The Dublin Coffman High School softball team allowed three runs in each of the first two innings on its way to a 6-1 loss to 12th-seeded Grove City in a Division I district final May 17 at Pickerington Central.
The loss, though, was much closer than it appeared when the details are analyzed, according to coach Scott Tillman.
"The difference is inches," Tillman said. "They had two fly balls to right and a three-run double to center that missed our glove by probably less than a foot. Five runs scored off of those hits. We had a shot to center field (and) a shot to second base that were right at people. Sometimes they drop, sometimes they don't. I love the grit that this team showed. They fought back and won the last five innings 1-0."
Coffman, which has never won a district title and was making its first district final appearance since 2009, finished 15-15 overall.
Seeded 19th, the Shamrocks were the lowest seed among the area Division I teams that played for district titles. They beat 16th-seeded Westerville North 7-5 on May 8 and sixth-seeded Lancaster 4-3 on May 13 to reach their district final.
Junior infielder Rylee Anspach hit a solo home run in the fourth inning against Grove City, but Coffman managed only three hits.
"It was exciting," Anspach said. "We built off of (the home run), we played defense and kept battling at the plate."
Anspach, who led the team in home runs with seven and RBI with 30, should be among the key returnees next season, as should junior pitcher Kelsi Anderson. Anderson was among the area strikeout leaders with 118 during the regular season.
Senior second baseman Caroline Stukey batted over .400 to lead the Shamrocks.
She led a six-member senior class that also featured Maddi Luke (P), Sophie Maggs (1B/OF) and Marley McDonald (C).
Juniors Michaela McCreavy (C/designated player), Haley Newland (CF) and Lizzie Werth (P) and sophomores Taylor Airy (1B) and Allie Kelly (3B) should be other top returnees for Coffman, which went 7-3 in the OCC-Central Division to tie Upper Arlington for second behind Marysville (9-1).
Anspach is excited about the group of freshmen that joined the program as well and is confident that the Shamrocks will "be really good the next couple years."
"We had goals of competing for the OCC title, and we finished second," Tillman said. "(We wanted to be) competing for a district title, we were runners-up. We now know with the talent we have coming through, this I where want to be every year. You could tell (Grove City was) used to this stage. We were not quite used to this stage yet. A couple things went well for them early and that's the difference in the game."
Track teams move on to regional meet
Members of the track and field teams are competing in the Division I regional meet, which began May 22 and concludes Friday, May 24, at Pickerington North.
Senior Isabelle Angerman led the girls team in the district 2 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby, finishing first in the 300-meter hurdles (45.42 seconds) and third in the 100 hurdles (15.16) and teaming with Lydia Ainsworth, Sarah Donnelly and Abigail Collier on the second-place 1,600 relay (4:04.66) and Katelyn Brand, Kendal Kolba and Hallie Mitchell on the fourth-place 800 relay (1:45.28).
Angerman, last year's state runner-up in the 300 hurdles, missed part of regular season with an injury.
Karlee North also captured a district title, finishing first in the pole vault (12 feet, 1 inch).
Also qualifying for regional were Brand in the 100 (third, 12.5) and 200 (third, 26.09), Ashley Fitzgerald in the high jump (third, 5-1), the 3,200 relay of Ainsworth, Madeline Erwin, Abigail Scherer and Madeline Scherer (third, 9:56.14), Collier in the 400 (fourth, 1:01.68) and Abigail Scherer in the 800 (fourth, 2:27.62).
Placing fifth to fall one spot shy of advancing were Erwin in the 3,200 (12:35.66), Samia Juras in the high jump (4-11) and the 400 relay of Elli Young-Peters, SeRaye Bray, Kolba and Mitchell (50.4).
The Shamrocks scored 99 points at district to finish runner-up of 14 teams, behind Gahanna (186).
Earning titles for the boys team in the 17-team district 1 meet were Jameel Williamson in the 400 (48.81) and Derek Van Vlerah in the high jump (6-4).
Placing second were the 800 relay of Michael Ching, Dustin Drye, Josh Page and Williamson (1:28.62) and the 1,600 relay of Ricky Pinney, Ching, Page and Williamson (3:19.21).
Also advancing were Page in the 400 (third, 49.16) and Alex Dediu in the 1,600 (fourth, 4:21.26).
The Shamrocks finished third (60.5) at district behind Pickerington Central (137) and Lancaster (73).
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Boys volleyball team advances in tourney
The sixth-seeded boys volleyball team opened the Division I East Region tournament with a 25-11, 25-14, 25-11 win over 13th-seeded Westerville Central on May 18 to improve to 12-2.
