Grandview Heights Roundup: Emma Murphy, Sami Swartz help steady Bobcats softball team
Emma Murphy and Sami Swartz have been paramount in coach Kristy Mason’s return to leading the Grandview Heights softball program.
The two seniors have done everything they could to help bring along a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores who missed out on their first high school season last spring because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Mason was an assistant for two seasons under previous coach Tori Lynch. She also led the program from 2002-08.
“Both Emma and Sami are amazing to the team with their leadership, even off the field,” said Mason, whose team was 3-14 overall and 2-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division after defeating Wellington 20-6 in five innings April 28. “They are so positive with the team. In games in which we are struggling, they keep us going. They are super-amazing on and off the field. I couldn’t ask for better leadership.”
Murphy has played shortstop and third base, leading the Bobcats in batting average (.485), on-base percentage (.659), home runs (2), RBI (12) and doubles (6) through 16 games. She also had 13 runs, one triple and seven stolen bases.
“I have been pretty comfortable in a leadership role,” Murphy said. “I had strong leaders before me that showed me how I should lead.
“We have been playing so long that it’s easier for us to see things that the younger girls might not see. I think being a good leader is being able to critique but also being able to give that as positive feedback.”
Swartz has committed to Mount Union and likely will be a catcher or a utility player for the Purple Raiders. With the Bobcats, she has moved from behind the plate to the pitching circle to help fill a need for the team.
“Sami has been pitching when she normally is catching for us,” Mason said. “I wish she could pitch and be her own catcher.
“Emma plays shortstop or third, wherever we need her. She’s such a clutch player for us, and she really makes things happen.”
Swartz led the Bobcats with 21 runs, four triples and 16 stolen bases. She also had a .419 batting average with seven RBI, five doubles and a .510 on-base percentage.
“There are a couple of girls that I have been trying to get their bats to come around,” Swartz said. “There can be a lot of pressure in the (batter’s) box. I know for some of them it’s the first time seeing 60 mph balls being thrown to them full face so it can be scary. I’m just showing them how to be confident and strong in the box.”
Mason said Murphy and Swartz are like assistant coaches, especially during the offseason.
“Emma and Sami were 100 percent involved in the offseason and helped in recruiting players for us from the hallways,” Mason said. “They came in and ran the open gyms during the no-contact periods for coaches. They are so good at what they do, and the underclassmen look up to them. They took what they said to heart.”
Murphy plans to have a double major in archeology and chemistry at Boston University, but she won’t be playing softball in college.
“We have had to step up and make sure everyone knows what they are doing,” she said. “Now everyone knows what they have to do. They’re young and they haven’t done it before at the varsity level or really anywhere in high school. It’s different.
“I don’t feel any pressure (as a leader) because we have three other amazing seniors (in Maggie Lyon, Millie McNamara and Swartz) to help me, and we shoulder a lot of responsibility. The coaches encourage us to step up and we even have some juniors stepping up. We are here to help each other and that helps with team bonding and playing.”
Sophomore Jackson Larson has been leading the way for the baseball team.
He tossed a five-inning no-hitter in a 14-0 win over Wellington on April 28, as the Bobcats improved to 3-14 overall and 3-8 in the MSL-Ohio. He had nine strikeouts and one walk while throwing 58 pitches as he improved to 2-3 with a 4.13 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 13 walks in 20 1/3 innings.
Through 17 games, Larson was Grandview’s leader in most offensive categories, including batting average (.375), home runs (1), RBI (17), runs (17) and doubles (5). He also had a .453 on-base percentage and three stolen bases, which was tied for the team lead with Johnny Clark.
Clark was batting .326 with eight RBI, 11 runs and a team-high .456 on-base-percentage. The senior also led the Bobcats on the mound, going 0-2 with a 1.62 ERA, 22 strikeouts and seven walks in 17 1/3 innings.
Sophomore Max Mott had a .304 batting average with 13 RBI and six runs.
Boys track team wins
Derek Amicon won the 1,600 meters in a meet-record 4 minutes, 27.97 seconds to help lead the boys track and field squad to the team championship in the six-team Bobcat Booster Invitational on April 23.
The boys scored 115 points to edge runner-up Mount Gilead (109).
Matthew Taylor won the discus (126 feet, 5 inches) and shot put (40-5 3/4), and Collin Haj Abed finished first in the long jump (21-1) and 110 hurdles (15.68).
Connor McCormick won the pole vault (13-0), and the 400 relay of Tristin Pierce, Mikael Black, Henry Murphy and P.J. Tingler was first in 46.37.
The girls team finished third (92) behind Bexley (162) and Jonathan Alder (161).
Hannah Yochem was first in the 100 hurdles (17.62) and 300 hurdles (50.62), and Tayler Pierce won the high jump (5-1).
The MSL-Ohio meet is May 11 and 14 at Whitehall.