games were spaced out in the final two weeks of the regular season.

But three consecutive postponements from April 20-22 meant South had OCC-Cardinal games on 10 consecutive weekdays through May 6. It doesn't help that there are 14 league games this year, compared to 10 last year.

"We're jammed up," coach Jerry Kelbley said. "The bad weather hurts inexperienced teams, not just us. That's just the way it is. I'm not complaining about it.

"We're all playing every night. We're all playing under the same conditions, so that doesn't bother me."

Kelbley knew his team was going to have the majority of its OCC-Cardinal games after the spring trip anyway, and he said that trip was beneficial in the Wildcats' progress.

"We knew we had to get a lot of work in down there, and they did," he said. "They worked very hard. I was real pleased with our trip."

For a team with seven new starters, practice time might be of utmost importance. But South started that 10-game league swing with a 2-1 win in nine innings over Marysville on April 23 and a 1-0 victory over Dublin Scioto the next day. The Wildcats had lost their first three one-run games of the season.

Aiello ended the Marysville win with her speed, forcing an error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to enable the winning run to score.

"Everyone has stepped it up and put in their best effort and everyone's playing really well right now," Ross said.

"They're getting very good experience with that," Kelbley said of the close games. "They're learning how to handle that. I'm pleased with that.

"We've got a real fighting team here. They've got a lot of spark to them. They just don't quit."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the South softball team:

*April 23 -- Defeated Marysville 2-1 in nine innings

*Last Friday -- Def. Dublin Scioto 1-0

*Last Monday -- Def. Dublin Jerome 4-2

*Last Tuesday -- Played Olentangy

*Last Wednesday -- Played Marysville

*Today -- At Westerville Central

*Friday -- Home vs. Westerville North

Saturday -- At Worthington Kilbourne vs. Kilbourne and Mount Vernon

*Monday -- Home vs. Olentangy

*Tuesday -- At Scioto

*Wednesday -- At Olentangy Liberty

Of note: The Wildcats were 6-5 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Cardinal game