Notebook: Hilliard Darby Panthers baseball team earns sixth consecutive OCC title

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Matt Spencer and Darby earned the program's sixth consecutive league championship and eighth overall by going 12-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

The Hilliard Darby baseball team celebrated another league title before setting its sights on the Division I district tournament. 

The Panthers won their sixth consecutive league championship and eighth overall by going 12-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. 

“We went out as a team and had a meal together,” coach Mike Weer said. “Those are big moments and there’s only five OCC teams that get to celebrate that. Those are special moments that we want the kids to be able to enjoy.” 

Darby opened the postseason by beating 18th-seeded Pickerington Central 6-4 in the second round May 19 at home. 

The seventh-seeded Panthers, who had an opening-round bye, were 19-8 overall before playing 15th-seeded Olentangy in a semifinal May 24. The winner faced fourth-seeded Westerville South or 21st-seeded Gahanna in a district final May 26.

The district champion plays in a regional semifinal June 3.

Against Central, sophomore Cam Gilkerson got the start on the mound as a late replacement for Max Mullen, who was scratched because of an illness. 

Gilkerson went the first five innings to earn the win, allowing seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Andrew Patrick pitched the final two innings to pick up the save. 

Darby fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first before scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. The Panthers snapped a 4-all tie with single runs in the fifth and sixth. 

“We strive all the time to throw strikes, which our pitchers did, and make the routine plays,” Weer said. “We had a couple of miscues that helped them score some runs. We try to put the ball in play, which we did. We gave ourselves a chance to get a win.” 

Gilkerson and Alex Chawla each had two hits and drove in a run. Patrick scored two runs and had a hit and an RBI. 

•The Darby softball team came up short of winning its first Division I district title since 2009, falling 5-2 to 12th-seeded Pickerington Central in the final May 19 at home.

The 11th-seeded Panthers finished 19-9, their most victories since going 21-9 in 2009.

That was the last season in which they reached a district final, defeating Dublin Coffman 10-2 to win a title. It also was the last season before the district split into three high schools.

Darby defeated Pickerington Central 2-0 in a 2009 regional semifinal and Teays Valley 3-2 in the regional final. The Panthers then lost 2-0 to Elyria in a state semifinal.

“Coming out of the season with 19 wins and a district runner-up is not something to be ashamed about,” coach Shawn Papp said. “They played well and I just wish we could’ve brought out the sticks tonight.”

Jordyn Anderson stuck out eight and walked four — one intentional — and surrendered only two earned runs. 

She also had a double in the first inning to drive in Kaitlyn Patrick, who had walked. Kyrin Enneking had the other Darby RBI on a fielder’s choice.

Erin Littin also had an infield single in the opening inning. The Panthers had only two baserunners after their two-run first, with both Enneking and Bella Molinaro reaching on walks.

—Scott Hennen

•The Davidson boys and girls track and field teams prepared for the postseason by finishing second behind Olentangy Orange in the OCC-Central meet May 13 and 15 at Westerville North. 

The boys collected 104 points to 137 for the Pioneers, while the girls scored 117 as Orange tallied 140.

Connor Ackley led the boys, finishing first in the 800 meters (1 minute, 57.5 seconds) and 1,600 (4:14.66). He also was part of the first-place 3,200 relay (8:05.53) with R.J. Sagrilla, Brady Whiteside and Nate Gilbert. 

Nick Puhl won the 3,200 (9:33.76). 

The boys competed in the Division I, district 2 meet May 18, 19 and 22 at Darby, where Sagrilla, Whiteside, Gilbert and Ackley won the 3,200 relay (8:02.56). 

Lindsay Stull led the girls in the league meet by winning the 800 in a meet-record 2:13.32. She also joined Dillion Sweetman, Keagan Gehring and Caitlyn Jones on the first-place 3,200 relay (9:21.88), while the Wildcats got other individual titles from Sweetman in the 1,600 (5:10.1) and Alyssa Mason in the 3,200 (11:39.95). 

The girls also competed in the district 2 meet. Stull, Sweetman, Gehring and Mason finished first in the 3,200 relay (9:28.49). 

The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North. 

At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 4 and 5 at Darby. 

—Frank DiRenna 

•The Darby boys and girls track teams both finished as runner-up in the OCC-Cardinal meet May 12 and 15 at Thomas Worthington. The boys scored 111 points to trail the host Cardinals (128), while the girls tied Dublin Jerome for second (117) behind Olentangy (123).

Cam McNeil won the shot put (program- and meet-record 55 feet, 6 3/4 inches) and discus (personal-record 165-10) and Sean Carney won the 800 (1:53.56), 1,600 (4:24.25) and 3,200 (9:24.85).

Also finishing first were Alex Smith in the 200 (22.49), long jump (22-5 1/2) and high jump (6-4) and the 3,200 relay (8:07.23) of George Hughes, Collins Applegate, Carney and Justin Fleischman. Jackson Gunn was third in the discus (137-5).

