The season has started well for the Groveport Madison High School softball team, but coach Chris Downing believes it could be better.

The Cruisers lost to Central Crossing 6-4 on April 8 and were 7-4 before beginning OCC-Capital Division play against Franklin Heights on April 10.

"We've lost two one-run games because we made a combined seven errors in those games," Downing said. "We lost to Lancaster 7-6 in eight innings (on April 4) when we had a couple of errors and the other (one-run game) was in our opener (a 16-15 loss to Dresden Tri-Valley on March 23) when we had five errors. But that was the opener. If we learn from our mistakes, which includes bad base-running at times, we'll be fine."

Offensively through 10 games, Groveport had four players with a batting average higher than .350 and seven players who were hitting at least .333.

Macie Sporleder was batting .519 with six doubles and 14 RBI to lead the way, followed by Lexi Wright (.419), Milan Caldwell (.375), MacKenzie Maddy (.357, 11 runs scored) and Lanie White (.345, 10 runs).

"Macie is absolutely on fire and she's not just hitting for a high average, but she's driving the ball and driving in runs," Downing said. "Opponents are learning that they can't pitch around Lanie now and that should help Lanie from chasing pitches and trying to do too much.

"But the best news is that we're hitting the ball well through the entire lineup. I don't think we have any easy outs. We're putting the ball in play and not striking out much."

Other top hitters included Kendyll Cahill (.346, 9 RBI), Ally Maddy (.333) and Gabby Adams (.300, 13 RBI, 2 home runs).

"Our hitting has to outplay our defensive mistakes, but we definitely need to shore up the defense and not make silly base-running mistakes," Downing said. "Until our defense and pitching catches up, we just have to continue to pound the ball."

Young tennis team has new coach

The boys tennis team returned two players from last season when it finished 1-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Capital in junior Dylan Uptegraft and sophomore Zac Copeland.

The Cruisers underwent a coaching change during the offseason, with Scott Wilson replacing Dylan Merle, who guided the team for just one season.

"Zac is a second-year player who played doubles last year," Wilson said. "He has transitioned to a singles player this year. His strength is his baseline play.

"Dylan is a third-year doubles player. His strength is his serve and he's also strong at the net."

Groveport opened April 4 with a 5-0 loss to Lancaster.

The Cruisers' lineup to start the season consisted of Copeland at first singles, sophomore Hayden Vaughn at second singles, junior Jacob Prystasz at third singles, Uptegraft and freshman Stanley Ubah at first doubles and sophomore Jason Robertson and freshman Jaxon Kelly at second doubles.

"We are a young team of mostly freshman and sophomores," Wilson said. "We only have two players with any previous tennis experience. However, I have seen improvement daily in their serves and ball-striking.

"They have a great desire to improve each and every day. They are great teammates to each other and have positive attitudes."

Mantle tosses shutout in league opener

Junior Trey Mantle tossed a three-hitter as the baseball team beat Franklin Heights 1-0 in its home and OCC-Capital opener April 5.

The Cruisers, who beat host Bexley 13-7 on April 4 and were swept by visiting Hartley in a doubleheader April 6, losing 7-5 and 10-0, were 3-5 overall after a 12-0 win at Franklin Heights on April 8.

Track teams compete in Stingel Invite

Tahzmere Givens and John Motton helped the boys track and field team finish eighth (45 points) in the 16-team Stingel Invitational on April 6 at Pickerington North, behind champion Pickerington Central (111.75).

Givens placed third in the 300-meter hurdles (40.52 seconds) and fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.9) and Motton finished third in the long jump (19 feet, 10 1/2 inches). Illyas Haji was fourth in the 3,200 (10:07.01).

Placing fifth were the 400 relay of Keimare Burnett, Jaylin Chaney, Motton and Naseem Bowers (44.68), the 800 relay of Kahari Davis, Bowers, Tyrell Floyd and Carl Allen (1:32), the 1,600 relay of Davis, Givens, Floyd and Rafael Soler (3:30.48) and the 3,200 relay of Peyton Baker, Haji, Kaleb Wilson and Soler (8:45.34).

The girls team finished ninth (29) of 16 teams, behind champion Olentangy Orange (135).

The 400 relay of Makalia Boston, Chenise Smith, Emily Allen and Emani Anthony placed third (52.06) and the 800 relay of Atanna Gunnell, Madi Young, Allen and Smith was fourth (1:47.35).

Hapsatou Seck finished fifth in the long jump (15-4 3/4), Asya Mosley was sixth in the shot put (32-3) and Isabella Burholt and Kalista Milne tied for sixth in the high jump (4-8).

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:

BASEBALL

*April 11 -- Home vs. Canal Win-chester

April 13 -- At Dublin Scioto

*April 15 -- Home vs. New Albany

*April 17 -- At New Albany

SOFTBALL

*April 11 -- Home vs. Canal Win-chester

April 12 -- At DeSales

*April 15 -- Home vs. New Albany

*April 17 -- At Newark

BOYS TENNIS

*April 11 -- At Canal Winchester

April 12 -- Home vs. Westerville Central

*April 16 -- Home vs. New Albany

April 17 -- At Grove City

TRACK & FIELD

April 13 -- Cruiser Invitational

April 16 -- At Westland

April 17 -- Gahanna Relays

*League contest