Ryan Callahan pushed himself to prepare for his final season with the Bexley High School baseball team, and now it's time to have some fun.
Not that the drive ever left the senior center fielder; his focus remains. However, Callahan also is enjoying the moment with his teammates as they pursue league and district titles.
"I'm trying to just have fun," Callahan said. "I'm a big team guy and I put the team first. I want to have fun with our 10 seniors and do what I can to help us win any way I can.
"We went to Florida for spring break and we really grew close as a team playing baseball in the warm weather. Coming back, I know that experience will help us as the season goes along and we should have a lot of success because of it."
Callahan, a Wright State signee, has been having success this season, batting a team-high .538 through 12 games. He also led the Lions in RBI (15), doubles (7), triples (2) and stolen bases (11) and was tied with Anthony Welsh for the lead in runs with 15.
On the mound, Callahan was 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 11 strikeouts and four walks in 11 2/3 innings.
"Ryan is just the ideal teammate, and he is our hardest worker and does everything the right way," said coach Andrew Orlins, whose team was 8-6 overall and 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division after losing to Grandview 6-3 on April 15. "He was voted last year by his teammates as the guy who best represented the four covenants of our program: selflessness, energy, excellence and determination.
"Ryan's an energy-giver. He brings energy to everyone. His hitting, defense and his speed are the top three parts of his game."
Callahan, a four-year starter who played catcher as a freshman before moving to the outfield as a sophomore, worked in the weight room in the offseason to put muscle on his 6-foot-3 frame. He has gone from 185 pounds to 200.
"In college they say I would be a left or center fielder," he said. "They talked to me about building strength. They say I have a good frame to put muscle on. I put on 15 pounds of muscle since last summer, and I went from a contact guy to getting more extra-base hits."
The regimen worked, as Callahan has wrestled the program record for career doubles from assistant coach Brett Counts. The 1999 graduate had 27 and Callahan had 29 entering play April 13.
His 10 career triples also tied him for the lead with 1985 graduate John Betz, who now is athletics director at Olentangy Berlin.
"Ryan has an amazing work ethic and has developed himself in the weight room," Orlins said. "He's a big, fast and strong kid that has earned those things. He's worked at his craft and he is blessed with great athleticism."
Callahan also was a three-year starter in basketball, playing in the paint against taller opponents. He said that experience complemented his play on the diamond.
"Definitely, the adversity is a big part of both sports," he said. "Being a small guy playing in the post and going up against guys sometimes who were 6-7, I wouldn't score as much as I would like.
"It's the same in baseball. You can't get a hit every time, so you have to find other ways to help the team. In basketball I could pass to the open man, and in baseball I can always pick things up in the field or be up at the fence cheering on my teammates. Team camaraderie translates in both sports."
Callahan already has an idea of what to expect at the next level because his older brother, 2016 Bexley graduate Eric Callahan, plays at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
"The big thing he tells me is to be prepared to work," Callahan said. "They help us build a good work ethic here at Bexley, but it takes the next step in college. He said that you'll be getting up early and going to bed late and trying to get your homework done as well as doing your workouts. He said to work as hard as I can now so I can be ready for it."
Boys lacrosse team continues to improve
After winning just two games last season, the boys lacrosse team was 5-5 after falling to Buckeye Valley 12-10 on April 15.
The Lions had won three of four contests in April before playing the Barons. They defeated Wellington 10-7 on April 2 and Marysville 11-7 on April 5 before losing to Columbus Academy 20-5 on April 8 and beating Jonathan Alder 10-6 on April 10.
Against Jonathan Alder, Charlie Britt had four goals and Bennett Bartz, Hunter Hilgeman and Alec Russo all scored twice. Tyler Owens-Terwilliger had 10 saves.
Girls lacrosse team seeks second victory
The girls lacrosse team was 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the Central Independent League before playing Columbus School for Girls on April 16.
In the CIL, the Lions lost to Academy 13-6 on April 2, Hartley 16-12 on April 4, Watterson 18-6 on April 9 and Granville 16-11 on April 11.
Makenzie Cory had eight goals in the first four league contests. Emma Dressel had six, and Kate Benedict and Joanna Howson both had five.