Before the season, coach Scott Todd said the success of the Central Crossing High School baseball team would be dictated by its senior players.
Those seniors took the reins and helped lead the Comets to their first district semifinal since 2015.
Central Crossing, the 15th seed for the Division I district tournament, played fifth-seeded Gahanna on May 20, and the winner advanced to a district final May 22 against top-seeded New Albany or 20th-seeded Groveport.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman.
"It means a lot to our seniors that we have been building with for the last two years," said Todd, whose team had won 12 of 13 games and was 18-8 before playing Gahanna. "We were 5-6 (after losing to Hilliard Davidson on April 15) and through pure determination and hard work, we battled back.
"The seniors have taken ownership of the team. You realize that you are only as good as your seniors and right now we're where we are because of our senior leadership."
Senior J.J. Carr was in the eighth grade the last time the Comets reached a district semifinal. They lost that game to Hilliard Darby 1-0, but Carr remembers the hoopla surrounding the contest.
"I remember the big hype during my eighth-grade year," he said. "I'm happy to get a chance to do that with these guys.
"I can't even describe it. The more we play with each other, the happier we are. I told everyone that this is our final year, and we want to go out with a bang. We have been on the right track."
The Comets dominated 16th-seeded Grove City in their postseason opener, winning 10-2 on May 15 at home in the second round as junior Tyler Ronevich tossed a four-hitter with three strikeouts and two walks.
Carr doubled, singled and drove in three runs, and senior Austin Woods doubled, singled, drove in a run and scored three times.
Central Crossing took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Carr doubled home junior Matt Reed and junior Drew DeYarmon grounded out to drive in Woods.
"The team played great, and they gave me a lead early," Ronevich said. "It means everything to get an early lead like that because it gives you the confidence to work ahead of batters."
The Comets scored five times in the second. Senior Dylan Davis had a leadoff double in an inning that included just two hits, with the other being a DeYarmon single. After a walk, a hit-by-pitch and an error, they held a 7-0 lead when the dust cleared.
"Getting two runs early on (Grove City) was big," Todd said. "We were able to execute, we got a couple of bunts down and put a little pressure on them. I feel the biggest point of the game was scoring five runs in the second. Going up 7-0 and with the way Tyler Ronevich can pitch, I started to feel more comfortable."
Todd liked the way his team was playing entering the district semifinal.
"Since I have been here, this is our most complete team," said Todd, who is in his 17th season. "It might not be our most talented team, but it's our most complete. When you talk one through nine in the lineup and you are talking about team camaraderie and people pulling for each other, this has been a great group to be around.
"When players accept their roles, the team concept can take form and you can have a lot of success. I think we've had that this year."
Bolanos-Cruz, Mann advance in track
The boys and girls track and field teams both advanced one athlete to the Division I regional meet, which began May 22 and concludes Friday, May 24, at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each event advance to state May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
For the boys, Luis Bolanos-Cruz was runner-up in the shot put (52 feet, 3 1/4 inches) and third in the discus (158-3) in the district 2 meet, which concluded May 18 at Darby. The top four in each event qualified for regional.
Abriana Mann was fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (46.77 seconds) to lead the girls in district 2.
Mann also was seventh in both the 200 (28.08) and long jump (16-6). She scored all nine points for the Comets, who finished 12th behind champion Gahanna (186) as 14 teams scored.
The boys had a pair of relays score at district. The 400 relay of Kyren Glaze, Tye Bradley, Manny Codjoe and Anthony Lowe was sixth (43.7) and the 800 relay of Glaze, Lowe, A.J. Farmer and Codjoe was seventh (1:32.77).
Sel Adehe was sixth in both the 110 hurdles (15.61) and 300 hurdles (40.89), helping the boys finish 11th (25) behind champion Pickerington North (84) as 16 teams scored.