Softball: Westerville Central Warhawks putting together another strong season
A balanced effort has helped the Westerville Central softball team remain one of the top programs in the area.
The Warhawks were 10-3 overall before playing Dublin Coffman in a doubleheader April 24 and 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing New Albany on April 26.
Through 13 games, Central was batting .424 while receiving key contributions from several players.
“This team has come together very well,” senior shortstop Emily O’Dee said. “We’re very much underestimated, but we stick with the best of the best, and people are going to realize that when it comes (time for) tournament play.”
The Warhawks’ balance has been evident at the plate and in the circle, where senior Lexi Recinella and junior Laken Hendricks have split time.
“Laken is very comparable to me and any game we play, you could start either me or Laken,” Recinella said. “It’s good to know that even on days that I might not be there, I still have somebody that can pick up my slack.”
Tatum Hubble was batting a team-high .574, followed by Hanna Hunt (.543), O’Dee and Recinella (both .533), Gwen McMenemy (.490), Lydia Wilkerson (.373) and Kate Yaussy (.357).
Central’s league game with Gahanna on April 21 was postponed because of bad weather, and its league contest with Westland on April 22 was postponed because the Cougars were in a COVID-19 quarantine.
The Warhawks entered the doubleheader against Coffman looking to end a two-game losing streak.
Central lost to Watkins Memorial 10-9 on April 17 and Grove City 8-7 on April 19 in a league contest. Watkins Memorial was fourth in the Division I state poll released April 20.
“We have to figure out how to close these teams out, close these games out,” coach Brian Wamsley said. “I love those close games.”
The Warhawks opened league play with an 8-7 win over Pickerington North on April 15.
In his 11th season at Central, Wamsley earned his 200th win with a 17-3, five-inning victory over Dublin Jerome on April 14.
“It’s an accomplishment,” he said. “I’m going to give credit where credit is due. I’ve had some good kids coming through this program. I got some nice videos right after the game thanking me for everything and congratulations on the win. They’re the reason why I’m sitting at 200 right now. I couldn’t have done this without my great assistant coaches.”
The Warhawks are looking to remain in the league title chase, and they have aspirations of returning to the Division I state tournament. Central played in its first state tournament in 2019, losing to Liberty Township Lakota East 4-3 in a semifinal.
“This team definitely has the potential to get back to where we were (in 2019),” Wamsley said.
Before playing Coffman, Recinella was 6-3 with a 4.23 ERA, 17 strikeouts, 20 walks and one save in 49 2/3 innings.
“I like the leadership role,” she said. “It’s a challenging role to take on, but I enjoy it. It’s easier when I have a team behind me that I know will support me and I know has my back.”
Hendricks was 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA, 13 strikeouts, seven walks and one save in 29 1/3 innings.
“Lexi and Laken are battling,” Wamsley said. “They’re doing everything they can and I’m very proud with the way they’re pitching. We’re scoring a lot of runs. We just have to secure up the defense. If we get our defense down and keep the ball in the park, we’re going to be OK.”