Canal Winchester High School baseball coach Tyler Kuhn trusts senior Trevor Mays to be a leader, and not just because he is a leadoff hitter who is able to play several positions.
In the midst of an 0-7 start, coaches and players called a meeting in the hopes of changing the course of the season.
Mays recalled feeling like a handful of his teammates could be more invested in the team's fortunes, both on and off the field. Kuhn remembered that Mays emotionally conveyed that message.
"I sensed some frustration out of the guys (during the winless start). Trevor is one of those vocal kids, one of the guys we have that I'd call fiery in terms of how they lead," Kuhn said. "He knows how to be a leader. Last year, we had 11 seniors so he really didn't get that chance even though he was a junior. He wants to win and he has a way of rallying his teammates to help that happen and get a lot out of them."
Canal Winchester has hung around .500 since its slow start and was 7-10 overall and 5-4 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Newark on April 30.
Mays has been a big reason why, as he was batting .333 with 21 hits, 13 RBI, 15 runs scored and 11 walks through 17 games. That average was second on the team, behind freshman Joey Young's .430.
"I had a slow start, but since then I've been very consistent. I've been getting one or two hits almost every game," Mays said. "I had a bonehead play on the bases (April 24 against New Albany when he was thrown out at second base), but overall, I like how I've been playing. I'm more comfortable as a leadoff hitter now. I don't always get on base, but I see a lot of pitches and I feel like that gives my team a good chance to see the pitcher and what he'll give us."
Mays moved up to varsity at the end of his sophomore season and began his junior year at his natural position of catcher. But early in the season, Ben Stevens took over as starting catcher and Mays became a utility player whom Kuhn could trust at almost any position.
So far this season, Mays has pitched, played every outfield position and seen time at shortstop and second base.
"I love catching ... but Ben's throw down to second base makes mine look a lot longer," Mays said, laughing. "I know all of our pitchers and I caught them last year, so if I need to go back there, I can."
Mays attributed the Indians' recently improved play to better approaches at the plate, something Kuhn said Mays embodies.
"He always gives us quality at-bats and has a chance to hit the ball hard every time up. The fact that he's a utility player makes him extra valuable," Kuhn said. "He'll grind out at-bats. He's a contact hitter and he finds a way to make things happen. Once Ben became our starting catcher, I knew I'd have to find a way to keep Trevor in the lineup somehow. He's just too valuable."
Mays will not play in college, although he might try to join a wooden-bat prospect league team while attending trade school to become an electrician. Eventually, he hopes to become an electrical engineer.
The Indians lost both of their OCC-Capital games last week, falling 4-0 to New Albany on April 22 and 6-0 to the Eagles two days later, but posted a 9-7 win at Circleville on April 23 and began this week with a 6-0 win over Newark on April 29.
"I'm having a ton of fun with this team, but we've had a tough time putting it all together," Mays said. "We're missing that one play or a couple plays that we need to change a game. We had a chance to score in the first inning (April 22) against New Albany and couldn't get that big hit. All these close games against these better teams will make us mentally tough for the (Division I district tournament). We're slowly building and building. We're not necessarily getting the outcome that we want, but as far as the team, we're getting there."
Track teams score well at home invitational
Korbin Martino's wins in the 200 meters (22.53 seconds) and 400 (49.41) led a powerful performance from the boys track and field team April 26 in the annual Milt Will Invitational, as the host Indians scored 167.5 points to edge runner-up Pickerington Central (162.5) and win the seven-team meet.
Canal Winchester also got wins from Elijah Bulluck in the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches), Tyler Toledo in the pole vault (13-0) and the 400 relay (43.79).
Will Butler and Drew Kotwis placed second (2:07.46) and third (2:09.47), respectively, in the 800, Matthias Hodge finished second in the pole vault (12-6), Dylan Randall placed third in both the 100 (10.94) and 400 (51.81) and the 800 relay (1:29.5) and 1,600 relay (3:28.76) both placed second.
Ariana Coleman was first in the long jump (17-5) and second in both the 100 (12.52) and 200 (26.63) to lead the girls team, which scored 140 points to finish second of seven teams, behind Fairfield Union (154.5). Angela Postage (50.22) and Avery Huntzinger (51.15) took the top two spots in the 300 hurdles and the 3,200 relay also won (10:14.6).
Other runner-up finishes came from Allena Klamorick in the 800 (2:26.47) and the 1,600 relay (4:20.58). Huntz-inger also was third in the 100 hurdles (17.32).
Tennis team wraps up league schedule
After finishing OCC-Capital play at 2-3, the boys tennis team prepared to play five matches this week, the final week of the regular season.
Canal Winchester was 3-7 overall before playing Walnut Ridge on April 30.
The Indians got both of their league wins by 5-0 scores, against Groveport on April 11 and Franklin Heights on April 16. They lost their league matches against Big Walnut (4-1 on April 9), New Albany (5-0 on April 18) and Newark (4-1 on April 23).
New Albany is ranked first in Division I by OhioTennisZone.com and will go for its 13th consecutive OCC-Capital championship Thursday, May 2, against Big Walnut.
Connor Clark got the Indians' only win against Newark, defeating Elliot Spicer 6-2, 6-3 at first singles.
The rest of the lineup has remained consistent with few variations throughout the season. Jeremy Irby has played second singles, Caden Sweeney has been at third singles, Corey Berner and Jake Chapman have played first doubles and Drew Adams and Jake Diehl have been at second doubles.
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
*May 3 -- Home vs. Groveport. The Indians defeated the Cruisers 2-1 in 10 innings on April 11 and lost 8-7 in nine innings April 10.
May 4 -- Home vs. Delaware (DH)
*May 6 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights. The Indians defeated the Falcons 23-3 on April 5 and 11-1 on April 17.
*May 8 -- At New Albany. The Indians lost to the Eagles 4-0 on April 22 and 6-0 on April 24.
May 2 -- Home vs. Westland in makeup from March 30
May 4 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin and Westerville South
May 8 -- At 12th-seeded Grove City or home vs. 42nd-seeded Licking Heights in second round of Division I district tournament. The Indians are seeded 21st of 45 teams.
May 2 -- At Westerville South
May 3 -- At Central Crossing in makeup from April 8
May 7 -- Home vs. Lancaster
TRACK & FIELD
May 3 -- Warhawk Invitational at Otterbein
May 4 -- Teays Valley Kiwanis Invitational