Big Walnut Roundup: Golden Eagles softball squad building momentum

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Abigail Weiss was batting .350 with two home runs and 13 RBI through 14 games for Big Walnut. She also has improved in the circle by throwing more strikes and walking fewer batters, coach Jerry Hatcher said.

First-year Big Walnut softball coach Jerry Hatcher hopes the momentum continues into the second half of the season.

After being outscored 89-22 in seven consecutive losses to start the season, the Golden Eagles’ 13-3 victory over Dublin Scioto on April 19 marked the fifth win in their last seven games.

Big Walnut was 5-9 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Canal Winchester on April 22.

Hatcher specifically noted the progress of senior pitcher Abigail Weiss, who had five strikeouts and allowed an earned run in five innings against Scioto.

“She’s been getting better and better each time out,” he said. “Earlier in the year, she was walking four or five a game and going high in the count a lot, which is a recipe for disaster.”

Big Walnut’s No. 2 pitcher, Allyson Truax, tossed a complete game in a 5-4 victory over Sparta Highland in the second game of a doubleheader April 17. She allowed two runs with a strikeout and no walks.

The Golden Eagles lost the first game 2-0 in nine innings.

“It was nice to see her throw seven innings against a good-hitting Sparta Highland team,” Hatcher said. “That was a really good outing for her. She had only thrown a few innings at a time prior to that.”

While Big Walnut’s lineup has five seniors, only one, shortstop Arielle Brown, had varsity experience entering the season.

Brown was leading the Golden Eagles’ offense through 14 games, batting .500 with nine doubles, three home runs and 16 RBI.

Weiss (.350, 2 homers, 13 RBI), first baseman Audrey Justice (.357, 10 RBI), outfielder Jordan Walters (.356, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 9 RBI) and outfielder Janel Hayes (.321, 1 double, 6 RBI) were among the other top hitters.

Big Walnut had a .328 team batting average.

Senior leadership 

guides baseball team

A group of 11 seniors has helped the baseball team secure a winning record midway through the season.

The Golden Eagles were 6-5 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Capital after losing to Westerville South 10-3 on April 20.

Big Walnut defeated the Wildcats 3-0 on April 19, marking the fourth victory in five games.

“It has been a tremendous pleasure to watch each one step up and support one another,” coach Jack Schone said. “We all want to win, right? This group of kids has already done that no matter what the wins and losses say. I’m looking forward to seeing how we do the second half of this season.”

Senior pitcher Drew Beckner has been a leader on the mound and at the plate.

The University of Charleston recruit was 1-1 with a 0.97 ERA in 14 innings and was batting .524 with two doubles and a triple.

Seniors Ethan Benjamin (2-0, 0.80 ERA, 8 2/3 innings) and Cameron Drake (2-0, 2.71 ERA, 10 innings) were undefeated in pitching appearances.

Sophomore shortstop Drew Gaskins (.371), senior outfielder Brady Hershberger (.324, 4 doubles), sophomore outfielder Cameron Gladden (.314) and sophomore infielder Collin Pierce (.305, 1 home run) also were among the offensive leaders through 10 games.

Theisen named 

girls soccer coach

Kathe Theisen has been named girls soccer coach, pending school board approval, athletics director Brian Shelton announced.

Theisen would succeed Chris Allen, who was hired in March to lead the Olentangy Liberty girls program.

“We were fortunate to find a coach that has a wealth of experience coaching girls soccer,” Shelton said. “Coach Theisen has 20-plus years of coaching experience, including time at both the high school and upper club level. Coach Theisen is clearly an energetic person, and she has a passion for coaching soccer.”

Theisen spent the last four years as assistant for the Gahanna girls program.

She also coaches with the Freedom Soccer Club and spent seven years coaching with the state’s Ohio South Youth Soccer Association/U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program for high-level players.

Allen served as the Big Walnut girls coach the last three seasons, guiding the program to a 32-17-8 record that included reaching a Division II state semifinal in 2018 and winning an OCC-Capital Division title in 2019.

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports