Reynoldsburg Roundup: Raiders softball team grows ‘slowly but surely’

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Reynoldsburg's Kayli Soublet tags out New Albany's Aurora Lescody on April 13. The Raiders were 4-14 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Buckeye after losing to Groveport 7-2 on April 28.

One character trait the Reynoldsburg softball team has been forced to count on this spring is the ability to fight through adversity. 

The Raiders have dealt with numerous issues, including having two of their most experienced players battling injuries and another of their veterans missing time with a concussion. 

After losing 13-3 to Pickerington Central on April 26 in OCC-Buckeye Division action, Reynoldsburg rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 to beat Worthington Kilbourne 8-4 on April 27.  

The Raiders were 4-14 overall and 1-5 in the league after losing to Groveport 7-2 on April 28. 

“Our record is not going so well, but as a team I think we’re growing slowly but surely,” senior pitcher and first baseman Kayli Soublet said. “We’ve come together and put together a good fight.” 

The Raiders have four key returnees from their 2019 team that went 8-16 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Ohio, including junior Madelyn Rettke, who has been playing first base and also is a pitching option. Rettke sustained a concussion in a 7-5 loss to Hamilton Township on April 17. 

Sophomore Abi Pursell (P/OF) and junior Makayla Brooks (CF) also have missed time with injuries.

Senior Paige Coey (P) and juniors Alexis Romero (SS) and Olivia Elston (2B/OF) are other key returnees from 2019. 

Romero had two hits and four RBI and Elston had two and two RBI against Kilbourne. 

Soublet and Coey have been joined on the pitching staff by freshman Alexandria Turner, who went six innings and picked up the victory against Kilbourne, as well as by senior left-handed reliever Kaylie Lott. 

“If we could just keep the injuries down, with all the other variables, it’s been a weird season with everything going on,” coach Tony Rettke said. “(Madelyn Rettke) has been leading the team offensively since day one and batting leadoff, and my (No. 3 hitter) is usually Romero and she’s been doing well at the plate. So have Sierra Coey and (freshman shortstop) Marley (Smith).” 

The Raiders are preparing for the Division I district tournament, which is scheduled to begin May 10. 

“Ultimately as a team we just band together and do what we can, control what we can and when people are injured, somebody goes in,” Soublet said. “(Being on varsity) has definitely been an adjustment. As far as (our pitching), we’ll change it up and most of the time it knocks the other team off pace.” 

Track teams tuning 

up for league meet 

The boys and girls track and field teams have one remaining event, the Larkin/Crosten Classic on May 7 at Upper Arlington, before the OCC-Buckeye meet May 13 and 15 at Lancaster. 

On April 23 in the 13-team Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South, the boys were fifth (82) behind champion South (117) and the girls placed seventh (50) behind champion Watterson (118). 

The boys 400-meter relay of Deon Campbell, Ibrahim Fall, Markez Gillam and Andre Turner turned in the only first-place finish for the Raiders, running a time of 43.45 seconds. 

Finishing second were Gillam in the 100 (11.01) and Tehron Spencer in the 300 hurdles (41.4), while Seth Davis was runner-up in the 800 (1:58.38) and third in the 1,600 (4:28.6).

Also placing third were Marsellis Davis in the 800 (2:00.23), J’Tahn Ellison in the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and the 1,600 relay (3:31.61). 

For the girls, Nya Collier was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (15.14). Placing third were Adja Mbow in the 400 (1:03.31), Avril Moyer in the 3,200 (12:11.43), the 400 relay (50.05) and the 1,600 relay (4:11.45). 

“Right now I’m injured, so I was running off of adrenaline (at South),” said Collier, who has been dealing with hip pain. “It’s been going really well. We practice hard. I’m really trying to work hard toward the OCC meet because that’s my goal. I’m a junior and only have two seasons left. It’s going to be an honor (to try) and (run at the state meet) this year. That’s my goal.” 

Tennis team preps 

for postseason 

The boys tennis team opens the postseason with Division I sectional action at home. There are two sectionals at Reynoldsburg, with one being held May 11 and 15 and the other May 13 and 15. 

Sophomore Jaden Coley has been at first singles all season, with junior James Knorr at second singles and senior Brian McClain at third singles. 

Sophomores David Harris and Malik Stallings have been at first doubles, with seniors Ryan Burns and Dane Myers at second doubles. 

After losing 4-1 to Pickerington Central on April 27, the Raiders were 7-3 overall and finished second (4-1) in the OCC-Buckeye behind the Tigers (5-0).  

Coley won at first singles against Central and is expected to play singles during the postseason. 

According to coach Brett Stewart, the Raiders have spent significant time working on improving in serving and returning, particularly in doubles. 

“All of our singles have been steady,” Stewart said. “(Our doubles teams have) wanted to kill their return rather than watching what their opponents are doing. (We’re trying to have) a little bit more patience.” 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek