Notebook: Ethan Conley comes through on mound for Grove City Greyhounds
Grove City senior pitcher Ethan Conley delivered a clutch performance in what he called one of the biggest moments of his prep baseball career.
Conley went the distance in leading the Greyhounds to a 2-0 win over 23rd-seeded Dublin Jerome in a Division I district semifinal May 25 at home.
The win propelled third-seeded Grove City into a district final May 27 against sixth-seeded Lancaster. The Greyhounds were seeking their first district championship since 2014.
The district champion plays New Albany in a regional semifinal June 3, with that winner playing Olentangy Berlin, Olentangy Orange or Westerville South in the regional final June 4.
Conley needed 98 pitches to eliminate the Celtics. He allowed three hits while striking out seven and walking two.
“I felt good as the game went on,” he said. “I felt the energy and I just kept rolling. It’s always fun to have the extra crowd here and the energy is up.”
Conley has committed to play at Division II West Liberty University in West Virginia.
“He looked so good (against Jerome),” coach Ryan Alexander said. “I was so happy for him. His college came up to see him. You get nervous when they show up and (wonder) how are you going to perform. Are you going to press a little bit too much, and he was amazing all night.”
Conley helped himself at the plate with two hits, with Ty Clifton and Sam Roy also getting two hits apiece. Clifton and Jackson Ware each had an RBI in a two-run third inning.
Jerome freshman Brayden Krenzel got the start for the Celtics, allowing one earned run and nine hits while striking out seven and walking three in 5 1/3 innings. He is the son of former Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel.
“I thought the Krenzel kid was better than advertised,” Alexander said. “He was strong and kept getting stronger. I thought we had a couple of chances to put him away and we did not execute, but Ethan Conley, (Spencer) Stoll at shortstop, they were lights out and gave us a spark that we had to have.”
Grove City advanced to the district semifinal with a 6-1 win over 29th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the second round May 19.
“We bond so well together,” Conley said. “Ever since the first day of practice, we’ve all been with each other. A lot of us played together when we were younger, so just seeing us all together we’ve really just connected.”
•Since its first season in 2003, the Central Crossing baseball team had never had a Player of the Year in the league, but that changed this spring.
Junior Marquise Loring (SS/2B/P) was named OCC-Buckeye co-Player of the Year, sharing the honor with Lancaster’s Kyle Garber.
Loring, who also was first-team all-district, batted .418 with 20 RBI, 12 doubles, 23 runs and 14 stolen bases. He also was 6-3 with a 3.56 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 22 walks in 61 innings.
“Marquise is the first league Player of the Year we’ve had since we started, and he helped set the tone for a great season,” said coach Scott Todd, who has led the program since its inception. “We finished second to Lancaster, and we gave them their only two league losses.”
The 19th-seeded Comets finished 16-11 overall, losing 12-4 to 33rd-seeded St. Charles on May 19 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. They finished second (11-4) to Lancaster (13-2) in the league.
Junior Chance Woods (SS/P; honorable mention all-district, first-team all-league) hit .383 with 10 RBI, 22 runs, nine doubles, 12 stolen bases and a .471 on-base percentage. He also was 0-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 16 2/3 innings.
Senior Hayden Thompson (1B/OF; .325 batting average, 17 RBI, 19 runs, 9 stolen bases) and junior Quinton Amon (C/DH; .296, 10 RBI, team-high 34 runs) were second team all-league. Senior Benton Amon (C/DH; .420, 12 RBI, 16 runs) was special mention all-league.
Senior pitcher Jackson Phillips (honorable mention all-league) was 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 20 walks in 26 1/3 innings. Junior pitcher Raymond White was 3-2 with a 3.96 ERA, 22 strikeouts and five walks in 35 innings.
Sophomore Angel Abreu (3B) batted .273 with 16 RBI and six runs, and junior Kyle Martin (OF) batted .263 with five RBI and 14 runs. Junior Shane Baas (OF) hit .260 with 17 RBI and 12 runs.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be more pleased,” Todd said. “From where we started with a bunch of inexperienced players to where we ended up was amazing. The players exceeded expectations and picked things up quicker than we thought. We thought we had a chance to be good, but we weren’t sure how the players would acclimate to varsity baseball.”
•Senior Abraham Hougland led the Grove City boys tennis team, capping his prep career by competing in singles in the Division I district tournament May 20 at Reynoldsburg.