The Shamrocks played eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a regional semifinal May 21, with the winner playing top-seeded Darby or 11th-seeded Pickerington Central in the regional final Friday, May 24, at Darby. The regional champion advances to a state quarterfinal June 1 at Capital.
Boys lacrosse team makes regional semi
The top-seeded boys lacrosse team played host to fifth-seeded Medina in a Division I, Region 1 semifinal May 21.
The winner faces second-seeded Jerome or sixth-seeded Olentangy in the regional final Friday, May 24, at a neutral site. The regional champion plays Cleveland St. Ignatius, North Canton Hoover, Shaker Heights or Lakewood St. Edward in a state semifinal Tuesday, May 28, at a neutral site.
The state final is June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan.
Coffman opened the postseason by beating 16th-seeded Westerville South 25-1 on May 14 and defeated eighth-seeded Strongsville 22-2 in a regional quarterfinal May 17 to improve to 18-1.
Evan James scored five goals, Ethan Tyack scored four and Nick Harris scored three against South, while James had eight goals and Harris scored three against Strongsville.
Girls lacrosse team ousted by Irish
The fourth-seeded girls lacrosse team lost to fifth-seeded Scioto 14-9 in a Division I, Region 3 quarterfinal May 17 to finish 13-7.
Renae Tonon and Delaney Murray each scored four goals for the Shamrocks, who also lost to the Irish 10-9 on May 9 to close the regular season.
Most of tennis team expected to return
Of the five members of the boys tennis team who competed at the Division I district tournament May 16 at Reynoldsburg, all but one is eligible to return.
The only senior was Cobie Frank, who teamed with sophomore Sanjay Janardhan to lose to Jerome's Andrew Dvorkin and Tanish Pairu 6-0, 6-2 in a first-round match in doubles.
Sophomore Luke Ritchie, who played first singles, lost in the first round to New Albany's Ryan Mudre 6-0, 6-4.
The other district qualifiers were sophomores Anton Bakunin and Siddharth Rajagopal, who lost to Olentangy Orange's Alex Heiden and Soham Pradhan 6-0, 6-1 in the first round in doubles.
Mudre went on to qualify for state for the second consecutive season and Heiden and Pradhan won the district title in doubles.
"Last year, we didn't get anybody through (to district), so to have (two doubles teams and a singles player) through is awesome," coach Brett Hundertpfund said.
Ritchie, a transfer from Watterson, reached district for the first time.
The other sectional competitors for the Shamrocks were junior Peter Lin and sophomore William Sun, each of whom lost in a quarterfinal in singles.
Also eligible to return is junior Matt Yuan.
The Shamrocks went 8-6 overall and lost to Upper Arlington 4-1 on April 23 to finish second in the OCC-Central at 3-1, behind the Golden Bears (4-0). That match also represented a third-round match in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association district team tournament.
Baseball team losing large senior class
The 10th-seeded baseball team lost to 30th-seeded Pickerington Central 6-4 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 15 at home to finish 16-11 overall.
The Shamrocks, who went 9-6 in the OCC-Central to finish third behind UA (13-2) and Marysville (10-5), are losing 18 seniors.
"I don't think we underachieved, but we didn't meet expectations," coach Tim Saunders said. "We just didn't finish, whether it was that we didn't get a key hit or we just didn't field a ball. We had holes that showed up in different spots, which is disappointing because it's a great group of kids. This was a best-buddy type of group."
Among the seniors was Luke Bartemes (1B/P), who batted .365 with 12 RBI and was 4-2 on the mound with a 1.58 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings.
Senior Ryan Ebeling was 2-3 with a 1.91 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings, senior Ben Hall was 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA and senior Anthony Villella had a 2.72 ERA in 18 innings. Ebeling has committed to Ohio Wesleyan.
Other key seniors included James Bartman (C), Alex Dluzynski (OF), Matt Dorenkott (OF/P), Spencer Eiselt (3B), Grant Guetle (2B), Ethan Hetzel (OF/P), Bryce Hostetler (1B/P) and Phillip Perez (SS/P).
Dluzynski had a team-high .411 batting average, Bartman led the team in RBI with 16 and Eiselt led in runs scored with 19.
The top returnee should be sophomore catcher Nathan Kassis, who batted .351.
Others eligible to return include juniors Connor Coyan (P/3B), Jaiden Proper (OF/P), Jacob Rust (P/OF), Ben Sarver (P) and Ethan Simpson (SS/3B). Sarver had a 2.74 ERA in 15 1/3 innings.
"Our sophomore catcher, Nathan Kassis, will be a good player," Saunders said. "This was a senior class we'll miss. It was a good year."