Putting a premium on being prepared has paid off for Cal Haefke this spring.

Although he considers third base and pitcher his primary positions, the senior on the Dublin Coffman High School baseball team also has gotten reacquainted with the catcher position this season.

He wanted to hit for more power during his final prep season as well, so he's spent significant time in the weight room the last several months.

Haefke had five doubles and one triple last season, and he equaled those totals in the first 17 games this season.

"I'm off to a pretty good start," said Haefke, who also was a member of Coffman's football program. "I've worked really hard on my hitting, and one of the biggest things has been getting in the weight room. Last year I was more of a singles hitter, so I'm trying to get more extra-base hits. I lifted through football season. Once football ended, I've worked out almost every day."

The Shamrocks defeated Upper Arlington 3-1 on April 24 to improve to 6-4 in the OCC-Central Division and were 9-9 overall before playing Lakewood on April 25.

Through 17 games, Haefke led Coffman with 11 RBI and had a team-best 17 hits while batting .327. On the mound, he was 2-3 with a 2.71 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 31 innings while throwing as fast as the low 80s.

Despite juggling three positions, he committed just three errors in his first 60 chances for a .950 fielding percentage.

"Marcus Ernst and Cal Haefke have continued to be our bright spots on the mound and at the plate," coach Tim Saunders said. "We feel that when they pitch, we can beat a lot of teams."

Ernst, a junior, was 2-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 28 innings through 17 games.

While Ernst has committed to play for Ohio State as part of its 2018 recruiting class, Haefke is planning to walk on with the Buckeyes.

Haefke has scholarship offers from Findlay and two small schools from the east coast but is choosing to follow his father's footsteps.

Scott Haefke, a Canfield graduate, played for the Buckeyes in the late 1980s. He also has coached youth baseball for the Ohio Elite travel program, which has produced numerous college recruits in recent years.

Cal's sister, Carmen, is a sophomore who competes for Coffman's girls volleyball and girls lacrosse programs.

Cal Haefke, who has a 4.3 GPA and scored 31 on the ACT, wants to be a doctor someday in addition to fulfilling a dream of becoming a Buckeye.

Right now, however, he is focused on helping the Shamrocks hit their stride after a recent stretch in which they lost six of eight games.

"In the fall, (Ohio State will) have tryouts," Haefke said. "I like the big campus, my family went there and it's always been a big dream of mine to go to Ohio State. My dad playing baseball in college definitely had an impact on me. I started at a young age and fell in love with it. It's my favorite sport.

"I feel like our team chemistry is probably our biggest component this year. The last two years we didn't mesh as well. This year we're bonding and connecting on a different level and that's impacting our success."

Softball team looks
to get out of slump

The softball team is hoping to bounce back from a rough midseason stretch.

The Shamrocks lost to Davidson 8-1 on April 24 to fall to 7-11 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Central. They entered their league contest against Westland on April 26 having lost six of their last seven games.

"We need to keep improving our hitting, especially with runners on base," coach Scott Tillman said.

On April 21, Coffman scored three runs in the first inning and cruised to an 8-2 victory over New Albany. Freshman Rylee Anspach hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

The Shamrocks scored five runs in the first inning but lost to Sparta Highland 7-6 on April 22 in the second game of a doubleheader that also included a 6-4 loss to host Olentangy.

According to Tillman, senior Courtney Berry and sophomore Maddi Luke both have had strong seasons at pitcher, while junior Sydney Mathias (1B) and sophomore Caroline Stukey (2B) have led the offense and senior Josie Strong (OF) has been among the team's top clutch hitters and defenders.

"The pitching and defense have been strong," Tillman said. "The hitters have learned how to adjust during the game."

Boys lacrosse team
having strong season

With a 15-8 victory over Solon on April 22, the boys lacrosse team became the first in Ohio to reach 11 victories this season.

The Shamrocks were 11-3 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central before facing Gahanna on April 25. They continue league play Thursday, April 27, at home against Pickerington North and close the league schedule Tuesday, May 2, at UA.

After losing to Davidson 13-12 in its league opener April 6, Coffman beat Pickerington Central (14-2 on April 10), Newark (20-0 on April 13) and Marysville (23-5 on April 18).

In a 17-7 win over Hudson on April 21, Nick Harris had six goals, Luke Holland scored five and goalkeeper Roman Emig made eight saves.

Coffman scored its highest goal total through 14 games this season in a 23-5 win over Marysville on April 18. Cam Bowdy led the Shamrocks with six goals and Ethan Tyack scored five.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek