Mired in a 3-for-22 slump and with her most recent plate appearance coming more than two weeks earlier, sophomore third baseball Megan Wohrle took a few encouraging swings the day before the Ready High School softball team was to play its Division III district semifinal May 14 against Heath.
Her first time at the plate against the eighth-seeded Bulldogs at Pickerington Central resulted in a hit by pitch in the third inning, but her second at-bat an inning later backed up what coach Jen Goff believed she was seeing May 13.
"She looked great in the cage and I was like, 'Megan's back in our lineup' (for the Heath game)," said Goff, who had been using a designated player for Wohrle. "She was crushing the ball. ... She mainly was a courtesy runner last year, sitting behind Hannah (Bryan) at third and was watching and getting tips."
The two-run double Wohrle produced during a four-run fourth helped the fifth-seeded Silver Knights seize control of what would become a 4-2 victory that advanced them to a third consecutive district final.
Ready lost to seventh-seeded West Jefferson 6-1 in the district championship game May 17 at Central to finish 18-7. The Knights had defeated West Jefferson 5-4 on March 26 and lost to the Roughriders 7-3 on April 27 in the Battle for a Cure at Lancaster.
"I knew if we could do it on all cylinders in terms of our hitting, pitching and defense that we'd get back to the (district final)," Goff said. "We told our kids that one big thing was going to happen, and if you hung your head about it, things could go not the way you want, but if you kept your head about it, things could go your way."
After opening the postseason with a 4-0 victory over 15th-seeded Fredericktown on May 10, Ready fell behind Heath 1-0 in the top of the fourth on a home run by Hannah Ecker.
In the bottom of the inning, Bryan reached on an infield single and Emma Sweetman followed with a bunt single. A bunt single by Cece Phillips loaded the bases and Sarah Ranke tied it with a sacrifice fly.
Wohrle's double followed, driving in two, and she came in to score on a single by Katie Gallagher.
The Bulldogs made it 4-2 on a home run by Hannah Cooksey in the seventh before Skylar Lafferty retired the final two batters.
"Coming off facing a slower pitcher from previous games, we had to adapt to a faster pitcher and then learn how to take inside and outside and not pull the pitch," Wohrle said. "I took an outside pitch and drove it to right field (for the double)."
In the district final, Ranke led off the bottom of the third with a home run, but the Roughriders answered with two runs in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1.
Track athletes move on to regional
The track and field program is competing in the Division III regional that began May 22 and concludes Friday, May 24, at Fairfield Union.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Qualifying to regional for the boys team was Oumar Dia, who was fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (43.84 seconds) in the district 2 meet that concluded May 18 at Watkins Memorial.
Advancing to regional for the girls team were Tenny Maker in the long jump (first, 16 feet, 8 inches), Lindsey Bair in the 400 (third, 1:00.2) and long jump (fourth, 15-4 1/2) and Derricka Bramwell in the shot put (second, 33-8).
Lauren Whitt, who was a three-time state qualifier in the 400, was leading for much of the 400 final before getting passed just before the finish line by fourth-place finisher Maddy Morosky of Grandview (1:00.53) and placing fifth (1:00.6).
In the 1,600 relay, Ready's Brigitte Bowman, Abbey Wasto, Bair and Whitt settled for fifth (4:24.28). Maker ran the preliminary of the event but was unable to compete in the final.
The girls finished seventh (53) of 12 teams behind champion Grandview (124), and the boys were 11th (16) of 14 teams behind the champion Bobcats (163).
Tennis team losing large senior class
Of the seven who competed for the boys tennis team in a Division II sectional tournament May 9 at Columbus School for Girls, freshman Adam Bennett and sophomore Dario Scott are the only eligible returnees.
Bennett lost in the first round in singles, and Scott and senior Dom Tokar had their season end in the second round in doubles.
Others eligible to return include juniors Fernando Arias and Kyle Caisaguano and sophomores Mitchell Clark and Mary Tokar.
"We had nine seniors," coach Dan Skuce said. "Apparently we'll have one to two coming in that know how to play. It's going to be a challenge next year."
Also in singles at sectional, senior Connor Nagy lost in the first round and senior Sandon Skuce lost in a play-in match.
Seniors Daniel Hamilton and Jarek Kolinski lost in the first round in doubles.
Baseball team falls in tourney opener
The 20th-seeded baseball team lost 12-2 at 16th-seeded Utica on May 14 in the first round of the Division III district tournament to finish 0-20.
The Knights lose a five-member senior class that was led by Cade Dent (P/SS), who was the starting pitcher against Utica.
One of Ready's closest losses was a 5-1 setback April 27 against Worthington Christian in which junior Hunter McBrayer (P/LF) gave up four earned runs and freshman Cael Dent (1B), Cade Dent and senior Kaeden Boyd (OF) each had two hits.
Junior Luke Monovich (2B/OF) and freshmen Dylan Murray (2B) and Byron Scott (SS) also were key players.
Others eligible to return include junior Tyler Scott (P/LF), sophomores Luke Jahn (P/1B) and Stephen Reed (C) and freshman Colin Kamerer (1B).
It was Bruce Lunsford's second season as coach. Ready went 2-18 last season.
Ready hires coaches in golf, soccer
Ready has hired Kyle Garrett as girls golf coach and Ronnie Maynard as boys soccer coach, according to athletics director Steve McQuade.
The girls golf team was coached the last two seasons by Tom Watson and went 0-8 in the CCL last fall. Its only senior, Eva Grace, is Watson's granddaughter and was a Division II district qualifier.
The boys soccer team went 1-12-1 overall and 0-4 in the CCL last fall under Cameron VanTilburg, who led the program for three seasons.
Maynard is a 2006 Johns-town graduate who played boys basketball for the Johnnies and was on Ready boys basketball coach Tony Bisutti's staff last winter.