Considering it had been 23 years since the Hartley High School baseball team had won at least a share of the CCL title when it did so in 2016, coach Chris Sawyer hopes his players understand how special it was to accomplish the same feat two years later.
With a 6-5 victory in nine innings May 2 over Watterson, the Hawks ended up sharing the league title with DeSales at 6-2.
After Phillip Cole homered in the first for the Hawks, Watterson scored four times in the third to build a 5-1 lead. Hartley chipped away, tying it in the seventh on a double by Luke Rawlins.
Then in the ninth, Rawlins hit the game-winning home run.
"It was just a high pitch and I drove it back side," he said. "That's what I'm known for, hitting gaps. (Being) co-CCL champs and beating Watterson is always a good feeling."
Hartley was 15-7 overall after losing to Granville 4-1 on May 5.
On Thursday, May 10, the sixth-seeded Hawks open the Division II district tournament at home against seventh-seeded Buckeye Valley, with the winner to play fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder, 13th-seeded Bexley or 16th-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 15, at a site to be announced. The winner plays in a district final May 17 at a site to be announced.
Hartley went into extra innings again May 3, losing 6-5 to Pickerington North in eight innings.
"I think this is the first (senior) class to ever win two CCL championships (over a four-year span)," Sawyer said. "Two years ago when they won it, it was the first time since 1993 that we'd won the league. The teamwork and camaraderie is second to none.
"I've got to give props to this entire league. From top to bottom, it's a battle. We had to get two CCL wins in a row to be champs. With these kids, there's no quit in them. I couldn't be more proud of them."
Tennis players set for sectional
The boys tennis team will compete in a Division II sectional Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Columbus Academy.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament May 17 at Academy and May 19 at Upper Arlington.
Senior Collin Bender is the third seed in singles and opens against Grandview's Calvin Horning or Africentric's Jasean Standfor. Senior Max Sauer opens against Eastmoor's Maxwell Hollins, and senior Peyton Eads plays Ready's Connor Nagy in the first round.
In doubles, the teams of seniors Ryan Ruth and Mac Weiging and seniors Evan Armstrong and Sulimaan Priest both have first-round byes.
Hartley lost 3-2 to DeSales on May 3 to drop to 4-4 overall and finish 1-3 in the CCL. Bender (first singles) and Sauer (second singles) won their matches, while Eads lost 6-1, 6-7, 6-1 to Sam Secrest at third singles.
Softball team opens tournament play
On May 8, the 10th-seeded softball team opened the Division II district tournament at home against 21st-seeded Independence.
The winner plays Thursday, May 10, at fifth-seeded Big Walnut in the second round, with the winner to face fourth-seeded Sparta Highland or seventh-seeded Caledonia River Valley in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 15, at a site to be announced. The district final is May 18 or 19 at Pickerington Central.
The Hawks were 5-11 overall heading into the tournament.
Hartley lost to Ready 10-0 on April 30, Watterson 13-9 on May 1 and DeSales 6-1 on May 2 to finish 1-5 in the CCL. Ready went 5-1 to win the title, also ahead of Watterson (4-2) and DeSales (2-4).
During a 9-3 loss to Olentangy Orange on May 4, Kami Kortokrax and Abby Thompson each hit home runs.
Girls lacrosse team hits hot stretch
After losing five of its first six games, the girls lacrosse team had an opportunity to close the regular season with a winning record.
The Hawks won their next five before playing Delaware on May 7, including beating Westerville Central 19-7 on May 4 to stand at 6-5 overall, 3-3 in the Central Independent League and 1-1 in the CCL. They close the regular season Thursday, May 10, at Columbus School for Girls.
On May 17, the sixth-seeded Hawks play host to 11th-seeded Dayton Carroll in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament.
During a 19-12 victory over Watterson on May 3, Sydney Onega had seven goals and Killian Sweeney and Hannah McFeeters each scored five.
Track teams battle for CCL titles
The boys and girls track and field teams are competing in the CCL meet, which began May 8 and concludes Thursday, May 10, at home.
Both teams also are preparing for the Division II postseason, with the boys in district 1 and the girls in district 2. The district 1 and 2 meets are Tuesday, May 15, Wednesday, May 16, and May 19 at Westerville South.