The Westland High School softball team is looking to build confidence heading into OCC-Central Division play.
The Cougars already had reached half of their win total from last year before playing Franklin Heights on April 5, as they were 2-1. Last season, Westland finished 4-16 overall and 0-10 in the league.
"These games help them get their mentality right and get their minds in the right place," coach Sarah Shellenbarger said. "They have to want to win and we're getting there. It's a whole culture -- one win at a time."
The Cougars open league play Wednesday, April 10, by visiting defending champion Marysville, which went 10-0 last season.
Westland is looking to end a 32-game losing streak in league play, with its last win being a 4-2 victory over Thomas Worthington on April 6, 2016.
The Cougars finished 1-13 in league play in 2016 and 0-10 each of the past two seasons.
Westland opened the season with a 10-2 win over visiting Whitehall on March 29 before losing at Groveport 12-0 in five innings April 1 as three Cruisers pitchers combined on a no-hitter.
The Cougars rebounded by defeating host Centennial 14-8 on April 2.
"Groveport is a great team and I don't think we were ready for the challenge, and that is part my fault, but (against Centennial) they came out and bounced back, which I like to see," Shellenbarger said.
Haley Starkey doubled twice, singled twice and had two RBI to lead Westland against Centennial. Reagan Walters also doubled twice and singled twice as the Cougars collected 23 hits.
"These kids play well together," Shellenbarger said. "They're only going to get better by playing games. I like their camaraderie."
Sophomore pitcher Kayla Miller, who also saw time in the circle last season, was 2-1 before the Cougars faced Franklin Heights.
"Kayla is doing a great job," Shellenbarger said. "She's a student of the game."
Baseball team drops opener to Grandview
The baseball team opened with a 7-5 loss at Grandview on April 2.
Westland then played Briggs on April 4 and opened OCC-Central play April 5 against Marysville.
Against Grandview, Franklin Ramirez had three hits and Brady Gray added two to lead the Cougars.
Coach Brent Shannon said DeShawn Evans and Ramirez turned in strong efforts on the mound.
Westland rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the first inning to take a 5-3 lead in the third. The Bobcats, however, answered with two runs in both the third and sixth innings.
"Our pitching was by far our best area on the field," Shannon said. "They were dominant and effective the whole game. Errors and the three unearned runs in the first inning cost us in the end."
Track teams compete at Newark Invitational
The boys and girls track and field teams opened the season by competing in the Newark Invitational on March 30.
The boys tied Licking Heights for 15th (1 point) of 16 teams behind champion St. Charles (85).
Caleb McManaway finished eighth in the discus (114 feet, 4 inches) to account for the Cougars' point.
For the girls, who did not score, Sofia Rodriguez finished 12th in the long jump (13-2 1/2).
Below are the coming schedules for the Westland baseball, softball and track & field teams:
*April 8 -- Home vs. Marysville
April 9 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*April 10 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
*April 12 -- At Coffman
April 13 -- At Centennial (DH)
April 9 -- At Johnstown
*April 10 -- At Marysville
*April 11 -- Home vs. Coffman
April 13 -- At Marion Harding (DH)
TRACK & FIELD
April 9 -- At Grove City with Ready and Teays Valley
April 12 -- Best of the South-West meet at Franklin Heights