Notebook: Grove City Christian Eagles baseball team showing improvement

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Grove City Christian's Joseph Phillips slides safely into second base past Millersport's Mason Reynolds during the Eagles' 11-7 home loss April 26. Phillips scored a team-high 10 runs through 11 games.

The Grove City Christian baseball team responded with a pair of strong efforts following its second delay of the season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Eagles hope it was a sign of things to come with the postseason approaching. The Division IV district tournament drawing is May 9.

After opening their schedule with a 15-1, five-inning loss to Millersport on April 9, the Eagles led 7-3 after two innings in the rematch before falling 11-7 to the Lakers on April 26.

“We competed a lot better than last time,” coach A.J. McCampbell said. “It’s not fun to lose ever, but we showed improvement from the last time we played them — 15-1 versus 11-7 — and in a lot of ways (had) a chance to win the game. That’s a huge improvement, but we still have a decent way to go. Our mantra from this point on is it’s about us, not about other teams.” 

Grove City Christian then beat Harvest Prep 26-0 in five innings April 27 at home. The Eagles scored 13 runs in the third, and Josh Lautenschleger and Evan Hanks each finished with two hits. 

Grove City Christian was 3-8 overall and 3-4 in the MSL-Cardinal Division before playing Fairfield Christian on April 30. 

Through 11 games, Connor Benson was hitting .429 and led the Eagles in RBI (9) and doubles (2), and Joseph Phillips had scored a team-high 10 runs. 

Benson also was 2-1 with a 3.59 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 11 walks in 13 2/3 innings. 

“We’re just in a sprint of finishing (the season) and trying to take it day by day, play better the next day than the day before and control what we have ahead of us,” McCampbell said. 

The MSL-Cardinal was well represented in the Division IV district poll released April 26, with Fisher Catholic second, Berne Union third and Millersport fifth. 

“Our league is a battle,” McCampbell said. “It’s pretty typical every year when it comes to teams being pretty high up in the district.” 

•The Grove City baseball team remained in the OCC-Ohio title chase entering its game April 30 against Westland. 

The Greyhounds were 12-4 overall and 6-2 in the league after avenging an 8-0 loss to Gahanna on April 26 by beating the Lions 12-6 on April 28. 

“We’ve had a couple of setbacks this year, so our guys know how we have to play if we’re going to be successful,” coach Ryan Alexander said. “They’re all on the same page.” 

Entering play April 30, Gahanna and Westerville Central both were 5-3 in the OCC-Ohio. 

“All of these other four teams in our league have all been to the (state tournament) in the last 10 years,” Alexander said of Gahanna, Westerville Central, New Albany and Pickerington North. “That’s pretty crazy.” 

New Albany was second and Grove City was third in the Division I district poll released April 26. 

Through 14 games, Ty Clifton was hitting .484, followed by Sam Roy (.477), Dennis Ritlinger-Nirider (.383) and Keegan Holmstrom (.375). Ritlinger-Nirider led in RBI (13). 

On the mound, Ethan Conley was 5-4 and had a 2.02 ERA with 26 strikeouts and seven walks in 27 2/3 innings. 

—Frank DiRenna 

•The Grove City boys tennis team continues to be led by its first- and second-singles players. 

Abraham Hougland (first singles) and Jesse Stevens (second singles) both were 9-3 entering the Greyhounds’ match against Lancaster on April 29. 

Grove City was 8-4 overall and finished 1-3 in the OCC-Ohio. The Greyhounds beat Hilliard Darby 3-2 on April 28 and Central Crossing 5-0 on April 27. 

“I’m really excited to see us perform over the next couple of weeks and into sectional,” coach Josh Chandler said. “Our team is really improving and getting better at the right time.” 

The Division I sectional tournaments will be held May 11, 13 and 15 at Reynoldsburg and May 13 and 15 at Hilliard Bradley and Pickerington Central. 

—Frank DiRenna

•Benton Amon and Hayden Thompson led the Central Crossing baseball team at the plate through 16 games.

Amon was batting a team-high .542 with a team-leading .686 on-base percentage while driving in seven and scoring six times for the Comets, who were 9-7 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Reynoldsburg on April 28. 

Thompson was hitting .400 with nine RBI, 14 runs, six stolen bases and a .474 on-base percentage.

Marcus Loring was batting .382 and had a team-high 14 RBI to go with 13 runs, seven doubles and six stolen bases. On the mound, he was 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 14 walks in 35 2/3 innings.

Chance Woods was batting .364 with seven RBI, 17 runs and a team-leading seven stolen bases, and Angel Abreu had a .333 batting average with 11 RBI and six runs. Kyle Martin was hitting .313 with four RBI and 11 runs, and Quintin Amon was hitting .286 with seven RBI and a team-leading 21 runs.

—Scott Hennen

Central Crossing's Cassidy Pfeiffer was batting .321 with four RBI, seven runs, six stolen bases and a team-leading seven doubles through 18 games.

•Brianna Garner has been the top batter for the Central Crossing softball team, which was 1-18 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Newark on April 28.

Through 18 games, Garner led the Comets with a .348 batting average, one home run, nine RBI, 14 runs, a .455 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. The sophomore also had six stolen bases. 

Freshman Cassidy Pfeiffer was batting .321 with four RBI, seven runs, six stolen bases and a team-leading seven doubles.

Junior Bella MacKellar had a .297 batting average with five RBI and eight runs.

—Scott Hennen

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