The adjustment period that the Reynoldsburg High School boys tennis team's eight-member senior class has experienced under first-year coach Brett Stewart seemingly has been seamless.
The program has enjoyed better results than in past seasons as well.
Coming off a season in which the Raiders went 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division, they picked up a 4-1 victory over Grove City on April 11 to improve to 1-1 in the league.
Reynoldsburg also had a more positive experience at its eight-team home doubles tournament, following a last-place finish a season ago by improving to fifth (13) behind champion Watkins Memorial (26) on April 13.
Stewart previously served as the district's junior high boys coach.
"He's a great coach," senior Boban Mihajlov said.
"We've got a lot of seniors and we're pretty experienced, which is good."
The Raiders, who went 7-12 overall last season, were 4-4 overall before facing Hilliard Bradley on April 15, Pickerington Central on April 16 and Hartley on April 17.
Against Grove City, Mihajlov won at first singles, senior Preston Harmon won at second singles and freshman James Knorr won at third singles. Senior Chase Cotner and sophomore Brian McClain teamed to win at first doubles.
Reynoldsburg lost to Gahanna 5-0 on April 9 in its league opener as Mihajlov was forced to retire because of a right knee injury that also kept him out of a 4-1 loss to Watkins Memorial on April 10.
Mihajlov returned April 11 and was 5-2 before competing in the home doubles tournament.
"My confidence and backhand (have improved), and I've been getting my second serve in," he said. "My second serve is pretty good right now."
Stewart has been pleased with the progress of Mihajlov, who has committed to Otterbein, as well as the rest of the team.
Other key contributors have included seniors Mick Garlinger and Gunnar Green.
"(Mihajlov) has been playing really well and had some nice wins," Stewart said. "It's been going well. We had a really big win against Newark (3-2 on April 3). We've had some good matches."
Softball team still trying to find rhythm
The softball team gets its first shot at defending OCC-Ohio champion Lancaster when it plays host to the Golden Gales on Thursday, April 18.
While Lancaster was 2-0 in the league before facing Pickerington North on April 15 and Gahanna on April 17, the Raiders were 0-2 before playing Pickerington Central on April 15 and North on April 17.
Reynoldsburg opened league action with back-to-back 13-3 losses to Gahanna on April 10 and Grove City on April 11.
According to coach Tony Rettke, errors have hurt the Raiders, who were 4-6 overall entering the week.
"For the most part it's just been (catching) fly balls and making the throw," Rettke said. "After (April 6), I thought we had things ironed out. They can do it, but it's a matter of being consistent."
Reynoldsburg earned a pair of victories April 6, beating Hamilton Township 3-0 and Dublin Scioto 4-1, and earned a doubleheader sweep April 13 over Whitehall, winning 10-0 and 18-6.
Olivia Rettke struck out nine and gave up just two hits in the shutout win over Whitehall. Alejandra Zamora had three hits and Zoe Kirk and Rettke both had two RBI.
Nicole Pearce had three hits and six RBI and Rettke added three RBI in the other victory over the Rams.
Alexis Langwasser also has been an offensive standout, according to coach Rettke.
"I thought we'd hit a lot better than what we have been, but it's only been (a few games)," coach Rettke said. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish. The goal is to try and wreak some havoc in the OCC."
Baseball team ends OCC skid
With an 8-3 victory over Grove City on April 10, the baseball team snapped a 28-game OCC-Ohio losing streak.
Michael Tooker pitched 5 1/3 innings, striking out five, and Brock Mason had two RBI to lead the offense.
"We're getting there," coach Bob Benjamin said. "I keep telling them that (offense) is the last thing that will come."
The Raiders were 7-5 overall and 1-3 in the league before facing Pickerington Central on April 15 and 17.
Reece Crabtree picked up the victory in an 11-5 win over Central Crossing in the first game of a doubleheader April 13. Mason went 3-for-3 with one RBI and Ryan Grant, Corey Brafford, Tooker, Evan Perion and Kaleb Holland all had two hits.
In the second game, the Raiders scored three times in the sixth but came up short in a 6-3 loss.
Mason and Bradley Thompson also have been among the team's top pitchers.
"We've been spreading it around a little bit," Benjamin said.