Another year, another title for the Whetstone High School baseball team.
The Braves rolled past host Briggs 12-0 in five innings May 24 to win their eighth consecutive City League championship.
Whetstone, which went 11-1 in the City-North to share the title with Centennial, scored seven runs in the second inning against Briggs, the City-South champion.
"We hit the ball extremely well, pitched well and didn't make an error, and when you do those things, it always leads to success," said coach Tim Broskie, whose team finished 18-7 overall and won its ninth consecutive City-North title. "Our two seniors, who have led us all year, went out with a bang and helped us extend our streak. It was a great ending for them."
Senior Jacob Price started on the mound against Briggs, allowing just two hits and a walk and striking out seven. He also went 2-for-2 with two walks and scored two runs. Senior Jeffrey Golding (1B/P) was 2-for-4 and scored two runs.
Sophomore Alex Hurd (2B/SS) was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two stolen bases, junior Ben Paugh (P/RF) went 2-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases, sophomore Jake Hoffman (LF) went 2-for-4 and junior Aidan Stephens (DH/P) drove in two runs.
Golding and Price both were named first-team all-league and Golding was honorable mention all-district.
Golding batted a team-best .406 with 30 runs and 21 RBI and was 4-3 on the mound with a 3.28 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 32 innings and Price batted .403 with 10 doubles, 32 runs and a team-best 40 RBI and was 2-2 with a save and a 2.01 ERA in 24 1/3 innings.
Paugh was 4-2 with one save, a 2.39 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 41 innings and batted .384 with two home runs, 31 runs and 26 RBI. He was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Hurd (.354, team-best 35 runs, 18 RBI), junior Alex Timmons (CF; .306, 25 runs, 27 RBI) and sophomore John Longar (3B; .304, 22 runs, 15 RBI) all were second-team all-league, and Hoffman (.327, 26 runs) and Stephens (.355) were honorable mention all-league.
Also expected to return are sophomores Zach Casto (P/1B) and Dominic Panzo (C/P). Casto batted .372 with 22 runs and 22 RBI and was 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 innings, and Panzo hit .283 with 23 runs and 19 RBI and was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 innings.
Panzo was second-team all-league.
"We knew it would be tough for us to continue our streak this year because we were a pretty young team, but we had strong senior leadership and everyone picked up their game as we moved along," Broskie said.
"Overall, we should be a lot more experienced next year, but we will miss two guys who have meant a lot to this program through the years."
City, district meets highlights for boys
A third-place finish in the City League meet and scoring in five events in the Division I, district 2 meet were among the highlights for the boys track and field team.
The Braves' season ended in the regional meet that concluded May 24 at Pickerington North, where their lone representative, sophomore Brack Dillon, finished ninth in the 400 meters in 50.78 seconds.
"I'm very happy with the season we had," coach Joe Monda said. "I thought that we reached our potential at the City championship and we really had a good district. We knew that if we had injuries that our depth was an issue and that may have prevented us from advancing a couple more events to the regional, but I'm very pleased with the progress we made this year."
Dillon finished third in the 400 (50.18) at district, which concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby.
Also scoring at district were junior Hassan Sesay in the 400 (seventh, 51.27), the 400 relay of junior Rashaun Broomfield, senior Edmund Michel, junior Ibrahim Bangura and senior Elnah Siaway (seventh, 44.01), the 1,600 relay of Sesay, sophomore Abdouraham Sallah, Dillon and Siaway (seventh, 3:28.39) and sophomore Thaine Nederveld in the 1,600 (eighth, 4:39.89).
Sophomore Matthew Conroy finished 10th in the 1,600 (4:41.43).
The Braves scored 74 points in the City meet May 7 and 9 at Africentric to finish behind Eastmoor Academy (115) and Walnut Ridge (80.5). Winning league titles were Dillon in the 400 (49.69), the 1,600 relay of Dillon, Adams, Sesay and Siaway (3:26.45) and the 3,200 relay of Dillon, Adams, Nederveld and Conroy (8:29.56).
Lisi resigns as coach of two girls teams
Chris Lisi has stepped down as coach of the girls track and field and girls bowling teams.
Lisi, who is retiring after teaching a combined 33 years at Whetstone and Dominion Middle School, guided the girls track program for four seasons and headed the girls bowling team for five seasons.
He also was a longtime assistant football coach and spent a combined nine years as an assistant with the boys basketball and girls basketball teams.
"I'm going to miss all the relationships the most," Lisi said. "But when you start teaching and coaching kids of some of your past players, it's time (to retire). Unfortunately, (the girls track team) didn't go out with a strong season like I hoped we would, but we had a lot of injuries. We didn't come close to reaching our potential as a team due to a high injury count. Our track is in disrepair and the (school) district has no plans to replace it and I believe that's a big part of the injury troubles we've had."
The girls team ended its season at the Division I, district 2 meet and finished eighth (27) in the City meet behind champion Northland (140). The Braves are losing just two seniors in Mariyanna Lacy and Julia Carney.
"There will be high expectations for the trio of freshman Mataya Stokes and sophomores Mira Dush and Julian Calderone in the next few years," Lisi said. "Junior Eder Malley and sophomore Jane Carney will also have to elevate their performances.
"We have to find some competitive distance runners. We went from two average ones the year before to none this year, partially due to injuries and non-returnees."