Youth has excelled earlier than expected for the Central Crossing High School baseball team.
The Comets feature a starting lineup with as many as five sophomores and two freshmen from a roster that sports only three seniors. Despite the lack of varsity experience, they were 9-10 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Central Division after defeating Westland 16-1 in five innings April 24.
"We knew that we were going to be young," coach Scott Todd said. "We have so many young kids, but they felt comfortable on varsity and have played well for us."
One veteran leading the way has been senior Jordan Pilkington. He has been the Comets' No. 1 pitcher through 18 games, going 3-3 with a 2.51 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 18 walks in 36 1/3 innings.
In a 4-2 league win over Dublin Coffman on April 17, the right-hander gave up two runs while striking out two and walking one.
"We're doing all right despite having a young team," Pilkington said. "They are starting to put things together and they are getting used to playing at the varsity level. They are picking up the speed of play and they are having fun with it."
One of the top younger contributors has been Tyler Ronevich, a 6-foot-5 freshman who was 2-4 with one save and a 4.07 ERA through his first 31 innings. He had 23 strikeouts and 16 walks.
"When some of us younger kids make mistakes, the veteran players help by telling us that it's OK and what we need to do to fix things," said Ronevich, who also was batting .288 with six RBI and six runs scored. "When Jordan isn't pitching, he's helped me a lot on handling certain situations and helping me learn what I need to do to be a better player."
Sophomore catcher J.J. Carr was batting a team-high .389 through 18 games with 14 RBI and six runs scored. On the mound, he was 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA in 14 innings.
Carr struck out two, walked one and gave up three runs in a 13-3 win in five innings over Westland on April 21 in OCC-Central play.
"A lot of us were either playing freshman or middle school ball last year, so it's been a big jump," Carr said. "The three seniors -- Jordan, Ryan (Traversa) and Anthony (Robinson) -- have all been a big help and we look up to all of them. They are amazing guys."
Freshman Matt Reed was hitting .382 with a .462 on-base percentage, three RBI, seven runs and six stolen bases. Sophomore Dylan Davis was batting .311 with seven RBI, 13 runs and a team-high eight stolen bases.
"Matt Reed came up from j.v. and we haven't been able to take him out of the lineup," Todd said. "We have so many freshmen and sophomores who have worked their way into the lineup."
Junior Ben Bohne was batting .296 with 11 RBI and nine runs, and junior Mo Bostard was batting .273 with three RBI and four runs. Traversa was batting .250 with five runs and five stolen bases.
Other sophomore starters have been Nash Baker, Chase Collins and Austin Woods.
Softball team battling
to stay atop league
The softball team was 13-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Central after defeating Upper Arlington 3-0 on April 24.
Entering the week, the Comets, Hilliard Davidson and Marysville were tied atop the league at 4-1 with UA in fourth at 2-3. Central Crossing played Marysville on April 26 and plays at home against Davidson on Thursday, April 27.
On April 17, the Comets defeated Davidson 3-1. They also won league games last week against Coffman (9-0 on April 19) and Westland (11-1 in 5 innings April 20).
Through 14 games, Emily Gant led the Comets in batting average (.535), doubles (6), triples (2), home runs (2) and on-base percentage (.563). She had 14 RBI and had scored 10 runs.
The junior also was the top pitcher, going 11-2 with one save, 179 strikeouts, eight walks and a 0.31 ERA in 90 2/3 innings.
Hannah Scott was batting .381 with 14 RBI, and Kaylee Watson was hitting .333 with six RBI and four runs. Maddie Burkhart was batting .327 with 14 runs, and Andi Rapp was hitting .326 with 13 runs.
Track teams set
records at Darby
Luis Bolanos-Cruz and Julia Swallows set meet records for the boys and girls track and field teams in the John Hammond Relays on April 18 at Hilliard Darby.
Bolanos-Cruz set meet records in the shot put (45 feet, 11 1/2 inches) and discus (134-0) to lead the boys, who finished fourth (58.5 points) of eight teams behind champion Darby (94).
The Comets also won the 800-meter relay (1 minute, 39.92 seconds) with Pierre France, Amare Edwards, Nazar Momot and Elijah Ferguson.
Swallows set meet records in the pole vault (11-0) and long jump (15-10) as the girls finished sixth (29.67) of eight teams behind champion Darby (109).
The 400 relay of Abiola Oseni, Swallows, Cheney Owens and Justina Ker was second in 54.75.