Ady Armstrong led the girls, winning the 100 (12.68) and 200 (25.74) and joining Ayele Amouzouvi, Natasha Amoako and Sydney Porter on the first-place 400 relay (51.21).

Armstrong also was on the third-place 1,600 relay (4:03.26) with Mia Wyngarden, Gabrielle Hammonds and Kaitlyn Rogowski. Hammonds won the 100 hurdles (14.99), was second in the 300 hurdles (45.03) and placed third in the 100 (13.06).

Ashley Cornathan was second in the shot put (33-8 1/4) and discus (115-1). Other individual third-place finishes came from Liz Silva in the shot put (32-8 1/2), Wyngarden in the 400 (59.9) and Madison Brokaw in the pole vault (10-0).

Also taking third were Amouzouvi, Gianna Zapotosky, Porter and Wyngarden in the 800 relay (1:50.35) and Wyngarden, Krystal Singh, Grace Pitt and Rogowski in the 3,200 relay (9:56.95).

—Scott Hennen

Bradley's Hailey Amador ran on the fifth-place 400 relay in the OCC-Central meet. The Jaguars then moved on to the Division I postseason.

•David Lamb and Chance Roberts paced the Bradley boys track team in the OCC-Central meet.

Lamb won the 400 (49.16) and was second in the 200 (22.59), and Roberts was first in the discus (128-5) and runner-up in the shot put (43-6 1/4) as the Jaguars finished fifth (65).

Kenyon Richardson was runner-up in the long jump (21-1 1/2), and Joshua George was third in the 1,600 (4:52.2).

Placing third were Gabe Paynter in the 1,600 (4:42.59) and Chance Roberts in the discus (129-8), and Kevin Gonzalez was fourth in the 300 hurdles (43.45).

Lamb, Devon Hess, Nikolas Kisin and Trevor Schuler were on the runner-up 800 relay (1:34.2).

The girls team finished sixth (38) led by Gracelyn Peebles’ winning effort in the 300 hurdles (46.86). She also joined Ashley Long, Alice McAnespie and Ella Richardson on the third-place 800 relay (1:47.45).

Autumn Bernava placed third in the discus (100-11) and Long was fourth in the 200 (26.44). Jaelyn Hopson was fifth in the high jump (4-8) and was a member of the fifth-place 400 relay (54.36) with Hannah Snyder, Luisi Yetter and Hailey Amador. 

—Scott Hennen

•The Bradley boys tennis team showed continued progress throughout the season, finishing 7-7 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central.

“I’m really happy with how they finished for us from court 1 to court 5,” second-year coach Colleen Baker said. “It was great to see how much they improved and how much they learned. They got smarter as the year went along, and they started to know what I was going to say to them before I’d say it.”

Neil Reddy played first singles and reached a district-qualifying match in the home Division I sectional May 13 and 15, losing to Pickerington North’s Pavan Uppu 6-0, 6-0.

Seniors Luke Miller and Isaac Tawney both lost their opening singles matches, while sophomore Shayan Manoharan and freshman Craig Dixon went 1-1 in doubles and senior Alexander Zakrzewski and freshman Adarsh Chitti were 0-1.

“None of our guys advanced to district, but they fought hard and played well across the board,” Baker said. “We were young but we’ll have them for the next handful of years and they’ll continue to improve for us.”

—Scott Hennen

•First-year Davidson boys tennis coach Shannon Murlin was pleased with her team’s progress. 

The Wildcats finished 5-9 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Central. 

“I’ve really enjoyed coaching these players,” Murlin said. “The progress they’ve made since the beginning of the season is amazing. Our team improved strokes, court positioning and mental toughness throughout the season.” 

Davidson closed the season by competing in a Division I sectional May 13 and 15 at Reynoldsburg. Junior Hayes Houseworth and Dylan Murlin went 2-1 in singles, and senior Michael Foster and junior Jonathan Goshima went 2-1 in doubles.

Others eligible to return are junior Clay Hess and freshman Matthew Crawford. 

—Frank DiRenna

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports

BRADLEY BOYS TENNIS

Record: 7-7 overall

OCC-Central standings: Olentangy Orange (5-0), Upper Arlington (4-1), Olentangy Liberty (3-2), Dublin Coffman (2-3), Bradley (1-4), Davidson (0-5)

Seniors lost: Conner Kennedy, Luke Miller, Nathan Proffitt. Tyler Scholl, Isaac Tawney and Alexander Zakrzewski

Key returnees: Adarsh Chitti, Craig Dixon, Shayan Manoharan and Neil Reddy

DAVIDSON BOYS TENNIS 

Record: 5-9 overall 

Seniors lost: Michael Foster, Ali Ibrahim and Jonathan Lynch 

Key returnees: Jonathan Goshima, Hayes Houseworth and Dylan Murlin