With its first goal achieved, the Delaware Hayes High School softball team will take aim at its second beginning Wednesday, May 8.
That's when the Pacers will play host to 32nd-seeded Briggs or 33rd-seeded Walnut Ridge in the second round of the Division I district tournament. Delaware is seeded third of 45 teams, behind top-seeded Westerville Central and Mount Vernon, and has a first-round bye.
The second-round winner will play 12th-seeded Grove City, 21st-seeded Canal Winchester or 42nd-seeded Licking Heights in a district semifinal May 13 at a site to be announced. The district final will be played May 17 or 18 at Pickerington Central.
The Pacers clinched their third consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division title with a 7-0 win over Dublin Jerome on April 29 and defeated Worthington Kilbourne 15-6 on April 30 and Olentangy Berlin 6-0 on May 1 to finish 14-0 in league play.
"We worked for this all offseason," senior catcher Bobbi Adams said. "This is the thing we talked about most. Of course, we also talked about winning that district championship that we've been so close to reaching as a program for several years. But it's one step at a time this year, one game at a time."
The Pacers were 19-3 overall before playing West Jefferson on May 2 and Buckeye Valley on May 3.
"We changed the way we approach games this season because we wanted to focus on one game at a time and not focus a week down the road on a big game on the schedule," junior pitcher Haley Osborne said. "We want to take that same approach to the postseason and just continue to do what we do. We don't want to overlook anyone or not be prepared to play that day. We don't want to play at our opponents' level. We want to play at our level every time we take the field."
Through 21 games, Osborne was 16-3 with one save, a 3.22 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings. A third-year starter, she credits Adams with helping her feel comfortable in the circle since her freshman season.
"Between summer travel ball and high school, this is our eighth year playing together and we are almost always on the same page," Osborne said. "She knows me very well and we trust each other. Coach (Mark Thomas) allows (Adams) to call the game and we think that's very smart. She warms me up before games and already has a feel for what is working that day.
"Plus, we know a lot of girls through travel ball, so we know the top hitters' tendencies. A lot of us know the best girls on other teams, so we're getting scouting reports before the games about how to pitch to them. We all work together."
Adams enjoys calling the pitches for a variety of reasons.
"First, I've known Haley for a long time and I know what she's thinking," Adams said. "Then, I also can watch a batter and know what (the batter) is anticipating if she moves her place or shifts her feet in the batter's box to a different position. If she moves up on the plate, I can see it and know she's expecting something outside."
Osborne said Adams knows what pitches and locations to call.
"It's all about location," Osborne said. "It's inside, outside, high and low and then hitting those spots. My goal is to get ahead of the hitter and make them hit my pitches. I don't really care about striking out a certain amount of batters. My goal is to make them hit my pitch."
Through 21 games, Alex Armstrong was hitting .527 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 29 runs scored and 35 RBI, Lexi Mattix was batting .519 with 39 runs and Myaih Cloud was hitting .500 with eight doubles and 22 runs.
Other top hitters included Osborne (.478, 7 doubles), Kami Slayton (.474, 7 doubles, 25 runs, 31 RBI), Adams (.406, 4 home runs, 28 RBI), Chloe Barton (.400, 11 doubles, 3 home runs, 35 runs, 18 RBI), Taylor Call (.325) and Laiha Slayton (.321, 7 home runs, 27 RBI).
"We've got a lot of girls locked in right now," Thomas said. "Kami Slayton, our third baseman, isn't playing like a freshman and hasn't felt the pressure of batting cleanup for a freshman. I like the makeup of this team and where we are right now.
"The girls are happy with their third straight OCC championship, but they're not satisfied. They want to get that district trophy and end a long drought for a good program. We've been there several times before, but it's been since 2005 that we won one."
Two tennis players seeded at sectional
The boys tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, May 9, and Saturday, May 11, at Pickerington Central.
Junior Kyle Klumpp earned the top seed in singles and junior Sam Bonofiglio is seeded fourth. They played first and second singles, respectively, for the Pacers in the regular season and both were 13-2 entering a match against Worthington Christian on May 2.
"It's been a long, long time since we've had a No. 1 seed and I'm not sure we've ever had two singles players seeded in the same postseason," said coach Richard Hunt, whose team was 10-5 overall before May 2 and finished 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal. "Obviously, they have the potential to get through to district or they wouldn't be seeded, but they still have to go out there and play to their potential.
"What I like is they push each other during practice and feed off each other and that just makes both of them better and better."
Aidan Sarna, who played doubles in the regular season, is the Pacers' third singles entry. Eric Puthoff, who played third singles, will team with Ryder Kardas to make up one doubles entry, while Jacob Byerly and Will Fogle will comprise the other.
The top four placers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg.
"As a team, I would like to see everyone get at least one win in the sectional, but as long as they go out there and compete to their ability, I'll be happy with that," Hunt said.
Boys lacrosse team places third in league
The boys lacrosse team defeated Berlin 20-6 on April 30 to finish 5-2 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Pacers, who were 10-6 overall before completing the regular season with games May 3 at Whitehouse Anthony Wayne and May 4 at Perrysburg, placed third in the league behind Jerome (7-0) and Kilbourne (6-1).
The Division I, Region 3 tournament draw will be held Tuesday, May 7, with first-round games scheduled for May 14.
Against Berlin, Blake Eiland scored five goals, Sam Lagando, Brystin Coldiron, Shane Manor and Hunter Piroska all scored three and goalkeeper Tyler Carney made five saves. Coldiron also had five assists and Piroska had three assists.
Girls lacrosse team edged by Bears
The girls lacrosse team lost to Berlin 14-12 on April 30 to fall to 7-7 overall and finish 1-6 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Pacers will play host to Hartley on Wednesday, May 8, and visit Marysville on Thursday, May 9, before concluding the regular season Saturday, May 11, at Strongsville.
Against Berlin, Morgan Miller had five goals and an assist and Lindsay Wolverton and Josie Derstine both scored two goals.