The Delaware Hayes High School baseball team is working to shore up its defense.

The Pacers opened OCC-Cardinal Division play last week with a pair of losses to three-time defending league champion Hilliard Darby, committing a combined 12 errors in the two games.

"We can't afford to give great teams like Darby all of the extra outs that we did," said coach Ryan Montgomery, whose team was 2-4 overall before playing Dublin Scioto in a league contest April 12. "We've been hitting the ball pretty well and putting it in play, but we've struggled defensively and didn't make the routine plays we should be making by now.

"We're obviously a very young team, but we need guys to step up and make plays and I feel we've got those guys. We've got guys who can make those plays. They just haven't been doing it consistently yet."

The Pacers lost at Darby 7-2 on April 8 and fell 20-5 in the rematch April 10 at home.

Delaware had three errors in the first game against the Panthers and nine in the second. The Pacers were outhit 11-8 in the first meeting and 12-7 in the second.

"We lost eight players (to graduation) last year and basically have two or three starters back," Montgomery said. "But we're far enough into a short season that we can't use our youth and inexperience as an excuse now. It's time these guys raise their level of play to match their ability."

Montgomery is happy with what he has seen on the mound from senior Zach Price, who had a 0.43 ERA in 21 innings through five games. Senior Ryan Murphy also has pitched well, according to Montgomery.

"Zach had been dominating teams and Ryan has thrown very well, too," Montgomery said. "We feel great when they're out there battling and the guys get behind them. Ryan was strong against Maryville (in a 6-5 win April 4). We were up 6-2 going into the seventh. But there again, we haven't played a clean game defensively yet and we had three errors in that game.

"Offensively, Jacob Molina and Clay Taylor have hit well and Zach, Caleb Richardson and Ethan Hazelton have also been doing a good job at the plate. Nobody has been smoking hot yet and they've kind of taken turns game by game, but I think our hitting has progressed very well and will continue to improve as it gets warmer. But it takes all three phases and until we settle things down defensively, it'll be tough on us. We've got to make the plays."

Boys volleyball team learning, improving

The boys volleyball team has a number of new players as first-year coach Jacob Hackathorn looks to reshape the program.

"It's a young team, but I really like where we're headed as a program," said Hacka-thorn, an assistant the past two seasons under Don Burroughs, who stepped down after three seasons.

"We've got a number of new guys and this may be the most guys we've had in the entire program for quite some time."

Hackathorn, a 2016 Dela-ware graduate, is a student at Ohio State.

"I've always had a passion for the sport and I'm hoping that rubs off on all the young guys and that they continue to work hard and improve like they have already this season," he said.

The Pacers were 1-7 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on April 11. They defeated Reynoldsburg 25-15, 21-25, 25-12, 25-18 on March 25.

Delaware, which finished 1-15 overall and 0-12 in the league last season, has four returnees in juniors Colin Ashworth (setter) and Brennan Tucker (middle hitter) and sophomores Michael Trippier (libero) and James Vasek (setter).

Newcomers in the starting lineup are seniors Chase Cudia (outside hitter) and Terin Kins-way (middle hitter) and junior Nick Smith (middle hitter).

"Terin is (6-foot-5) and Nick is 6-6, so we've added some size and we have decent vertical ability from others," Hackathorn said. "Brennan is 6-2 and James is 5-10 but can get up there, too."

Also on the roster are seniors Juan Canellas (outside hitter), Bryce Dietrich (outside hitter), Mathew Hanks (middle hitter), Nino Santarelli (defensive specialist) and Evan Tarnawsky (defensive specialist), juniors Karl Edwards (outside hitter), Grant Eley (defensive specialist) and Yomar Rivera (defensive specialist), sophomore Adan Spencer (outside hitter) and freshmen Grant Bardon (middle hitter) and Isaac Robinson (defensive specialist).

"Our goals have nothing to do with our record," Hacka-thorn said. "This team's goal is to create the foundation and mindset for the younger guys and set standards for years to come."

Softball team trying to stay focused

After losing to Groveport 14-5 on April 2, softball coach Mark Thomas held a team meeting during which he addressed his team's lack of focus.

"We were right in that game until (Groveport) scored seven (runs) in the sixth, but I wasn't pleased with their focus and I let them know that," Thomas said. "Since then, the girls have done a very nice job with their concentration and we're taking it one game at a time. We've been pretty sharp lately. Maybe the girls needed a wake-up call."

The Pacers were 9-3 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Jerome on April 11.

Delaware rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat Dublin Coffman 8-4 on April 9 and junior Haley Osborne pitched a perfect game in a 10-0, six-inning league win over Worthington Kilbourne on April 10. Osborne allowed no hits or walks and recorded 12 strikeouts while also going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles and an RBI.

Also against the Shamrocks, Lexi Mattix had three hits and scored three runs and Bobbi Adams had a single, a double and two RBI.

Through 12 games, Alex Armstrong was batting .583 with eight doubles, two home runs, 17 runs scored and 22 RBI, Osborne was hitting .571, Adams was batting .462 with two home runs and 21 RBI and Mattix was hitting .422 with 19 runs and 11 RBI.

Other top hitters included Myaih Cloud (.407), Chloe Barton (.386, 3 home runs, 21 runs), Kami Slayton (.317, 12 RBI) and Laiha Slayton (4 home runs), as the Pacers were hitting .413 as a team and had outscored their opponents 120-55.

In the circle, Osborne was 8-3 with a 3.60 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:

BASEBALL

*April 15 -- At Dublin Scioto

*April 17 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington

April 20 -- At Central Crossing (DH)

BOYS LACROSSE

*April 15 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

April 17 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman

GIRLS LACROSSE

*April 16 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

April 18 -- Home vs. Westerville North

SOFTBALL

April 16 -- Home vs. New Albany

*April 17 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby. The Pacers beat the Panthers 13-6 on April 1.

*April 18 -- At Dublin Scioto. The Pacers beat the Irish 13-3 on April 3.

April 20 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder (DH)

BOYS TENNIS

*April 16 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

April 17 -- At Pickerington Central

*April 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

TRACK & FIELD

April 15 -- Home vs. Marysville and New Albany

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

*April 16 -- At Olentangy Berlin

*April 18 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby. The Pacers lost to the Panthers 25-13, 25-8, 25-13 on March 27.

*League contest