Drew Donaldson can seem unassuming on the diamond.
At 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, the senior shortstop and pitcher for the Hilliard Bradley High School baseball team may not have an eye-catching physique, but his hard-nosed play and skills have helped set him apart.
"Drew definitely has a quiet confidence," said coach Nathan Hillery, whose team was 8-7 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Worthington Kilbourne on April 17. "He's a hard worker and he's very diligent. He's thinks things through. A lot of what he does is from playing the game so hard. We have a lot of guys who play the game hard, but we are really young and some of the guys don't know exactly what that means.
"Some guys don't realize that they have another gear. When Drew hits a routine fly to center field, he's sprinting toward second base just in case something happens. Everything he does is with reckless abandon and going full bore."
Through 14 games, Donaldson was batting .357 with a team-high 14 runs scored, eight RBI, three doubles and a .472 on-base percentage. He had drawn 10 walks and had struck out only three times.
On the mound, he was 1-2 with a 2.21 ERA, seven strikeouts and three walks in 12 2/3 innings.
"I try to set an example for work ethic, and I like to be a silent leader," Donaldson said. "Every day I come out, I'm hungrier than the day before."
Donaldson led off for the Jaguars the last two seasons until they took a three-game losing streak into their OCC-Cardinal opener against Thomas Worthington on April 8. Against the Cardinals, Hillery dropped Donaldson down to the third spot in the batting order, and the decision quickly paid off.
Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Luke Wolfgram-Evans had a one-out double and Justice Ross came in to pinch-run and stole third. After Dillion Ysseldyke walked and stole second, Donaldson singled to left field to score both runners as the Jaguars rallied for a 5-4 victory.
"When the game is on the line, you want Drew up there," Hillery said. "He hit leadoff all season last year and started there this year. We went through a three-game blunder there where we struggled and we moved him into more of an RBI spot and he came up big.
"He's a competitor. He just swings (the bat). Even his outs are hard outs. Drew finds the barrel (of the bat) frequently."
Donaldson said he takes a simplistic approach at the plate.
"When I was walking up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh (against Thomas), I just wanted to put the ball in play and get Justice in from third," he said. "When I step in the batter's box, it's just see ball, hit ball. I just try to do what my team needs me to do."
Donaldson has committed to play at Lake Erie College in Painesville.
"I think I'm an all-around player, but I have good hands in the infield," he said. "(The Lake Erie coaches) told me that if I come in and work my butt off, I could play at short or second."
Hillery said Donaldson has the necessary skills to excel at the next level.
"Drew has the mindset that can allow a guy who's 5-8, 150 pounds to go play at a Division II school, and he'll have a shot to play immediately because of his baseball IQ and how he plays the game," Hillery said. "His plate discipline is as good as anyone I have ever coached. He's a tough out and he walks more than he has stuck out. He'll make the pitcher work to get you out and he'll find a way to get the barrel on the ball."
Bryant, Hilling leading softball team
Jaiden Bryant and Makenzie Hilling were leading the softball team at the plate through 12 games.
Hilling led the Jaguars in batting average (.385) and RBI (14) and had scored 10 runs, while Bryant had team-highs in home runs (3) and stolen bases (6) and was batting .317 with 13 RBI and 14 runs.
Other offensive standouts included Annika Murray (.333, 6 RBI, 14 runs, 5 stolen bases) and McKenzi Shultz-Apps (.333, 9 RBI, 11 runs, 6 doubles).
Bradley was 7-6 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Thomas on April 17.
Boys lacrosse team struggling for wins
The boys lacrosse team was 1-8 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on April 16.
In league action, the Jaguars lost to Kilbourne 20-5 on April 11, Dublin Scioto 13-5 on April 4 and Thomas 9-3 on April 9.
Against Kilbourne, Matt Humphreys scored three goals and goalkeepers Ryan Enciso and Liam Kennedy both had five saves.