After squandering a two-run lead in the top of the seventh inning against 17th-seeded Madison Plains in its Division III district tournament opener, the Worthington Christian High School softball team sharpened its resolve.
Sophomore pitcher Lilly Heidorn doubled to open the bottom of the seventh for the 10th-seeded Warriors and, after back-to-back walks, sophomore Mia Schoonover singled to right field to drive in Heidorn for the winning run.
The 6-5 victory on May 7 continued a turnaround season for Worthington Christian, which finished 17-11 overall after going just 6-17 last season.
"The girls are pushing a lot," Heidorn said. "We were really fighting to get this win. It's been a big thing for everybody to come back since last year. Everybody's been working constantly."
The Warriors lost 10-0 to top-seeded Cardington in a second-round game May 10 in which the Pirates scored eight runs in the third inning.
Then on May 11, Worthington Christian lost 14-2 to DeSales in a regular-season game.
The Warriors, who won the MSL-Ohio Division title at 9-0, played their last four games without one of their two seniors, center fielder Kate Tomallo, who was out with a concussion.
Freshman Olyvia Scholl (3B/C) also was out with an injury.
"Considering we were 6-17 last year with eight freshmen, and to still only have two seniors with one who is out, we stepped up," coach Matt Heidorn said. "It wasn't pretty (against Madison Plains), but they worked hard and I'm very proud of them. Cardington's got a first-team all-state pitcher and I think they might be competing for the state record for home runs in a season."
The Warriors' other senior was shortstop Sophia Hevel, who will play for Cedarville University after hitting .518 with one home run and 33 RBI.
Tomallo batted .471 with 35 runs scored.
"I'm really proud of my team for how we worked together," Hevel said. "We worked super hard in the offseason in open gyms. A few of us work out a lot and we've improved so much since last season."
Heidorn batted .467 with 31 RBI, freshman Paige Tomallo (OF/2B) hit .412 with 35 runs, Schoonover batted .342 with 23 RBI and sophomore Abby Lanker (C/3B) had 23 RBI.
In the circle, Lilly Heidorn had 86 strikeouts and a 3.84 ERA in 107 2/3 innings and Schoonover also threw 30 innings.
Others eligible to return include junior Natalie Opava (LF), sophomores Kylie Doon (RF/C), Izzy Slaughter (1B), Julia Todd (OF/2B) and Naysa Dunlap (courtesy runner) and freshmen Sydney Fowler (1B/OF) and Mia Godorhazy (OF).
"We're a young team," Lilly Heidorn said. "Last year was really a learning year and once we got through the basics, everybody could just keep working. They learned what they're supposed to do."
Doubles team reaches district
The doubles team of juniors Benjy Homoelle and Tommy Robinson will represent the boys tennis team at the Division II district tournament Thursday, May 16, at Columbus Academy and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg.
Homoelle and Robinson open district against Bexley's Leo Schottenstein and Christian Roddy. The winner faces Academy's Suriya Sundaram and Rhain Seneviratne or Bexley's Aaron Young and Thibault Knox-Kelly in a state-qualifying match.
The state tournament is May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
At a sectional May 9 and 11 at Academy, Homoelle and Robinson lost to Academy's Arie Tuckerman and Jack Madison 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal before beating DeSales' Liam Verfurth and Will McAfee-Witherspoon 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the third-place match.
Also competing in doubles at sectional were Jake Flanigan and Nathaniel Lawrence, who lost to Verfurth and McAfee-Witherspoon 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in a quarterfinal.
In singles, Peter Tsibouris lost in the second round and Caleb Slagle and Aaron Pettit both lost in the first round.
Baseball team set to face Bulldogs
The 13th-seeded baseball team opens the Division III district tournament Thursday, May 16, at 11th-seeded Heath in a second-round game.
The winner plays top-seeded West Jefferson, 15th-seeded Marion Elgin or 17th-seeded Galion Northmor in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at the home of the better seed.
The district final is May 23.
The Warriors fell to 10-11 overall with an 8-2 loss at Buckeye Valley on May 11. They lost to Bexley 8-1 on May 6 and 2-1 on May 8 to finish fourth in the MSL-Ohio at 3-5 as the Lions won the title at 7-1.
Derek Fabian leads the Warriors in batting average (.455) and RBI (15), Nathaniel Elliott leads in runs scored (19) and Nathan Sewall is batting .349.
On the mound, Fabian is 1-2 with a 0.81 ERA, one save and 20 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings, Sewall is 2-4 with a 2.17 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 29 innings, Levi Hammond is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 32 2/3 innings and Jack Lockhart has two saves.
Track teams begin postseason
The track and field teams are competing in the Division III, district 1 meet this week at Watkins Memorial.
The meet began May 14, continues Thursday, May 16, and concludes Saturday, May 18.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 22, and May 24 at Fairfield Union. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
In the MSL-Ohio meet May 7 and 10, the girls team finished fourth (47 points) behind Grandview (105), Bexley (81) and Columbus Academy (77) and ahead of host Whitehall (38), and the boys finished fifth (26) behind Whitehall (104), Grandview (96), Academy (71) and Bexley (49).
Ashley Hall led the girls with championships in the 100 meters (13.01 seconds) and 200 (26.47) and joined Grace Hall, Sarah Chong and Oyinda Oladejo-Lawal on the winning 400 relay (51.74).
Oladejo-Lawal finished first in the long jump (14 feet, 8 inches) and fourth in the high jump (5-0) and Jackie Hamilton placed third in the discus (95-3 1/2).
Also finishing fourth were Morgan Lawrence in the discus (86-1), Audrey Mousa in the 200 (27.11) and the 800 relay of Chong, Isabelle Gilham, Caroline Mousa and Audrey Mousa (1:53.34).
Placing second for the boys were Jake Thompson in the long jump (19-10 1/4) and Taylor Vallangeon in the 3,200 (9:58.22).
The 400 relay of Jake Nowak, Montell Edwards, Dillon Fulks and Michael King was third (46.43), and finishing fourth were Edwards in the 100 (11.69), Alex Harrison in the 110 hurdles (15.97) and 300 hurdles (43.2), Ben Place in the 400 (52.28) and the 3,200 relay of Place, Noah St. John, David Rettstatt and Vallangeon (8:36.55).