The Grove City High School baseball team's season has included the most losses during Ryan Alexander's 11-year tenure as coach.
The Greyhounds were 9-13 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Gahanna on May 6. They entered the week in jeopardy of their first losing season under Alexander, who has guided the team to seven 20-plus win seasons.
Despite the Greyhounds having their most losses since 2016, when they finished 16-12, they're seeded 16th of 48 teams for the Division I district tournament and play host to 38th-seeded Westland in the first round Monday, May 13. The winner plays at 15th-seeded Central Crossing in the second round Wednesday, May 15.
"What we're playing for now is we're trying to figure out who those guys are, who can get it done in those critical moments, and that's who we have to go with," Alexander said.
Grove City lost 8-6 to visiting Pickerington North on May 2 in league play. The Greyhounds led 4-1 after one inning, but later trailed 6-4 before tying the game at 6 with a pair of runs in the fifth. The Panthers scored two runs in the seventh.
"We counted up 10 critical baseball-thinking errors that absolutely cost us, (such as) when we struggle on the (mound) like we did and walking leadoff guys and not getting ahead in counts," Alexander said. "We played behind 2-0 to a lot of hitters and they have some good hitters. They are going to make you pay and they made us pay."
Gahanna, Lancaster and North entered the week tied for first in the OCC-Ohio at 8-3.
"Pick North, Gahanna and Lancaster are all battling (it) out, and we had our chances to close out so many of those games," Alexander said. "We let numerous guys down on our own squad. We let our brothers down when you have a chance to get stuff done."
Alexander was disappointed with his team's pitching against North but was pleased with the effort of Gavin Wolf, who entered in the fourth.
Wolf believes his team has the potential for a turnaround in the postseason.
"This is disappointing," he said. "I know we're better than a lot of these teams out here. We have more talent than these teams, but we struggle executing at the right times. We have enough talent to compete in the tournament. It just depends on how we play in the tournament, if we get stuff done and execute."
Grove City closes the regular season with home games Thursday, May 9, against Reynoldsburg and against North on a date to be determined. The Greyhounds lost to Reynoldsburg 7-3 on April 10 and defeated the Raiders 11-8 on April 12. They also lost to the Panthers 6-5 on April 29.
Through 22 games, Jacob Burris was batting a team-high .417, followed by Jackson Ware (.366), Luke Barnhart (.318) and Garrett Hardy (.297). Burris also led in home runs (2), doubles (5), RBI (21), runs (16) and hits (30).
Jacob Boyd was 3-3 with a 3.71 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 18 walks.
"When we play great baseball, we're a great baseball team," Alexander said. "When we're bad, we mope and we pout and we don't get stuff done. That's not Grove City baseball. It's disappointing because these guys have the capability."
Softball team opens district tournament
The 12th-seeded softball team was 17-8 overall before playing 42nd-seeded Licking Heights in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 6.
The winner played 21st-seeded Canal Winchester in the second round May 8, with that winner likely playing third-seeded Delaware in a district semifinal Monday, May 13, at a neutral site.
Grove City went 6-4 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Gahanna for third, behind co-champions Lancaster and Pickerington Central (8-2).
The Greyhounds closed the regular season with a 7-6 win over visiting Watkins Memorial on May 3, as Maddie Wilcox homered twice and Mylie Torres also hit a home run. Grove City scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
DiMasso steps down as wrestling coach
Jay DiMasso, who was instrumental in the success of the wrestling program for 20 years, has stepped down as coach to spend more time with family.
DiMasso joined the Greyhounds as an assistant coach in the 1999-2000 season before becoming head coach prior to the 2007-08 season.
"Taking some time off sounds exciting," he said. "There is time consumption in coaching wrestling in the winter. I'm looking forward to a little time off. ... I have twin boys who are going to be 2 in July and my bigger goal is to get them involved in wrestling. That's more of a three-year out plan. I'm preparing for the future."
DiMasso had eight wrestlers qualify for the Division I state tournament during his time as head coach. Hunter Barker was DiMasso's last state qualifier, going 0-2 at 152 pounds in 2018.
Barker and Justin Swavely each reached 100 career wins this past season.
DiMasso said the future looks bright for the program.
"We're only losing three seniors, so we're going to reload pretty well," he said. "Our numbers are good. The program is in good shape. We have some talented kids. We've pumped up the youth program and done some good things. Our offseason training is showing dividends."
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City boys tennis and track & field teams:
May 9, 11 -- Division I sectional at Hilliard Bradley. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg.
TRACK & FIELD
May 9, 11 -- OCC-Ohio meet at Groveport
May 14, 16, 18 -- Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North.