One "nasty" moment, as Derek Fabian called it, cost him nearly all of last season with the Worthington Christian High School baseball team.
During a preseason practice in which Fabian was at catcher, he and shortstop Conner Crawford collided while attempting to catch a pop-up. Crawford, a 2018 graduate, wasn't injured on the play, but Fabian broke his left wrist and missed all but the final five games of last season.
"After a few seconds, I just stayed on the ground for about 30 minutes," Fabian said. "It was awful."
This season, Fabian, a senior, has been doing his best to make up for lost time, particularly at the plate. He had a .556 batting average (10-for-18) in his limited playing time a year ago but has picked up where he left off, batting .480 with 14 RBI, 14 runs scored and seven doubles in 58 at-bats through 16 games.
The Warriors were 9-8 overall and 2-3 in the MSL-Ohio Division after beating Whitehall on April 29. They played the Olentangy Liberty B team on April 30 and Whitehall again on May 1.
Worthington Christian concludes its league schedule with games Monday, May 6, at Bexley and Wednesday, May 8, at home against the Lions.
The Division III district tournament drawing is Sunday, May 5.
"This year, we started off a little slow," Fabian said. "We've got a really young team. It feels great to be here since last year I was out almost the whole season. One of the biggest things that's helped is working in the offseason. Me and the other guys were getting in work almost every single day, and the hard work pays off."
Fabian, who batted .350 as a sophomore, is considering attending Liberty University, where he could end up walking on with the baseball program.
According to coach Tim Kraynak, Fabian is strong enough defensively that he's worthy of playing at the Division I college level.
"He is as good behind the plate as he is at the dish," Kraynak said. "Including the teams we have competed against in my 16 years, he's got to be in the top two or three catchers I've seen, maybe the best. He's a tremendous defensive catcher. If you've got a runner on third base and a ball in the dirt, you've got confidence he's going to funnel everything. He's really that good."
In his return game last season, Fabian, who also is a pitcher, went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. He went 4-for-5 and scored three runs in his first game this season and hasn't looked back.
His offensive abilities have been crucial this season as the Warriors have battled injuries to key players, including senior Nathan Sewall (P/1B) and sophomore Braden Anderson (P/OF).
On the mound, Fabian was 1-1 with a 1.36 ERA and 14 strikeouts in his 10 1/3 innings.
"I believe confidence is a big part of it," Fabian said. "I've seen videos of me a couple years ago and now it's a lot different and I'm a lot more powerful. I lost a lot of muscle (when I was out with injury), but I lifted a lot (in the offseason) and gained 20 pounds, so that helps a lot."
Softball team wins MSL-Ohio title
A year after going just 6-17, the softball team has captured the MSL-Ohio championship.
The Warriors were 15-8 overall and 8-0 in the league after beating Bexley 15-2 on April 29 and before playing Whitehall on May 1.
"It's been a great turnaround," coach Matt Heidorn said. "Our hitting, top to bottom, is the best I have coached. We have eight who are hitting at .300 or more. We've been very successful in putting pressure on the other teams' defenses with our running and bunting."
Through 22 games, Sophia Hevel was batting .577 with one home run, 29 RBI and 24 runs, Kate Tomallo was hitting .468 with 31 runs, Lilly Heidorn was batting .458 with one home run, 23 RBI and 32 runs and Paige Tomallo was hitting .451 with 28 runs.
Heidorn, the team's primary pitcher, had 71 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings.
Worthington Christian visits Fredericktown on Thursday, May 2, before turning its attention to the postseason.
The Warriors are seeded 10th in the Division III district tournament and will play host to 17th-seeded Madison Plains in the first round Tuesday, May 7. The winner plays at top-seeded Cardington in the second round May 9.
Tennis team set for postseason
The boys tennis team has three dual matches remaining before it competes in a Division II sectional May 9 and 11 at Columbus Academy.
The Warriors were 5-6 overall after losing to Logan Elm 3-2 on April 29 and finished 2-3 in the MSL-Ohio, with their league wins coming against Grandview (3-2 on April 2) and Whitehall (5-0 on April 23).
The MSL-Ohio also includes Wellington, Bexley and Columbus Academy, which are three of the area's strongest Division II programs.
"We've had some good matches, but the problem is our schedule," coach Dino Tsibouris said. "We have most of the top five (teams) in the state in our (league). We're just happy to be here at this point."
At the sectional, Peter Tsibouris, Aaron Pettit and Davis Homoelle all are opening with feed-in matches in singles. In doubles, Benjy Homoelle and Tommy Robinson are seeded third and Jake Flanigan and Nathaniel Lawrence are seeded fourth.
"We're hoping to get our doubles (to advance to district)," coach Tsibouris said.
Track teams prep for league meet
The track and field teams will compete in the MSL-Ohio meet Tuesday, May 7, and May 10 at Whitehall.
On April 26 in the eight-team Olentangy Invitational, the boys team finished last (47 points) behind champion Olentangy Berlin (85) and the girls finished sixth (33) behind champion Hilliard Darby (138).
The meet featured mostly Division I programs.
For the boys team, the 3,200-meter relay of Ben Place, Noah St. John, David Rettstatt and Taylor Vallangeon finished first (8 minutes, 44.86 seconds), Jake Thompson placed second in both the long jump (19 feet, 5 1/2 inches) and high jump (5-10) and Place was runner-up in the 800 (2:07.97).
For the girls squad, Ashley Hall was runner-up in the 200 (26.57) and third in the 100 (12.95), Oyinda Oladejo-Lawal was second in the high jump (5-2) and the 1,600 relay was third (4:24.47).
"At this point in the season, I'm very, very happy with the progress we're making and the work we're doing," coach Mark Mousa said. "We're running really good times."
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian baseball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
May 3 -- At Galion Northmor
May 4 -- Home vs. Centerburg
*May 6 -- At Bexley
May 7 -- Home vs. London
*May 8 -- Home vs. Bexley
May 2 -- Home vs. Watterson
May 3 -- Home vs. Grove City
May 4 -- Teays Valley Invitational
May 6 -- At Kilbourne
TRACK & FIELD
May 7, 10 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Whitehall