The Hilliard Bradley High School baseball team rebounded from a sluggish start to the season to earn its third Division I district semifinal appearance in as many years thanks to strong efforts on the mound.
The 11th-seeded Jaguars lost six of their first nine games but were 16-12 before playing eighth-seeded Pickerington North in a district semifinal May 21 at Ohio Dominican.
"We had a 3-6 start and then we got on a bit of a roll," coach Nate Hillery said. "We swung the bat well and a lot of that has revolved around our pitching staff -- Luke Barren, Caleb Jenkins and Zach Komlosi. They have been amazing with how few walks they have been giving up."
Through 28 games, the trio had combined to allow just 33 walks in 116 2/3 innings. Barren was 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 11 walks in 63 1/2 innings, Komlosi was 3-2 with a 1.79 ERA, 21 strikeouts and 10 walks in 31 1/2 innings and Jenkins was 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA, 18 strikeouts and 12 walks in 22 innings.
"We have been aggressive and pound the strike zone," Komlosi said. "If you do that, you can be successful."
Barren tossed a four-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk in a 4-3 win over 42nd-seeded Newark in a second-round district tournament game May 15.
"Coach Hillery wanted me to attack hitters because (Newark is) more of a backside kind of team," said Barren, an Otterbein recruit. "I wanted to go middle in and do my job.
"Our pitchers have been throwing the ball well and carry themselves well in tough situations. We have to stay strong mentally and throw strikes."
Bradley led Newark 3-1, only to see the Wildcats rally for two runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game. The Jaguars scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh, as Dillon Ysseldyke led off with a single, Komlosi was inserted as a pinch-runner and Luke Wolfgram-Evans followed with an RBI double to right-center field.
"It means a lot to us," Wolfgram-Evans said of reaching a district semifinal. "A lot of people were doubting us earlier in the year and they didn't think we are as good as we have been. We want to give it our all and go out and prove what every single one of us can do whether we are out on the field or on the bench. There is talent everywhere and we want to show what we can do."
The Bradley-North winner plays second-seeded Lancaster or 14th-seeded Marysville in a district final Thursday, May 23, at a neutral site. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman.
The Jaguars lost to the Golden Gales 5-1 on April 13 but defeated the Monarchs 2-0 on April 1.
Bradley reached a district semifinal for the fifth time, but its only district final appearance came in 2011, when it lost to Jonathan Alder 7-3 in Division II. The Jaguars lost to Pickerington Central 5-1 in a semifinal last spring after losing to Gahanna 10-0 in five innings in a semifinal in 2017.
Levitt leads boys team at district track meet
Caleb Levitt of the boys track and field team reached the Division I regional meet in both the high jump and 110-meter hurdles.
The regional 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.
Levitt placed second in the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) and fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.37 seconds) in the district 3 meet that concluded May 18 at Darby. The top four finishers in each district event advanced to regional.
Also advancing to regional were Kenyon Richardson in the long jump (second, 21-10), Zeke Bennet in the 400 (third, 49.42) and David Metzler in the discus (fourth, 124-11).
The Jaguars scored 45 points at district to finish fifth behind champion Reynoldsburg (104) as 16 teams scored.
The girls team competed in the 17-team district 1 meet that concluded May 18 at Darby.
Advancing to regional was the 1,600 relay of Gracelyn Peebles, Ashley Long, Brittany Amador and Ella Richardson (fourth, 4:07.72).
Long also placed eighth in the 400 (1:02.46) as the Jaguars tied Mifflin for 15th (6) behind champion Darby (106).
Boys volleyball team reaches regional semi
The seventh-seeded boys volleyball team was 15-6 before visiting second-seeded Mount Vernon on May 21 in a Division I East Region semifinal.
The winner plays third-seeded Gahanna or fourth-seeded Dublin Jerome in a regional final Friday, May 24, at Westerville Central. The regional champion advances to a state quarterfinal June 1 at Capital.
Bradley lost to Jerome 25-19, 24-26, 19-25, 25-22, 15-12 on April 4 and 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22 on April 30 in OCC-Cardinal Division play.
The Jaguars opened the postseason May 18 by defeating ninth-seeded Pickerington North 25-27, 27-25, 25-23, 25-21 at Mount Vernon.
Season ends for boys lacrosse team
The 11th-seeded boys lacrosse team lost at 10th-seeded Miamisburg 9-3 on May 14 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament to finish 3-13.
Girls lacrosse team endures learning curve
The girls lacrosse team suffered the growing pains often associated with having a young roster, as it finished 0-18 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The 16th-seeded Jaguars ended their season May 13 with a 15-5 loss to fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament.
Senior attacker Payton Williams had two goals against the Shamrocks. Junior attacker Caroline Rogers and freshman midfielders Hannah Boggs and Gywn Caudy each scored one and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Hires had 11 saves.
Bradley is losing three seniors in Williams, defender Emily Siford and attacker Samy Vawter.
Hires was named honorable mention all-league, totaling 141 saves with a .410 save percentage.