Notebook: Olentangy Liberty Patriots baseball team enjoying strong season
Despite the success his team enjoyed during the season’s first month, Olentangy Liberty baseball coach Ty Brenning views every game his team plays as a “coin flip.”
The Patriots, he reasons, have done just enough to make things turn their way more often than not this spring.
After beating Hilliard Bradley 11-1 on April 22, Liberty was 11-3 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Central Division.
“We’re doing enough things that are giving us an edge or an advantage on a day-to-day basis, and that’s fun to be a part of right now,” Brenning said. “Every season kind of has its unique narrative. They’re working really hard and getting darn close to maximizing their ability, which is all you can ask for as a coach.”
With sophomore Anderson Gomez and senior Joe Tootle at the top of the pitching rotation, the Patriots gave up four runs or fewer in 10 of their first 11 wins.
On April 17 in an 11-3 win over Hilliard Darby, senior Nick Falter tossed 5 2/3 innings, striking out 10.
Sophomore Brock Amelung has provided another strong arm for Liberty.
“It’s been going pretty well,” Tootle said. “All of (the pitchers) are really similar and the relief pitching has been pretty good. It’s been a real change for me because I was more of a relief pitcher on (the junior varsity in 2019) and now I’m a starter. I would have started on j.v. last year, so (being on varsity has been) a big change.”
Leading the way offensively, according to Brenning, have been junior left fielder and leadoff hitter Nolan Fogg and sophomore shortstop and No. 2 hitter Mason Onate.
Senior outfielder Adam Lane and senior catcher Brian Yamokoski, who often hits cleanup, also are off to solid starts.
Against Darby, Onate had five RBI, senior center fielder Dom Magistrale had three hits and two RBI and senior second baseman Michael Tuttle had three hits and three RBI.
“The top of our lineup is really tough right now,” Brenning said. “When you put the ball in play at the high school level, good things happen.
“(Yamokoski) is doing a great job grinding out at-bats in the four-hole for us. He’s been up and down and probably doesn’t have as many hits as he’d want, but he’s got a ton of walks and is getting on base. As a senior managing a little bit of a younger pitching staff, he’s doing a nice job of making us stable up the middle.”
•Izzie Wilson has been the top offensive threat for the Berlin softball team, which was 9-6 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal after defeating Marysville 11-10 on April 22.
Through 14 games, Wilson led the Bears in batting average (.500), runs (27), stolen bases (7), on-base percentage (.550) and slugging percentage (.680). She also had one home run and nine RBI.
Allie Burkhart was hitting .400 with one homer, 14 RBI, six runs and an on-base percentage of .449, and Sydney Cain was batting .382 with 11 RBI and five runs. Remy Camp had a .326 batting average with 15 RBI and 13 runs, and Sydney Davis was hitting .317 with 12 RBI and 15 runs.
Syd Billy was hitting .306 with six RBI and eight runs. Kali Bateman was the top pitcher, going 6-4 with a 5.55 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 24 walks in 59 1/3 innings.
•The Orange softball team has had a record-setting power surge with 13 home runs through 15 games.
Anna Wilming has set the program record for homers with five, and Morgan Powell has four. The previous mark was three by Alyssa Laisure in 2018.
Alli Rubal was batting .533 and had 32 hits for the Pioneers, who were 7-9 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Upper Arlington on April 23. Riley Jestadt was batting .500 with 25 hits and 22 RBI, and Powell was hitting .405.
Morgan Woycitzky was batting .360, Wilming was at .355 and Kensi Steele was hitting .350.
•A stable lineup paced by Sam Routzahn at first singles powered the Olentangy boys tennis team to a 7-2 record entering an April 26 match against Worthington Kilbourne and 3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal entering its final league match April 27 at Marysville.
The Braves were ranked third in the district last week behind New Albany — to which Olentangy lost 4-1 on April 6 — and Dublin Jerome, which defeated the Braves 4-1 on April 22 in league play.
Trevor Gerald, Roshan Sriram and Sujan Sriram rotated in the other singles spots early, ahead of Mitch MacDowell, Pranav Nandakumar, Dakshin Pisini, Athin Shetty, Sujan Sriram, Sam Thotapalli and Vishal Vivek on the doubles courts.
Among Olentangy’s other wins were road victories over the first-, second- and third-ranked teams in Division II as of last week in Bexley (5-0 on April 5), Columbus Academy (3-2 on April 12) and Wellington (3-2 on April 19).
•John Stearns and Julian DiSabato have been the scoring leaders for the Orange boys lacrosse team, which was 6-3 overall after defeating Olentangy 14-7 on April 22 and 1-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Hilliard Davidson on April 27.
Stearns had 13 goals and 17 assists for 30 points through eight games, and DiSabato had nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points. Joey Bowers had 17 goals and one assist, and Tanner Hegarty had 13 goals and four assists. Ayden Hanna had seven goal and four assists, and Dylan Dempsey had five goals and two assists.
Cannon Evans led with 40 ground balls, Luke Applegate had 31 and Ben Keller had 25. Goalie Connor Imes had 50 saves.
•The Berlin boys track and field team won three events in the Granville Invitational on April 16 while finishing fifth (83 points) behind champion Lancaster (175).
Corey Rinehart won the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 29.0 seconds), Jack Dunlop was first in the 3,200 (9:40.49) and Luke Walden won the pole vault (14 feet, 5 1/2 inches).
The Bears also were second in the 800 relay (1:32.69) with Moses Murphy, Beau Pullens, Liam McGreevey and Abram Murphy.
Abby Brennan was second in the 200 (27.34) for the girls team, which placed fifth (73) behind champion Granville (212.5). In the triple jump, Lily Doak was second (30-7) and Skylar Stevenson was third (30-3/4).
Mia Mulig, Katherine Reinard, Stevenson and Madeline Franz were on the runner-up 400 relay (53.67), and Franz, Brennan, Stevenson and Stephanie Balthaser were second in the 800 relay (1:53.99).
•Although the Olentangy baseball team was 5-8 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Darby on April 23, Tommy Chilicki has become one of the Braves’ most dependable threats at the plate.
The junior pitcher and infielder was 8-for-9 with four hits in each of consecutive games against Berlin on April 12 and 14, which the Braves won 6-3 and lost 11-10, respectively. Chilicki, who was batting .479 with 23 hits, 11 RBI and three doubles through 13 games, also had three hits — a double and two singles — in a 5-4 loss to Thomas Worthington on April 19.
Brandon Hire had a four-hit day with three singles and a double in a 7-4 loss to Centerville on April 17 at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
•The Liberty girls cross country team has a new coach in Jamie Gilbert, who had been an assistant under former coach Darrell Dewese. She also has worked with the distance runners on the girls track team.
Gilbert competed in cross country and track at Heidelberg for four seasons and then coached the Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic girls team for 11 seasons before moving to Powell in 2014.
Dewese had led the program for seven seasons. Last fall, the Patriots’ season ended with a seventh-place finish in the Division I regional meet.
Liberty qualified for the state meet in each of Dewese’s first six seasons, finishing as runner-up in 2015 and placing third in 2017.