Leo Schottenstein went back to his roots in hopes of excelling in the postseason for the Bexley High School boys tennis team.
The senior resumed competing in singles -- the only place he could see himself playing as a freshman -- in order to improve at his new passion on the doubles court.
The switch has been successful in one respect, as Schottenstein is 10-2 in singles play. He now will see if the strategy pays off for him and his postseason doubles partner, senior Christian Roddy.
The postseason begins with a Division II sectional Thursday, May 9, and Saturday, May 11, at Columbus School for Girls. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 16 at Columbus Academy and May 18 at Reynoldsburg.
"When I came into high school, I was a singles player and wasn't into doubles at all," Schottenstein said. "Coach (Mark Liefeld) really introduced me to the communication in doubles and how you need to be connected with your partner and how personal that relationship is.
"Tennis is fun when you're winning, but it's better with a partner. Christian and I are really good friends, and I think that has a lot to do with tennis."
Schottenstein and Roddy lost in a state-qualifying match at district last spring. As a sophomore, Schottenstein and 2018 graduate Mark Nudelman finished fourth in doubles at state.
"Christian and I are going to play doubles this (postseason) after losing in a state-qualifying match last year, which was disappointing," Schottenstein said. "I thought going into singles this year would help me with that. It definitely has made me a little more self-reliant out there because doubles is very 50-50. I thought it would allow me to challenge myself and be a little more focused and not as much, 'my partner can do this for me.'
"I feel that I have been able to grind out matches a little better. There have been a few matches where I have played kids who are equally as talented as I am, but the score didn't reflect that because I was able to grind out more points than they did."
Liefeld said Schottenstein brings experience and leadership to the Lions.
"Leo is a hard worker and a good leader, leading by example," said Liefeld, whose team was 10-3 overall and 3-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division after losing to Academy 5-0 on May 2 in a contest that also was an OTCA team tournament match. "He's a really good kid, and he's a good role model in the way he carries himself.
"He's a two-sport athlete. Coming out of basketball season, he didn't hit as much over the winter, but he's a much different tennis player by midseason than at the start of it."
Schottenstein said Roddy is a good complement to his abilities on the doubles court.
"Christian is really skilled and he's smart in how he plays," Schottenstein said. "He knows he's not going to hit anyone off the court and he doesn't have the biggest strokes in the game, but his movement is some of the best I have seen at the high-school level. When I said I could grind out points, he grinds them out like no one that I have seen. He is able to track down the ball and stay in matches mentally as well."
Tennis has been a family affair for Schottenstein with his father, Eric, playing both tennis and soccer at Tufts University. One brother, Max, graduated from Bexley in 2012 and another, Abram, graduated from Academy in 2013. Both played doubles at state in 2012, and Abram joined Jacob Wareti to win the state doubles title in 2013.
"I have been playing tennis since I was 3," said Leo Schottenstein, who is 6-foot-3. "My serve is pretty accurate and I can choose my spots when I go flat with it. I'm more like a finesse player. I can play bigger on a tennis court, but I can do a lot of things with my shot.
"I love being at the net and having quick-reaction plays. If someone nails a ball at me, I love it because I think I have quick hands for being as big as I am and being able to carve out a shot. It gives you a lot of momentum if you get it back to them."
Schottenstein has a 3.95 GPA and plans to study business at the University of Southern California. That choice also means he likely won't play tennis beyond the club or intramural level.
"(Reaching the state tournament with Roddy is) going to take a lot of focus and determination," Schottenstein said. "There are definitely some teams that will be challenging, but we have experience playing doubles in the postseason and I have been to the state tournament. Experience is the biggest thing for us."
Baseball team wins share of MSL-Ohio title
After learning its Division II district tournament draw May 5, the baseball team attempted to win an outright MSL-Ohio title.
Bexley was 13-9 overall and 6-1 in the league before playing Worthington Christian on May 8. With a win, the Lions would have captured the outright championship.
They defeated the Warriors 8-1 on May 6 to win at least a share of the title. Grandview finished 6-2 in the league.
Bexley closes the regular season with a doubleheader Saturday, May 11, at home against Chillicothe Zane Trace.
The 12th-seeded Lions open district play Tuesday, May 14, at home against 15th-seeded Eastmoor Academy. The winner plays at top-seeded Hartley on May 16 in the second round.
Through 20 games, Ryan Callahan led the Lions in batting average (.500), home runs (2), runs (24), doubles (8), triples (3), stolen bases (14), on-base percentage (.558) and slugging percentage (.814). He also had 19 RBI and was 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA, 13 strikeouts and eight walks in 15 2/3 innings.
Tommy Bloebaum was batting .389 with eight RBI and 11 runs, and Matthew Shapiro was batting .351 with 10 RBI and 22 runs. Jacob Wright was batting .339 with 21 RBI and 14 runs.
Anthony Welsh was hitting .316 with 12 RBI and 23 runs and was 3-1 with a 2.24 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 10 walks in 34 1/3 innings. Vinny Pernotto was 3-3 with a 2.46 ERA, 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 37 innings, and he was batting .323 with 16 RBI.
Track teams compete in MSL-Ohio meet
The boys and girls track and field teams conclude the MSL-Ohio meet Friday, May 10, at Whitehall. The opening day of competition was May 7.
The girls won the team championship last spring, while the boys were sixth.
Bexley competes in a Division II district meet beginning Tuesday, May 14, and concluding May 18 at Westerville North. The top four finishers in each event will advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Lexington.
The Lions warmed up for the league meet by competing May 1 at CSG. The girls finished second (103) to the host Unicorns (140) and the boys were runners-up (56) to Whitehall (164).
Selah Foster won the 100-meter hurdles (16.7 seconds) and Hannah Hayden won the 800 (2:30.6) for the girls. Reid Wagenbrenner was first in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches) for the boys.
Softball squad begins postseason
The 11th-seeded softball team opened the postseason by playing at 10th-seeded Centennial on May 7 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.
The winner plays at seventh-seeded DeSales on Thursday, May 9, and that winner plays in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 14, at a neutral site against top-seeded Lakewood, 17th-seeded Marion-Franklin or 19th-seeded Independence.
The district final is May 17 or 18 at Pickerington Central.
The Lions finished the regular season 9-15 overall and 4-5 in the MSL-Ohio.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse teams:
May 9 -- At Columbus Academy
May 13 -- At sixth-seeded Big Walnut in first round of Division II, Region 7 tournament. Winner plays third-seeded Academy or 15th-seeded Olentangy Berlin in quarterfinal May 16 at home of better seed. The Lions are seeded 11th.
May 9 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
May 15 -- At eighth-seeded Big Walnut in first round of Division II, Region 7 tournament. Winner plays fifth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 12th-seeded Dayton Carroll in quarterfinal May 18 at home of better seed. The Lions are seeded 10th.