The ending of the regular season included mixed results, but it didn't overshadow the position in which the Hartley High School baseball team finds itself.
With a 12-6 victory over DeSales on May 6, the Hawks earned at least a share of the CCL championship a day after they received the No. 1 seed for the Division II district tournament.
Hartley wasn't able to wrap up the title outright, though, as it lost to Watterson 5-0 on May 8 to finish in a three-way tie with the Eagles and DeSales at 6-2.
Then on May 9, the Hawks lost 10-5 to Pickerington North to drop to 18-4 overall.
Still, there is reason for Hartley to feel positive entering the postseason. A defending district champion, the Hawks will play host to 12th-seeded Bexley or 15th-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a second-round game Thursday, May 16.
"We've faced adversity all year and they've bounced back really well," assistant coach Tim Heinmiller said. "That leadership will help us back."
The second-round winner plays seventh-seeded DeSales or 20th-seeded Columbus East in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at a neutral site, with that winner likely facing second-seeded Lakewood or fifth-seeded Licking Valley in a district final Wednesday, May 22, at a neutral site.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at Ohio University.
The Hawks lost to DeSales 6-3 on April 24, but in the rematch, Mason Sawyer had four hits and three RBI and Jacob Culbertson pitched five innings to pick up the win.
"I think the kids are really excited, but they don't necessary care about what seed we got," Heinmiller said. "They just play hard every single day. I don't even know if some of them know we got the No. 1 seed, to be honest."
Track teams begin postseason action
The track and field teams are competing in the Division II, district 2 meet, which began May 14, continued May 15 and concludes Saturday, May 18, at Westerville North.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Lexington.
In the CCL meet May 6 and 8 at Columbus School for Girls, the boys team scored 83 points to place third behind St. Charles (174) and DeSales (154) and ahead of Watterson (72) and Ready (9) and the girls were fourth (63.33) behind Watterson (175), CSG (102) and DeSales (93.33) and ahead of Ready (56.33).
For the boys team, Daniel Tooson captured the title in the shot put (43 feet) and Troy Fowler was first in the high jump (5-11).
Patrick Scurlock was runner-up in both the 110-meter hurdles (15.75 seconds) and 300 hurdles (42.51) and ran on the second-place 1,600 relay along with Justin Steward, T.J. Johnson and Daniel Walker (3:29.24). The 800 relay of Angelo Evans, Miles Fleming, Trey Saunders and Fowler also placed second (1:32.59) and the 400 relay of Fleming, Fowler, Johnson and Saunders was third (44.69).
Bailey Smith won the 100 hurdles (16.01) to lead the girls team. Finishing second were Abby Rhodes in the long jump (16-2 3/4), Alexis Wade in the 100 (13.02) and the 3,200 relay of Megan Luallen, Pailyn Groene, Cara Luallen and Kayla Williams (10:23.5). Williams was third in the 800 (2:30.65).
Girls lacrosse team clinches winning mark
With an 18-16 victory over Delaware on May 8, the girls lacrosse team closed the regular season at 10-8, which guarantees that it will finish with a winning record for the second consecutive season.
The sixth-seeded Hawks open the Division II, Region 7 tournament Thursday, May 16, at home against 11th-seeded Olentangy Berlin. The winner plays third-seeded Granville or 13th-seeded Chillicothe in a regional quarterfinal Saturday, May 18, at the site of the better seed. That winner likely faces second-seeded Columbus Academy or seventh-seeded CSG in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at a neutral site. The regional final is May 24.
Sydney Onega scored 12 goals against Delaware.
Much of tennis team expected to return
Five of the seven players who competed in a Division II sectional May 9 at CSG for the boys tennis team are eligible to return.
Included in that group is sophomore John Hooker, who won one sectional match in singles before losing in the second round.
The others eligible to return are junior Andrew Croswell, who played third singles for much of the season behind senior Ryan Heuser and Hooker, and sophomores Nick Chovan, Dominic Rees and Nick Stanssen, each of whom played doubles.
At sectional in doubles, Chovan and Safford lost in the first round, as did Rees and Stanssen.
Hartley finished 2-13 overall, beating Hamilton Township 4-1 on April 1 and Groveport 5-0 on April 8.
"The underclassmen have been battling," coach Daniel Chun said. "I've seen improvement in everybody all year. John got a big win in the first round in singles and the doubles team (of Rees and Stanssen) battled back to force a third (set). We improved every match. We've just got to be able to close it out. We'll have five returning players, so we're building a nice little base for the next couple years for Hartley tennis."
Softball team has 'bright' future
All but two starters are eligible to return for the softball team.
The Hawks have one of the area's top sophomores in Kami Kortokrax (SS/P), who hit .626 with six home runs, six triples and 42 RBI. She has played every inning of each of her first two prep seasons.
"I feel like the future is bright," Kortokrax said. "A lot of the girls have talked about how committed we are. Our team is young, really, with only two senior starters. (Coach April Wooten) does a good job staying calm and handling it. We were competitive against a lot of Division I teams."
Hartley was the 35th seed for the Division I district tournament and lost to 23rd-seeded Hilliard Davidson 18-8 in the first round May 6 to finish 6-18 overall.
The Hawks went 0-6 in the CCL but led eventual champion Ready 4-1 heading into the sixth inning on April 29. After the Silver Knights scored seven runs in the top of the sixth to take an 8-4 lead, the Hawks answered with five in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead.
Ready tied the game in the seventh and scored two runs in the eighth to win 11-9, but it was the type of performance that was encouraging to Wooten.
"The entire season this team showed fight," Wooten said. "They're a young group and did not back down from a single opponent. They have a short-term memory as reflected in our CCL play. Throughout the season, they learned how to trust each other, play for each other and play with conviction. There is excitement in the air around the program and we have a lot to build on."
The only senior starters were Lauren Barclay (C) and Audrey Smith (RF).
Junior Sophia Cegledy (CF/P) hit .432 with three home runs, junior Tori Garey (3B/C) batted .500 with 30 RBI and junior Allyssa Thompson (3B/1B) hit .500 with six home runs and 38 RBI. Cegledy played every inning of every game.
Sophomore outfielders Emily Kirk and Abbey Tipton also had strong seasons, according to Wooten.
Others eligible to return include juniors Bella Hoffman (P/INF), Donna McMillen (OF) and Aidan Poliseno (1B), sophomore Caroline Berger (2B/OF) and freshmen Riley Mann (utility) and Emily Thompson (utility).
"We have a very strong junior class," Wooten said.