Moments after a season-opening 10-2 home win over Westerville South on March 28, first-year Dublin Scioto High School softball coach Brooke Ott posed with her team for a selfie group photo to help commemorate the moment.
Ott, 26, earned a win in her varsity coaching debut. She served as junior varsity coach, pitching coach and varsity assistant the past three seasons before replacing Larry Howell, who stepped down after seven seasons.
"We have a lot of talent. We just have to figure out how to put it all together," Ott said. "We saw really good things the last two years and we just missed our mark a couple of times, but I really think this is our year to put a stamp on Scioto softball."
Scioto, which beat Olentangy Berlin 15-7 on April 1 and opened OCC-Cardinal Division play April 3 against Delaware, returns nine players, led by junior Lauren Erickson (SS), who hit a three-run double as part of a seven-run fourth inning against South.
Erickson batted .426 with a team-high 28 RBI and 19 runs scored and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last season, when Scioto finished 10-13 overall and 3-9 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"She's great," Erickson said of Ott. "We love her. We're very used to her. We're very happy, especially since this was her first win. That's pretty exciting."
Also back are seniors Emily Dinan (INF) and Haley Gibson (P) and juniors Lucia Adams (OF), Gretchen Baker (OF), Maddy Baughman (OF), Sarah Booth (INF), Makayla Jauregui (OF) and Lauren Perry (INF).
Last season, Baughman hit .411 with 18 runs and was honorable mention all-league, Jauregui batted .367, Booth hit .339 and Dinan was special mention all-league.
Gibson has taken over for 2018 graduate Madison Heasley in the circle. Against South, Gibson allowed three hits and one earned run while striking out three and walking four.
"She's worked really hard," Ott said of Gibson. "I've liked every effort she's put into it. She's been working on new pitches and just getting faster, so she's earned everything she's getting."
Last season, Heasley hit .333 with 14 RBI and 14 runs and was 7-9 in the circle with a 5.60 ERA, 64 strikeouts and 44 walks in 93 2/3 innings. She was second-team all-league.
Others looking to contribute are sophomores Bel Crawford (INF), Lacey Henry (OF) and Alexis Hoover (INF) and freshmen Erin Bush (C), Madi Comstock (INF), Ryleah Masterson (P) and Caroline Piatt (C).
"It's really nice because I also teach (algebra) in the building, so I know a lot of these girls," Ott said. "I have them in class or I see them in the hall. A lot of them were part of my j.v. program the past years, so I know where they lie as ballplayers, so that's been helpful."
Baseball team opens season down south
Third-year baseball coach Ryan Longbrake was pleased with his team's performance during its trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over spring break.
Scioto went 2-2 at The Ripken Experience.
"It's good to be home, but it was a blast," Longbrake said. "The trip was a ton of fun, great team bonding, and I was really happy with how we played. It was obviously better weather than up here."
The Irish, who played Coffman on April 2 and begin OCC-Cardinal play Monday, April 8, at home against Olentangy Berlin, return six starters, including senior Kyron Rogers (SS/P), who hit .407 and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district last season.
The other returning starters are seniors Braytton Krock (OF) and Aidan Lao (SS/C/P) and juniors Nash Densel (P/LF), Marty Neuhardt (CF/P/1B) and Chad Ray (SS/3B/P).
Also back are senior Andrew Whetstone (1B/P) and junior Mauricio Fernandez (3B/1B/P).
Last season, Lao hit .352 with team highs in runs (19) and RBI (16) and was second-team all-league. He and Rogers, both of whom are three-year starters, have committed to play for the University of Findlay.
"They're very versatile, they're two of our best pitchers, they're two of our best defenders, they can play anywhere on the field and they're great hitters," Longbrake said of Lao and Rogers.
Also on the team are juniors Spencer Duhl (P/OF), Noah Jefferson (1B), Cole Nolan (utility/P), Chris Schaefer (C/INF), Nate Samblanet (1B), Tomoki Teramoto (OF) and Daiki Tomita (2B) and sophomores Blaze Boryczewski (INF) and Angel Garcia (C/3B).
"I like our chances," Longbrake said. "We don't have a ton of depth. We only have (17) guys, so injuries have a ripple down effect. But if we stay healthy and we play up to our potential, we have a really good chance. We're not really weak in any area of the game and everyone has a role, which is really important."
Last season, Scioto went 14-12 overall and 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Hilliard Bradley for second behind Hilliard Darby (9-3).
"Jerome is going to be a really tough force this year and those are our last two games of the season," Longbrake said. "They're all going to be highly competitive games. There aren't any slouches throughout the league, so we're going to have to play our best baseball. Jerome looks really good. They have a ton of young talent and a lot of depth."
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
April 4 -- At Marion Elgin
April 6 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
*April 8 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin
*April 10 -- At Berlin
*April 4 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
*April 9 -- At Hilliard Darby
*April 4 -- At Bradley
*April 9 -- Home vs. Darby
April 4 -- At Hilliard Darby
April 5 -- At Westerville South
April 6 -- At Hamilton Township
*April 8 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*April 10 -- At Thomas Worthington
*April 4 -- At Delaware
April 8 -- At Reynoldsburg
*April 9 -- At Darby
TRACK & FIELD
April 6 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North
April 9 -- At Coffman
*April 4 -- At Darby
April 5 -- At Olentangy Liberty with Mount Vernon
*April 8 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*April 9 -- At Thomas