Although the Whetstone High School baseball team was pushed a bit harder this season, needing to win a City League-North Division playoff to advance to the City final, it won its sixth consecutive City championship.
Seth Bragg tossed a no-hitter as the Braves beat host Briggs 2-0 in the City final May 22.
“The kids were really, really excited and for Seth to throw a no-hitter in the championship (game) is amazing,” said coach Tim Broskie, whose team finished 20-9 overall. “We didn’t make an error and (Briggs) didn’t make an error. The guys really came through and did what we had to do to extend our championship streak.”
Whetstone scored both runs in the top of the first inning. Michael Ray led the game off with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Evan Cossin drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning.
“We changed our batting order and Michael was 2-for-2 and reached base all five times,” Broskie said. “Unfortunately, we had the bases loaded with one out and never got another run. We left way too many guys on base. We had five hits, eight walks and three (batters hit by pitch). But we had some baserunning blunders and lacked timely hitting to open things up. Fortunately, Seth kept them at bay and was just terrific.”
Bragg, who struck out 10 batters and walked four, faced his only real threat in the fifth when he allowed a walk and hit a batter with two outs.
The Braves finished 10-2 in the City-North to share first place with Centennial, but beat the Stars 5-4 in eight innings in a playoff May 17 to advance to the City final. The winning run in that contest was scored on a balk.
“We had a 20-win season, won the (City-)North and the City championship and also won a Division I (district) tournament game against a non-City League team,” Broskie said. “It was another great year.”
Whetstone was seeded 26th of 46 teams in the district tournament and defeated 36th-seeded Marion Harding 3-2 in nine innings in the first round May 8 before losing at second-seeded Hilliard Darby 16-0 in the second round May 10. Darby went on to win a district title.
The Braves are losing four seniors in Connor Flanagan (2B), Justin McDaniel (P/DH/OF), Ray (SS) and Jack Staggs (1B).
McDaniel was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district after batting .417 with 34 runs scored, 29 RBI, eight doubles and two home runs. On the mound, he was 2-0 with a 0.70 ERA in 10 innings.
Staggs (.329, 33 runs, 26 RBI) also was first-team all-league. Ray (.318, 28 runs, 16 RBI) was second-team all-league and Flanagan (.313, 18 runs, 5 doubles) was honorable mention all-league.
Expected to return are juniors Quinn Blosser (LF/RF), Cameron Bragg (CF), Seth Bragg (P), Evan Cossin (C), Dalton Daugherty (RF/LF), Jacob Hostettler (3B) and Davis Kleen (P/OF) and sophomores Jeffrey Golding (P) and Jacob Price (SS/3B/P).
Seth Bragg (4-2, 1 save, 2.30 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings), Hostettler (.421, 24 runs, 19 RBI, 7 doubles) and Cossin (15 runs, 17 RBI) were first-team all-league.
Daugherty (.380, 19 runs, 19 RBI) and Kleen (4-2, 2.27 ERA, 32 strikeouts in 37 innings) were second-team all-league, and Price (3-1, 2.37 ERA in 20 2/3 innings) was honorable mention all-league.
“We have 16 pitching wins coming back, but we’ll need to get better hitting next year,” Broskie said. “We’re losing four starters, but Centennial and Briggs are losing only three starters and Northland is only losing two, so it will be a grind to reach our goals again next year.”
in regional meet
Junior Jamie Bossenbroek of the girls track and field team couldn’t get past the final hurdle to qualify for the Division I state meet.
In the regional meet May 24 at Pickerington North, Bossenbroek finished 10th in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.4 seconds and 11th in the 100 hurdles in 16.38.
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.
“This is the third year in a row Jamie has been in the 300 hurdles at regional and it was her first time in the 100 hurdles at regional, so she had a very good season,” girls coach Chris Lisi said. “She ran (personal records) in both events this year, so she is still improving and she was pleased with her improvements in the past several weeks.”
Bossenbroek was the lone regional qualifier for the girls team. She reached regional by placing fourth in both the 100 hurdles (16.22) and 300 hurdles (45.92) in the district 2 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each district event qualified for regional.
The Braves totaled 12 points at district to place 13th of 17 teams, behind champion Gahanna (158.5).
Junior Sofia McLemore was eighth in the 400 (1:00.25) and joined junior Arielle Swinehart, Bossenbroek and sophomore Mayianna Lacy on the eighth-place 1,600 relay (4:19.33).
In the City meet that concluded May 10 at Africentric, Bossenbroek won the 300 hurdles (45.29) and was second in the 100 hurdles (15.98) and junior Bryn Van Dommelen won the 3,200 (13:52.51), as the Braves finished third (67.5) behind Northland (149) and Centennial (90.5) and ahead of Eastmoor Academy (56), East (45), Africentric and Beechcroft (44), Walnut Ridge (42), Independence (26), South (25), Linden-McKinley (16), Briggs (7), Mifflin (6) and Marion-Franklin (5).
The 1,600 relay (4:15.64) and the 3,200 relay of senior Callie Umbarger, Lacy, freshman Adrien Delapp and Van Dommelen (11:19.5) both placed second, and Lacy was third in the 800 (2:26.45).
Umbarger and Giorgia Bresciani were the only seniors on the roster. Other expected returnees include juniors Amelia May, Rebeka Spulgis and Sabrina Vedovato.
“We knew what we were getting from Jamie and Sophia entering the year, but we had several others step up and that has us excited for next year,” Lisi said. “Brynn and Mariyanna really stepped up and Arielle and Sabrina helped fill in gaps for our (400 and 1,600 relays), which were very competitive.
“Adrien came out of nowhere and worked herself into one of our two top milers. She wasn’t running like a freshman at the end of the year.”
The boys team did not have any regional qualifiers and scored 12 points at district to place 13th of 15 teams, behind champion Gahanna (151).
The 3,200 relay of senior Adreon Barrett, sophomore Emil Adams and juniors Sam Khoury and Francisco Soto was fifth (8:27.48), while the 400 relay of junior Ibrahim Sesay, senior Bryan Battle, Barrett and freshman Hassan Sesay (45.21) and the 1,600 relay of Adams, Barrett, Ibrahim Sesay and Soto (3:29.73) both placed sixth and Khoury was seventh in the 3,200 (10:12.76).
Sophomore Ephrayim Robinson qualified for the final in the 400, but did not compete in the final May 20 after spraining an ankle during gym class two days earlier.
In the league meet, the Braves finished fourth (64.5) behind Eastmoor (125), Walnut Ridge (115) and Northland (96.5) and ahead of Centennial (54), South (41), Marion-Franklin (33), Mifflin (27), East (24), Linden (19), Beechcroft (12), Briggs (9), Independence (2) and West (1).
Placing second were sophomore Andrew Pierce in the 400 (51.14), Khoury in the 3,200 (10:02.74), Ibrahim Sesay in the long jump (21 feet), the 1,600 relay of Barrett, Robinson, Pierce and Sesay (3:24.67) and the 3,200 relay of Barrett, Emil Adams, Khoury and Soto (8:15.62). Barrett was third in the 800 (2:00.9).
“I’m very happy with the progress we made this year,” boys coach Joe Monda said. “We did not meet all of our goals of getting to regional, but it was not because we did not perform well.”
The Braves are losing four seniors in Barrett, Battle, Will Buckland and Pak McCollum.
Other expected returnees include junior Will Gibson and sophomores Michael Bossenbroek.
“Adreon will be hard to replace because he was in so many different relays, was a captain and the guys really looked up to him,” Monda said. “Pak will be missed as a team leader.
“But we have back Andrew Pierce, Ephrayim Robinson and Ibrahim Sesay in the sprints, Sam Khoury in distance, Francisco Soto and Emil Adams in mid-distance, Ibrahim Sesay in jumps and Will Gibson in throws.”