The Groveport Madison High School baseball team recently doubled its win total and is playing with more confidence and enthusiasm, according to coach David Eft.
"We displayed perseverance and pulled out a gut-check win against Newark (2-1 in eight innings April 17) and then beat them two days later (9-1 on April 19) and that has us in a positive mood entering a portion of the schedule where we think we can have more success," Eft said. "After sweeping Newark, we played pretty well against a good Big Walnut team, but eventually errors cost us (in a 4-1 loss April 21)."
The Cruisers then were swept by host Hamilton Township in a doubleheader April 22, losing 6-0 and 9-0, and were 4-10 overall and 4-5 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Big Walnut on April 24.
Against Newark on April 17, sophomore pitcher Logan Mayes allowed five hits and the Cruisers were held without a hit until the seventh inning and finished with three.
In the top of the eighth, Les Fearing singled, stole second base and scored the eventual winning run on Austin Snyder's two-out single.
"Logan kept us in the game...," Eft said. "... I'm proud that we hung with it and managed to pull out the win. We felt pretty good about the rematch at home and we went into it with confidence."
Against the Wildcats on April 19, Groveport pulled away with a five-run sixth inning. The Cruisers had eight hits and took advantage of six Newark errors. Zach Ullom and Luis Pantoja both went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI and freshman pitcher Caden Lowe scattered six hits to earn the win.
Against Big Walnut, pitcher Cameron Rice allowed just five hits, but the Cruisers managed only five hits and made four errors.
"Cameron pitched a real strong game, but all of Big Walnut's runs were unearned," Eft said. "We're competing well, but it would've been nice to continue that against a good Hamilton Township team. We need to jump right back at it because we have some winnable games coming up, but we have to limit our errors and display the character and grit we showed against Newark. If we can do that, we'll be in a good spot."
The softball team was 14-3 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on April 24.
The Cruisers went 5-2 in the Grand Strand Softball Classic in Little River, South Carolina, from April 17-21.
They lost their first game in the event, 5-3 to Deep Run (North Carolina) South Lenoir, and their last game, 3-2 to Jefferson (West Virginia). In between, they beat Seth (West Virginia) Sherman 6-5, Winfield (West Virginia) 4-2, Ocean City (New Jersey) 12-2, North Lima South Range 11-7 and Poca (West Virginia) 6-3.
Through 17 games, Jessie Rock had a team-high .500 batting average (27-for-54), nine doubles and five home runs and Carsyn Saunders was hitting .455 with a team-high three triples. Other top hitters were Jodi Kern (.449, 6 doubles), Lanie White (.433, 8 doubles, 3 home runs), Macie Sporleder (.389) and Sara Gockenbach (.328, 7 doubles, 2 home runs).
In the circle, Gockenbach was 12-3 with a 0.87 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 89 innings.
Track teams compete
at Hamilton Township
Imani Johnson and Kendra Soler won individual titles and competed on winning relays to help lead the girls track and field team to a runner-up finish in the Elmo Kallner Invitational on April 22 at Hamilton Township.
Soler finished first in the 100 meters (13.26 seconds) and Johnson won the 400 (1:03.17) for the Cruisers, who scored 103.5 points in the nine-team meet to place behind Hartley (105).
Also finishing first were the 800 relay of Toni Woods, Reonna Harriston-Mitchell, Soler and Johnson (1:49.7), the 1,600 relay of Madison Young, Victoria Williams, Johnson and Harriston-Mitchell (4:15.77) and the 3,200 relay of Melanie Torres, Young, Williams and Ajenae Glover (10:46.17).
Young placed second in the 400 (1:04.27) and Williams was second in the 800 (3:01.22). Finishing third were Torres in the 800 (3:01.38), Asya Mosley in the discus (89 feet) and the 400 relay of Woods, Soler, Harriston-Mitchell and Makaila Boston (52.94). Katie Young was fourth in the discus (85-6).
The boys team was fourth (98) in the nine-team meet behind champion Canal Winchester (145).
Mark Wilson won both the 100 (11.23) and 200 (22.9) and teamed with Joshua Max-Dixon, Mustafa Ali-Harbi and Corey Newman to win the 400 relay (44.46), while Eric Grant won the long jump (19-2).
Placing second were Kudzovi Nuakey in the 800 (2:08.25), Peyton Baker in the 1,600 (4:53.56) and the 800 relay of Newman, Grant, Ali-Harbi and Wilson (1:33.74). Finishing third were Tahzmere Givens in the 300 hurdles (44.54) and the 3,200 relay of Nuakey, Baker, Mekel Harrison and Rafael Soler (8:55.6).
Max-Dixon was fourth in the 100 (11.66).