Moments after losing to Westerville Central in a Division I regional semifinal, the seniors on the Grove City High School softball team embraced on the field for the final time.
Those five seniors helped lead the Greyhounds to their first district championship since 2014 with a 6-1 win over 19th-seeded Dublin Coffman on May 17 at Pickerington Central.
Grove City finished 21-9 overall with a 2-1 loss to Central on May 22 at Ohio State.
"I'm very proud," said senior outfielder Lauren Walls, whose team was seeded 12th in the district tournament. "We worked our butt off trying to get here and we played a great game. This is a team I'll never forget. We played very well together. No one thought we were going to be here and we worked our butt off to getting here and I'm very proud of everyone."
The regional semifinal was scoreless heading into the sixth inning as Grove City senior Mylie Torres and Central junior Emily Ruck squared off in a pitchers' duel.
Torres delivered the first big hit, leading off the sixth with a home run, but the Warhawks rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning on Cami Compson's RBI triple and Avrey Schumacher's RBI infield single.
Ruck stranded the tying run at third in the seventh, striking out three in the inning to finish with 13 for the game. She allowed four hits.
"We were facing a kid that hadn't lost a game all year, so we knew we had to make the most out of our hits," coach Ted Williams said. "I'm very proud of the way these ladies have played all year long."
Torres went the distance, allowing five hits while striking out three and walking two. She finished the season 16-8 with a 2.51 ERA, 117 strikeouts and 33 walks in 148 innings. She also batted .361 with 15 runs, five doubles, six home runs and 25 RBI.
Sophomore outfielder Maddie Wilcox, who doubled and singled in the regional semifinal, batted .460 with 37 runs, 26 RBI, 10 doubles, nine home runs and 18 stolen bases.
Sophomore shortstop Sydney Sharron batted .376 with 23 runs, five doubles, five home runs and 34 RBI.
Torres and Wilcox were named first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division, senior outfielder Abby Tschiggfrie was second-team all-league, Sharron was special mention all-league and Walls was honorable mention all-league.
Junior first baseman Katelyn DeWeese batted .360 with 24 runs, 14 RBI and six doubles.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Hannah Brode (C), Chloe Clark (P), Anna Papas (3B) and Emma Sigman (OF) and sophomores Chloe Clark (2B), Ginger Sayre (OF), Ashlynn Stinson (P/2B) and (designated player/3B).
Grove City went 6-4 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Gahanna for third behind co-champions Lancaster and Pickerington Central (8-2).
"Anytime you've played your last game it's hard," Williams said. "I don't care if it's a season game, a tournament game or whatever it is. These kids came out and played their butts off for us. ... It's always nice to finish in Akron (in the state tournament), but I'm not disappointed with them and they're not disappointed with themselves."
Track athletes compete at regional
Senior Kingston McKinstry of the boys track and field team concluded his prep career in the Division I regional meet May 22 at Pickerington North.
McKinstry finished sixth in the long jump (21 feet, 11 inches) as the top four in each event advanced to state Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
"I didn't reach my full potential," McKinstry said. "It was a different pit than I'm used to, but that's not an excuse. It was my first time jumping in this pit. It was a different environment for me. ... I'm happy considering I didn't start (long-jumping) until a couple of weeks ago. I'm proud of what I did."
The regional meet concluded May 24.
Also competing for the Greyhounds were Adam Meister in the 800 meters and Morgan Lemponen in the pole vault.