Upper Arlington Roundup: Caroline Langmeyer, Maxine McCraw sparking Golden Bears softball team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Caroline Langmeyer (left) and Maxine McCraw have been a 1-2 punch for Upper Arlington in the circle and at the plate. They have sparked the Golden Bears to records of 17-3 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Olentangy Liberty on April 30.

The person least surprised by the 1-2 punch junior Caroline Langmeyer and senior Maxine McCraw have provided in the circle for the Upper Arlington softball team, not to mention their offensive prowess, might be McCraw herself.

McCraw, a Cornell recruit who has been a starting pitcher since her freshman year, saw Langmeyer make an immediate impact in the program both at the plate and with her pitching the next season.

Now, in their only full season together on varsity, the two combined for 192 strikeouts and 28 walks through 20 games to help UA to records of 17-3 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Olentangy Liberty on April 30.

Langmeyer had 28 hits and McCraw had 26 through 19 games, putting them among the team’s top offensive threats.

“I knew by the time we got older, it would be the two of us,” McCraw said. “Both of us know what to expect out of each other. It’s not as stressful in the games we’re not pitching. Caroline throws a great changeup and a lot of drop curves. I like to stay more up in the zone and throw harder. Where I might be weak, she’s strong and vice versa.”

Langmeyer was 7-0 with a 1.90 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 17 walks in 57 2/3 innings before April 30, including her first career no-hitter in a 7-1 win over Dublin Coffman on April 21. McCraw was 10-3 with 102 strikeouts, 11 walks and a save in 71 1/3 innings.

“We have different dynamics when it comes to approaching pitching,” said Langmeyer, who also was the starting goalie for the field hockey team last fall. “We have different mindsets sometimes. She’s a little more intense than me sometimes, which is great.”

At the plate, McCraw was batting .388 through 20 games with two home runs and 13 RBI and only five strikeouts. Langmeyer had a .378 average with a home run, 29 RBI and two strikeouts.

Both take pitching lessons from longtime Central Crossing coach Rona Dorsey.

“In softball you can pitch just about every game but the kids have to get tired. To have a 1-2 punch when it really doesn’t matter who you put in is a huge luxury,” UA coach Terry Streng said. “(Langmeyer) throws the ball a mile or two (per hour) slower than Max but she has so much movement on the ball, probably one of the best changeups I’ve ever seen. That’s not something that happens occasionally, it happens all the time. She works quick and doesn’t stall around. She works ahead in the count.

“Max has a good off-speed pitch, too, but she’ll rare back and blow it by you. She’s been very successful. Hitting-wise, she’s been smoking the ball and she plays great defense. Both those kids have a bright future collegiately. I’ll hate to see them go.”

UA had a 12-game winning streak before April 30, its longest since winning 14 consecutive games in 2010. That year, as in 2019, the Golden Bears finished as a Division I district runner-up.

Joe Hendrix and the Bears were 11-7 overall and 6-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Hilliard Davidson on April 30.

Baseball team

building résumé

The baseball team was 11-7 overall and 6-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Hilliard Davidson on April 30, and while some of those wins have come against the area’s top teams, coach Sam Clark told his team he wants more overall consistency as the postseason approaches.

Among UA’s wins are an 11-10 victory at Olentangy Orange on April 22, the Pioneers’ first loss of the season, in which the Bears scored four runs in the seventh. 

Other key wins came against Hilliard Darby (12-7 on March 30), Canal Winchester (6-1 on April 5) and Liberty (9-6 on April 16 and 6-4 on April 19).

All of those teams have at least 10 victories.

“Look through a couple of our biggest wins and they could be stacked up among the best wins anybody has on their résumé in central Ohio,” Clark said. “We’ve shown we’re fully capable of playing to the level of the best of the best and with the best of the best in the area. 

“We’ve struggled being consistent day in and day out every time we show up to the ballpark, and that’s something we stress with our guys a lot. We have to make sure not to be complacent. We’ve had big wins, but they don’t mean much the next day when we get to the park. Same for our losses.”

The lineup has been stable, with Charlie Lindeboom batting leadoff and James Hayek and Joe Hendrix in the third and fourth spots, respectively. Other standouts have included Will Henry, Colin Scott and Alex Whetsell.

“Charlie has been a great catalyst at the top of our lineup. We thought he could be a traditional leadoff guy and as he goes, we go, and that’s what’s happened,” Clark said. “Joe Hendrix in the middle of the lineup has seven doubles (through 16 games). We’ve had guys who have stepped up consistently and then a case of any given player having a big day.”

The Division I district tournament draw is scheduled for May 9.

Former coach

heading to Darby

Chris Savage, who won 218 games as girls basketball coach from 2007-20, was named to the same job at Hilliard Darby on April 22.

Savage went 218-96 at UA with Division I district championships in 2014 and 2016 but resigned last August.

Savage, who still teaches International Baccalaureate psychology at UA, also was 55-17 at DeSales from 2004-07.

“I took a year off to coach my daughter’s sixth-grade travel team, but we live in the (Hilliard) district and when the job became open I was interested,” Savage said. “I wasn’t looking that hard for a new job, but I live less than five minutes from the school and hopefully I’ll be able to coach my daughter in a few years.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave