A postseason already filled with drama for the Gahanna Lincoln High School baseball team included more of the same during a Division I district final May 22 against New Albany at Ohio Dominican.
On May 15 in the second round of the district tournament, the fifth-seeded Lions blew a five-run lead, came back to tie it at 7 and scored the final run in the bottom of the seventh for an 8-7 win over 37th-seeded Thomas Worthington.
Then on May 20 in a district semifinal at Olentangy, Gahanna allowed seven runs in the first inning before coming back to beat 15th-seeded Central Crossing 10-9.
Against top-seeded New Albany, junior pitcher Mason Weber matched Eagles starter Mike Sokol throughout a game that remained scoreless until the bottom of the seventh when Weber gave up the only run in a 1-0 loss on a bases-loaded single by Nick Shroyer.
Gahanna finished 19-8 overall.
"I knew it would be a tight ballgame," coach Mike Shade said. "I knew that pitching was going to be premium and we had to try to scratch for a couple runs. I thought if we could, we had a chance, but (Sokol) was very good today. (Weber is) just a competitor. He's around the plate, he changes his locations well and usually hits his spots. He's just a bulldog on the hill. He's a battler, that's the bottom line. He wants the baseball every day and he rose to the occasion. I'm proud of him."
Gahanna managed just two hits -- one by junior Alex Streitenberger and one by junior Luke Baker -- against Sokol.
Sophomore Zach Marzetz started against Central Crossing but was unable to get out of the first. The Lions, however, answered with one run in the bottom of the first and three in the second to cut their deficit to 7-4 and scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-7 lead.
Central Crossing scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 9-8 lead but the Lions tied it on a two-out RBI double by senior Noah Laurent and scored the game-winner on an RBI double by senior Chase Coleman.
"It was awesome," Laurent said. "We strung together a few hits and also had some walks to put some runners on and we were only down three because we had a couple big innings. We just thought we still had the whole game (to come back) and that was our mindset the whole time."
The Lions, who went 10-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division to place second behind Lancaster (12-3), are losing seven seniors, led by Coleman (2B), Jacob Hymrod (C), Laurent (SS), Ryan McMurray (P) and Dylan Swenson (P).
Junior Max Bowman (LF) was one of the team's top hitters along with Laurent and both made first-team all-league. Streitenberger (INF) and Evan Wolf (OF) were second-team all-league, junior John Belli (1B) was special mention all-league and Baker (OF/1B) was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return include juniors Jack McNulty (P), Blake Reed (C), Jacob Shute (P) and Darius Whitfield (OF).
"We have very good athletes that work very hard, great kids that love the game and go out to battle," Shade said. "They set the expectations. They have high expectations of themselves and they hold the bar very high. Consequently, we've been successful because of that."
Track athletes compete at regional
Members of the track and field teams competed in the Division I regional meet May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North.
On the first day at regional, three individuals and one relay for the girls team and one relay for the boys team finished in the top four to advance to the state meet Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
Qualifying for state May 22 for the girls team were Faith Hunter in the high jump (second, 5 feet, 6 inches), Brooke Johnson in the shot put (second, 43-9 1/2), Lacey Stringer in the shot put (third, 42-10, 1/2) and the 3,200-meter relay of Alexis Thigpen, Shynae Deas, Meghan Massmann and Madison Martinez (second, 9 minutes, 10.71 seconds).
Also competing in a final May 22 was Sophia Hill, who finished 14th in the high jump (5-0).
Advancing to state May 22 for the boys team was the 3,200 relay of Donovan Hight, Riley Jackson, Ben Towler and Caleb Shovlin (fourth, 7:57.2).
Also competing at regional for the girls were Joi Bradley in the 200 and 400, Sara Buckner in the 3,200, Ciarra Carter in the long jump, Johnson in the discus, Bronte Johnson in the discus, Amanda Lee in the 100 hurdles, Martinez in the 800, Massmann in the 800, Alyssa Shope in the 1,600, Lauren Stringer in the 300 hurdles, Thigpen in the 400, the 400 relay, the 800 relay and the 1,600 relay.
The other boys competitors at regional were Lee Bennett in the 100, Jackson in the 3,200, Ache' Sanchez-Baccus in the shot put, Towler in the 1,600, Kelly Wilson in the 110 hurdles and the 800 relay.
Softball season ends at regional
For the second consecutive season, the softball team had its season end with a loss in a Division I regional semifinal.
On May 22 at Ohio State, the Lions lost to Mount Vernon 8-5 to finish 17-10 overall.
The Yellow Jackets built an 8-0 lead. The Lions scored all five of their runs in the bottom of the seventh, including three on a triple by senior shortstop Molly Troutman.
"This team has been special because we refuse to give up," Troutman said. "There's a ton of fight and grit to this team. You can never count us out."
The Lions went 6-4 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Grove City for third behind co-champions Lancaster and Pickerington Central (8-2), but they followed that with their 10th district title in 12 seasons, including their seventh in a row, with a 4-0 victory over Watterson in a district final May 17 at Central.
Gahanna is losing six seniors, including Audra Ledbetter (RF), Sam Lindsey (1B/P), Alaina Marcum (3B), Lauren Ringhiser (P/OF) and Ashley Waters (2B).
Juniors Caroline Heller (C) and Sydney Neville (OF), sophomores Kelsey Cripe (OF), Danielle Shoulders (OF) and Emma Upton (OF) and freshman Juju Morris (CF) are expected to be the top returnees. Sophomore Claire Malling was another who saw time at pitcher.
"I'm proud of our girls," coach Jim Campolo said. "We had our ups and downs. It wasn't one of those years where you knew we were going to be here, but when we get (deep into the postseason), we have an opportunity to win it."
Boys volleyball team ousted by Celtics
The third-seeded boys volleyball team had its season end with a 28-26, 25-17, 25-20 loss to fourth-seeded Dublin Jerome in a Division I East Region semifinal May 21 at Mount Vernon.
The Lions, who had a 21-match winning streak during the regular season and captured the OCC-Ohio title at 14-0, are losing 10 seniors.
"Jerome won because they made less errors than we did," coach Mike Sage said. "We had seven serving errors with only three aces and 17 ball-handling or serve-receive errors."
Senior Mason Milan (outside hitter/right-side hitter) led the team in kills with 249 and serving aces with a program-record 71. Senior Adam Chandoul (outside hitter) had 192 kills and 42 aces.
Senior Logan McDonald (libero) had 243 digs and senior Kurt Klamfoth (middle hitter) had 49 blocks.
Sophomore Logan Burrell (setter) had a program-record 633 assists and sophomore McCord Riegler (right-side hitter) also should be a key returnee.
"The season was outstanding even though we fell short in the tournament," Sage said. "We were two wins short of the all-time record that was set by the state runner-up team in 1991. We return Logan Burrell and McCord Riegler, who both will be juniors next year, and we have many sophomores who were on the (junior varsity) team that will be competing for positions."