Softball: Dublin Coffman Shamrocks looking to pick up where they left off in 2019

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Coffman softball coach Scott Tillman has a team that is short on varsity experience but not talent.
“Most seasons I’ve had a good idea shortly after tryouts of who my starters will be,” he said. “This year the competition has been much more intense.”

Although his team went 15-15 in 2019, Dublin Coffman softball coach Scott Tillman believes its Division I district runner-up finish might have been a sign of things to come. 

The biggest reason for his confidence had to do with his freshman class that season. 

Although that group didn’t get to play last spring when the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, there are now 14 juniors on the team. 

Coffman has never won a district title and its most recent appearance in a district final before 2019 came in 2009.

“Most seasons I’ve had a good idea shortly after tryouts of who my starters will be,” Tillman said. “This year the competition has been much more intense. …

“While the team is inexperienced at the varsity level, we have a lot of talent. The team is very close and they have really good chemistry. I think we’re a talented enough team to compete for (the OCC-Central Division) title and make it back to districts.” 

Seniors Taylor Airy (1B) and Allie Kelly (2B/3B) are the only returning starters from 2019. 

Junior Maya Miles will be the No. 1 pitcher followed by senior Leah Montgomery, with junior Hannah Slater and sophomore Kenzie Palmer also serving as options in the circle. 

Junior Jamie Hamed is at shortstop, with Kelly splitting time at second with junior Sidney Dosch and at third with junior Julia Kassis. 

Junior Marti Henkel is the catcher and junior Taylor Covington should provide strong defense in center field, according to Tillman. Slater will be in the outfield when she’s not pitching. 

Seniors Grace Cady (OF/C) and Emma Rice (OF) and juniors Cara Bartemes (OF), Autumn Broyles (OF), Lily Foster (C), Meg Levins (1B), Ella Olberding (OF), Autumn Owen (OF) and Sophia Sims (2B) are others competing for playing time. 

INSIDE THE SHAMROCKS 

Coach: Scott Tillman, seventh season 

Next game: April 8 vs. Hilliard Darby 

Key athletes: Taylor Airy, Taylor Covington, Sidney Dosch, Jamie Hamed, Marti Henkel, Julia Kassis, Allie Kelly, Maya Miles and Hannah Slater 

Celtics getting fresh 

start under McCartney 

Brooke McCartney was in her second season as Urbana University’s coach on April 21, 2020, when the school abruptly announced that it was closing. 

Also formerly an assistant at Ohio Dominican and Defiance, McCartney has taken over at Jerome for Alyssa Kelley. 

Kelley led the Celtics from 2015-19, and in her final season they improved by five wins from the previous year to finish 16-11. 

“It’s been going really well,” McCartney said. “It’s a good group of kids and a fun group to work with. It’s going to be a growing season to be sure. We’re definitely a younger team and there’s definitely going to be a big learning curve with the culture that’s coming in.” 

Seniors Shelby Craig (1B) and Amaris Lowery (SS) and juniors Rachel Jarrett (C) and Kylyn Smith (utility) were contributors in 2019. 

The other senior is Sam Perry, who is expected to be the No. 1 pitcher. 

Sophomore Jen Hicks will be at second base, with sophomore Izzy Damewood in the outfield. Juniors Ciara Reitz (OF) and Caroline Gross (utility/P) also should be key contributors.

Freshman Lilly Niehaus will serve in a utility role, with juniors Ashley Belu (OF) and Paige Harmon (1B/utility), sophomores Dylan Haines (P) and Grace Williams (utility) and freshman Delayney Stoner (utility) also looking for playing time. 

INSIDE THE CELTICS 

Coach: Brooke McCartney, first season 

Next game: April 8 at Granville 

Key athletes: Shelby Craig, Izzy Damewood, Caroline Gross, Rachel Jarrett, Jen Hicks, Amaris Lowery, Sam Perry, Ciara Reitz and Kylyn Smith 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Irish coach

feeling optimistic 

Scioto coach Brooke Ott expects to see progress in her second season. 

The Irish opened by defeating Thomas Worthington 11-9 on March 27 and Whetstone 13-6 on March 30. 

“I’m glad to finally be back out here and see what these guys can do,” Ott said. “We’re playing for each other because they know it can be taken away at any moment. It’s so nice to start with a win.” 

Junior Madi Comstock batted .342 as a freshman and should help anchor the defense at second base. 

Seniors Lacey Henry (OF) and Alexis Hoover (SS) and juniors Erin Bush (3B) and Caroline Piatt (C/3B) also return from 2019. 

Sophomore Taylor Henry has emerged as the starting pitcher. 

“Taylor has potential,” Ott said. “She really cares about softball. Softball is a huge priority to her. She put a lot of effort in over the offseason. She started going to a pitching coach. She definitely has a lot of heart in the game.” 

Other starters have included junior Sadie Jauregui (OF), sophomore Isabella Jauregui (C) and freshman Faith Kinzer (OF). 

“We’re trying to get honed in on who’s starting for us,” Ott said. “We still have a lot of people on the bench who we’d like to get in and see what they can do.” 

The Irish are playing in the OCC-Capital with Big Walnut, Canal Winchester, Delaware, Franklin Heights, Westerville North, Westerville South and Worthington Kilbourne. They opened league play April 7 against South. 

INSIDE THE IRISH 

Coach: Brooke Ott, second season 

Next game: April 8 at Kilbourne 

Key athletes: Madi Comstock, Erin Bush, Lacey Henry and Taylor Henry 

—Frank DiRenna

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