Mason Robinson is trying to get her Olentangy Orange High School softball players to relax and have fun on the diamond.
The first-year coach said the Pioneers still are trying to figure out what the new coaching staff expects of them.
"I think at first they were kind of timid and weren't sure what this coaching staff expected," said Robinson, whose team was 3-7 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division after defeating Westerville South 12-5 on April 15. "I think they are learning what our expectations are. We want them to be loud and have fun. You're only in high school once and four years go by so fast. We want them to really embrace the time they are here."
The Pioneers won two of their first three games, but had lost six consecutive contests before April 15.
"We're trying to build a culture," Robinson said. "We're an inexperienced and young team, but we're learning how to win. We're learning how to be gritty in tough situations and compete seven innings."
Orange lost its league opener to Liberty 6-1 on April 10 and fell to Westerville Central 10-0 in five innings April 11 in its second OCC-Buckeye game.
"We have done a lot of things with mental toughness," Robinson said. "I was a pitcher and I try to stress to my pitchers that when something bad happens on the field, you need the next batter to be a strikeout. I want them to focus on hitting spots and focus on getting that girl themselves. As a team we cannot put our heads down, we have to stay gritty and go to the next play.
"I think most of the time we get timid and let things spiral. One of the things we have been working on is when one bad thing happens, how do we respond?"
Through nine games, Brenna Oliver led the Pioneers with a .391 batting average, followed by Alli Rubal (.352), Riley Jestadt (.344), Teresa Hawk (.310), Morgan Woycitzky (.291) and Kinleigh Hill (.285).
"One thing that we like about our lineup is that we're really flexible," Robinson said. "I don't think there is one game where we had the same starting lineup. We have a deep lineup and we haven't put all of the pieces together. We have a lot of kids who can hit balls hard and put them in play. We just have to string those together."
Boys lacrosse team looks to break skid
The boys lacrosse team lost four games in a rugged stretch and was 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Liberty on April 17.
The Pioneers lost to Olmsted Falls 6-4 on April 6 before dropping league contests to New Albany 13-5 on April 9 and Olentangy 12-6 on April 11. They also lost to Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 8-7 in overtime April 13.
Tanner Hegarty had six goals and one assist in the four games, and Bo Roby and Braeden Vance both had three goals. Mitchell Gifford and John Stearns each had two goals and two assists.
Girls lacrosse team seeks first victory
The girls lacrosse team was 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye after losing to Liberty 17-5 on April 15.
The Pioneers lost their league opener to Central 12-11 on April 4 as Jenna Durst and Maddie Girard both scored three goals.
They also lost to New Albany 22-1 on April 9 and Olentangy 20-4 on April 11 in league contests. Girard scored twice against the Braves, and Grace McAninch had 18 saves.