The Delaware Hayes High School baseball team is hoping to find a way to close out games in the postseason.
The Pacers, who have lost several close contests late in the game, are seeded 27th of 48 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 46th-seeded Whitehall in the first round Monday, May 13. The winner plays at third-seeded Olentangy Orange in the second round Wednesday, May 15, with that winner likely facing 13th-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal May 21.
"We've lost some close games lately when we didn't get timely hits or didn't make plays with the game on the line in the sixth or seventh innings," said coach Ryan Montgomery, whose team was 10-12 overall and 5-8 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before closing the regular season May 10 against Olentangy Berlin.
"But we're a pretty young team that has been gaining a lot of confidence and we just got one of our top pitchers back from injury in Cory Richardson."
Richardson threw six innings in a 6-1 win over Dublin Jerome on May 7 and hit a two-run single during a five-run sixth inning. Also in the sixth, Zach Price hit a two-run double off the center-field fence.
"It's great to get Cory back because he gives us some options with Zach and Ryan (Murphy)," Montgomery said. "Zach has been dominant on the mound and Ryan has really come a long way and has been great, although he has pitched in some bad-luck losses."
Murphy took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh inning at Central Crossing on May 2 before allowing two hits. The Pacers also made a crucial error behind him and gave up two runs in a 2-1 loss.
"My pitching wins don't matter to me. What does is getting the win as a team," Murphy said. "We didn't win that game, so it was a bit disappointing.
"But as seniors, Zach and I, and all of our seniors, have really tried to help the young guys find their roles. We've put our best foot forward and the young guys are responding and we're playing better ball lately. We're going to leave this program in good shape for the future."
Through 21 games, Murphy was 1-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 33 innings. Price was 4-1 with one save and a 1.12 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 40 innings. He allowed only four hits in a complete-game 3-0 win over Jerome on May 6.
"Our team ERA is 3.90 (through 21 games)," Montgomery said. "We've really gotten good pitching most of the season, but we've struggled defensively, especially in some of our close losses."
Delaware had a four-game winning streak from April 22-27, but followed with a four-game losing streak, including three losses by one run.
The Pacers responded by sweeping Jerome, but then lost to Berlin 13-12 on May 8. They trailed the Bears 6-3 but scored seven combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 10 and then took a 12-10 lead into the bottom of the seventh before allowing three runs. Delaware made four errors in the game.
"We need to play well defensively to give ourselves a chance to win in the tournament, but I think we will," Montgomery said. "It's a new season and we want to finish on a high note."
Through 21 games, Alex Kelly had a team-high .368 batting average, Ethan Hazelton was batting .343 in the leadoff spot, Price was hitting .300 with a team-best 16 RBI and Nick Wildman was batting .310.
Track teams prep for district meet
The track and field teams will compete in the Division I, district 1 meet this week at Hilliard Darby.
Running preliminaries are Tuesday, May 14, followed by field event finals on Thursday, May 16, and running finals on Saturday, May 18.
The district meet comes on the heels of the OCC-Cardinal meet, which was held May 9 and 11 at Hilliard Davidson.
The Pacers tuned up for the league meet by competing in the Delaware County Championships May 3 at Orange.
The boys team scored 50 points to tie Big Walnut for fourth, behind Olentangy Liberty (137.5), Orange (135) and Olentangy (78) and ahead of Berlin (49.5), Buckeye Valley (26) and Village Academy (1).
Orion Ward won the 300-meter hurdles (41.46 seconds), was runner-up in the 110 hurdles (15.83) and placed third in the long jump (20 feet, 11 1/4 inches).
Also placing third were Aaron Koehler in the 400 (52.04) and the 800 relay of Kael Gannon, Logan Hummel, Koehler and Ward (1:33.19).
The girls team finished seventh (33) behind Orange (129.5), Liberty (109), Big Walnut (71), Olentangy (55.5), Buckeye Valley (54) and Berlin (41) and ahead of Delaware Christian (26) and Village Academy (8).
Ari Avant won both the 100 hurdles (15.1) and 300 hurdles (46.29) and the 800 relay of Mckenzie Hayes, Taylor Brown, Avant and Emily Gray finished third (1:51.87).
Softball team rolls into district semi
The softball team defeated 33rd-seeded Walnut Ridge 11-0 in five innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 8 after having a first-round bye.
The third-seeded Pacers will play 12th-seeded Grove City in a district semifinal Monday, May 13, at a neutral site that had yet to be determined as of May 8. The winner faces sixth-seeded Lancaster or 19th-seeded Dublin Coffman in a district final Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 22 at Ohio State.
Against Walnut Ridge, Haley Osborne struck out 10 batters, including the first nine she faced, and Katie Fleshman pitched the fifth inning as the two combined to throw a perfect game.
Lexi Mattix had two hits and two RBI, Kami Slayton had two hits and Chloe Barton drove in two runs.
Boys tennis team competes at sectional
The boys tennis team competed in a Division I sectional May 9 and 11 at Pickerington Central.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to the district tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg. At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the state tournament May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
At sectional, junior Kyle Klumpp was the top seed in singles and junior Sam Bonofiglio was seeded fourth.
Boys lacrosse team to play Perrysburg
The boys lacrosse team will face Perrysburg for the second time in 10 days when it plays host to the 13th-seeded Yellow Jackets in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament Tuesday, May 14.
The Pacers, who are seeded fourth of 18 teams, closed the regular season May 4 with a 19-4 win at Perrysburg to improve to 12-6.
The winner of the rematch will play fifth-seeded Medina or 10th-seeded Westerville Central in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 17, at the site of the better seed. That winner advance to a regional semifinal May 21.
Girls lacrosse team set to face Pioneers
The girls lacrosse team is seeded seventh in the Division I, Region 1 tournament and will play host to eighth-seeded Orange in the first round Monday, May 13.
The winner will play second-seeded Olentangy or 15th-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 17, at the home of the better seed.
The Pacers lost to Hartley 18-16 on May 8 and were 7-8 before closing the regular season May 9 at Marysville.
Against Hartley, Josie Derstine and Piper Adkins both scored four goals and Madison Bricker scored three.
Boys volleyball team preps for postseason
The boys volleyball team lost to Berlin 27-25, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19 on May 7 to finish the regular season 3-19 overall and 1-11 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Division I East Region tournament draw will be held Monday, May 13, with first-round matches scheduled for Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18.