Hougland lost 6-1, 6-2 in the opening round to Gahanna sophomore Brandon Carpico, who went on to win the district title.
“Abraham played his best match of the year and gave himself a chance,” second-year coach Josh Chandler said. “I’m so proud of his progress throughout the year. He was always motivated to make himself better and compete every day.”
Hougland was the top seed in a sectional May 11 and 15 at Reynoldsburg and finished third to qualify for district.
Jesse Stevens, who went 0-1 at sectional, was the other senior.
“Losing Abraham and Jesse is going to be really tough,” Chandler said. “Not only were they our first- and second-singles players, but they were also leaders for our team. They’ll be missed because of their play, but also because of their attitude and their approach to matches and practices on a daily basis.”
Players eligible to return are juniors Dylan McDougle, Owen Miller and Carter Wassmuth, sophomore Keegan Nix and freshman Brennan Lehman.
•Grove City Christian baseball coach A.J. McCampbell said his team entered the season with potential and showed glimpses of promise before settling for a 5-17 finish.
Seeded 11th in the Division IV district tournament, the Eagles lost 13-9 at eighth-seeded Fairfield Christian in the opening round May 20.
“(Going 5-17) isn’t usually something to be ecstatic about, but we got to play baseball,” McCampbell said. “If there would’ve been a 2020 season and I’d be comparing it to that, I’d be more frustrated. We played 22 games after a year of not getting to do anything, so just the opportunity to go out and play baseball was refreshing and fun.”
Junior Connor Benson (2B/C/P/1B) batted .431 with 13 RBI, and senior Andrew Heins (C/3B/P/1B) led in RBI with 15. Benson was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, Heins was second-team all-league and sophomore Connor Thompson (1B/3B) was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return are sophomore A.J. Beard (1B/3B/P) and freshmen Liam Benson (OF), Jason Graham (OF), Evan Hanks (OF/1B), Brayden Ison (2B/SS), Corbin Dick (2B/OF), Andrew Gallant (2B/3B/SS), Michael Holland (2B/P/OF) and Josh Lautenschleger (OF/P).
“This season was a learning experience that I’m hoping will be a springboard moving into the years ahead,” McCampbell said.
•Joey Taylor was the lone regional qualifier for the Central Crossing boys and girls track and field teams.
The junior placed third in the 800 meters (1 minute, 59.61 seconds) in the Division I, district 2 meet, which concluded May 22 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North. The top four in each regional event qualified for state June 4 and 5 at Darby.
The 800 relay of Joshua Codjoe, Alec Boyd, Dylan Adams and A.J. Farmer was eighth (1:32.59) at district as the boys finished 14th (7) of 15 teams behind champion Pickerington North (121).
Amya Nelson (shot put, 30 feet, 1 1/2 inches) and Hannah Scoggin (1,600, 5:54.44) led the girls team as both finished 11th. The Comets did not score.
CENTRAL CROSSING BASEBALL
•Record: 16-11 overall
•OCC-Buckeye standings: Lancaster (13-2), Central Crossing (11-4), Newark and Pickerington Central (both 7-8), Reynoldsburg (4-11), Groveport (3-12)
•Seniors lost: Benton Amon, Jackson Phillips, Hayden Thompson, Brandon Woods and Logan Worthington
•Key returnees: Angel Abreu, Quintin Amon, Shane Baas, Marquise Loring, Kyle Martin, Raymond White and Chance Woods
•Postseason: Lost to St. Charles 12-4 in second round of Division I district tournament
GROVE CITY BOYS TENNIS
•Record: 10-5 overall
•OCC-Ohio standings: New Albany (4-0), Gahanna (3-1), Pickerington North (2-2), Grove City (1-3), Westerville Central (0-4)
•Seniors lost: Abraham Hougland and Jesse Stevens
•Key returnees: Brennan Lehman, Owen Miller and Carter Wassmuth
GROVE CITY CHRISTIAN BASEBALL
•Record: 5-17 overall
•MSL-Cardinal standings: Fisher Catholic (14-0), Berne Union (11-3), Millersport (8-5), Fairfield Christian (8-6), Zanesville Rosecrans (7-6), Grove City Christian (4-10), Corning Miller (3-11), Harvest Prep (0-14)
•Seniors lost: Jake Bapst, Josiah Bever, Carson Dick, Andrew Heins, Joseph Phillips and Kyle Reed
•Key returnees: Connor Benson and Connor Thompson