In her first season as Whitehall-Yearling High School softball coach, Kirsten Turner has attempted to relay her memories from her career on the diamond to her players.
Turner, a 2012 graduate of Whitehall who played for the Rams, said she has seen improvement this season. The Rams were 3-12 overall and 2-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Bexley on April 24. They lost to Worthington Christian 15-5 in six innings April 22.
"I'm very active with them," Turner said. "I practice with them a lot of days. I'm physically out there with them. I'm not just a standby coach, which I love. When we pulled up to Bexley (on April 3), I told them we used to beat them all the time back in the day. I bring it up all the time."
Junior first baseman Kamdon Pauley said Turner's enthusiasm is a key to the progress.
"I like the job she's doing," Pauley said. "She's really had us come together as a whole and she relates to us because she's not much older than us. She talks about how she played at Whitehall. She talks about how much she enjoyed playing for Whitehall and how she enjoys coming back and coaching for the softball team."
The Rams earned their first win under Turner with a 7-5 league victory over Grandview on April 8.
Whitehall's second league win came against Bexley 13-11 on April 15, avenging a 10-9 loss to the Lions on April 3.
The Rams led 9-2 after two innings in the rematch before holding on for the victory. The players celebrated the win by dumping a cooler of water on Turner.
"Coach was pretty excited for it," Pauley said. "She actually pulled one of our players (Brooklynn Greer) down with her to get drenched. ... Our energy is definitely up for those Bexley games."
"I try to keep things fun," Turner said. "It was a nice win. They decided to take the ice-cold water in about 65-degree weather and dump it on me, so it was fun. I told them I wasn't going alone and Brooklynn was closest to me and she went down for the count with me."
The Rams' other win came against Cristo Rey, 19-5 in five innings April 12.
Whitehall was competitive in a 9-8 loss to Grandview on April 17, a game it led 5-0.
"We are there improvement-wise," Turner said. "We're moving along as a team. We're missing just by a run or two. We're hanging in there with teams, so having a young team I'm highly impressed and I'm satisfied with where we are being a first-year coach with these girls."
Turner played for Lisa Morelli at Whitehall. Morelli is the athletics director at Watkins Memorial.
"I spoke with her the other day," Turner said. "I had a couple of questions about the division and she looked at our schedule and said we were hanging in there with the schools and we were doing fairly well even though our record was showing otherwise. She's been a major support."
Through 14 games, Mackenzie Schmittauer was hitting .325, followed by Kaila Daugherty at .288.
Shyaira Johnson had two grand slams, and Schmittauer and Pauley each had a home run.
"I like where the team is right now," Pauley said. "We've improved not only on the field, but as a family we've improved a lot. We want to keep the energy high. We win as a team, we lose as a team."
Turner said Daugherty has done well as the team's main pitcher.
"Kaila is doing a phenomenal job doing what she has to do," Turner said.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
April 27 -- At Hamilton Township
*April 29 -- At Worthington Christian
*May 1 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
April 26 -- At Briggs
*April 29 -- Home vs. Grandview. The Rams defeated the Bobcats 7-5 on April 8 and lost to the Bobcats 9-8 on April 17.
*May 1 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian. The Rams lost to the Warriors 11-5 on April 1.
April 25 -- At Hartley
April 29 -- At London. The Rams defeated the Red Raiders 3-2 on April 8.
TRACK & FIELD
April 27 -- Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington
May 1 -- At Columbus School for Girls with Bexley, Madison Christian, Ready and Village Academy