As the calendar pushes towards late May only the elite in spring sports
continue to play. Baseball, softball, and track are all ready to move to
the regional level, and this time next week we will be looking at state
As the calendar pushes towards late May only the elite in spring sports continue to play. Baseball, softball, and track are all ready to move to the regional level, and this time next week we will be looking at state championship hopefuls.
First in softball, several conference champions can now call themselves district champions as well. As for baseball, the theme is the same, and the SVC and SOC champs will now collide in next week’s regional at Ohio University for a chance to move one step closer to the Final Four.
As for track and field, we had some impressive performances led by Sheridan, St. Clairsville, and Paint Valley and we honor several individuals who are moving on to regional action next week. We also highlight a few regional sites in the On Tap section.
First we start as always by honoring our top team and individual. For our team award, we head to the Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division to honor a team that is starting to make winning district championships look like an easy thing to do, and as for the top player, we honor a familiar name that continues to post ridiculous stats in the biggest games.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Racine Southern, Baseball: The Tornadoes squeaked by Portsmouth Clay 3-2 and then knocked off Portsmouth Notre Dame 8-5 to capture their fourth straight Division IV district title. In the semifinal win, Mike Manuel went the distance for the win while leadoff hitter Taylor Deem recorded three hits and knocked in a run. In the final, it was Southern’s solid defense and ability to put the ball in play offensively that helped them return to the regional this week.
Racine will be joined at the regional by fellow Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division Trimble. The Tomcats captured the district title with an 8-3 win over Green.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Shella Zimmerman, Piketon Softball : When choosing this award each week you try to share the wealth, but when Piketon’s Shella Zimmerman keeps posting the numbers that she post each time out, it makes it hard to do so. This week – with the stage getting bigger and bigger – the Piketon pitcher continued to dominate. Zimmerman tossed a no-hitter while striking out 19 Portsmouth West batters in a 1-0 district final win. This gives Zimmerman 39 strike outs in her two district wins as she also defeated New Lexington earlier in the week.
In the championship clincher, Piketon scored a run in the first when Holly Brabson walked and later scored on a throwing error. Zimmerman also recorded the only hit of the game with a seventh-inning double. Piketon, the second-ranked team in Division III, now heads to the Lancaster Regional with a 25-2 overall record.
NEWS, NOTES, & NUGGETS
Bearcats Win District Title: Logan Markko won the 800 and 1600 while teammates Tim Morrell and Dylan Fewster finished first in the 300 hurdles and the shot respectively to lead Paint Valley to a winning total of 132 points in this week’s Division III District Meet at Chillicothe.
Every Point Matters: In the Division II District Track Meet at Washington Court House, it was Sheridan’s 101 points that proved to be one-point better than Unioto’s 100 points as the Generals captured the team title. Luke Cade led the Generals with wins in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Even with the runner-up finish, Unioto still had 11 athletes qualify for the regional level.
St. Clairsville Girls Win Title: In the Division II District Track Meet at Meadowbrook, Morgan’s Cassie Copeland won the 300 hurdles and the 200. John Glenn’s Kelli Brock won the shot. As for the team standings, St. Clairsville scored 124 points to blow away the field.
Steubenville, Logan Win Boys Track Titles: John Glenn used some solid relay performances to post 97 points, but in the end, Steubenville was seven points better to earn the district title. In Division II, Maysville’s J.C. Murasky won the discus title with a throw of 150-11.
Perhaps the most impressive track showing was the Logan boys posting 163 points to win the Division I team title.
Westfall’s Walk-Off Winner Highlights Division III Baseball: Down 8-7 entering their final at-bat Saturday afternoon, the Westfall Mustangs plated two runs to earn the district title win over Lucasville Valley. Shortstop Cody Link delivered a base hit to leftfield to bring home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Zach Wolfe – who beat Belpre 3-1 in the semifinal earlier this week – picked up the win in relief running his individual record to 13-0.
In the second game at VA Memorial Field, Federal Hocking’s Tyler Thompson posted three scoreless innings in relief and the Lancers added two more insurance runs to win the district crown over Adena 10-5.
In the final southeast district championship – held in Athens – Wheelersburg beat Wellston 15-5. Andrew Elliott provided four hits to lead the ‘Burg as the Pirates improved to 28-1 overall.
Collision Course: Two Scioto Valley Conference softball teams Piketon and Adena have been ranked in the top five most of the year, and now in the postseason the possibility of them playing for a Final Four spot continues to look more and more like a possibility. Piketon’s Shella Zimmerman continues to make herself worthy of our top player honor every week was up to her dominance again this week. The Piketon pitcher struck out 19 Portsmouth West batters to lead her Lady Redstreaks to a 1-0 district finals win. Adena then won a district title of its own with a 7-1 win over South Point. Adena now meets the Alexander/Lucasville Valley winner (game to be played Monday night) and Piketon will meet Liberty Union who beat North Union 4-3. The winners will meet in the final.
SOC Softball Pair Feeling Sweet: Both Symmes Valley and Portsmouth Clay earned trips to the Sweet 16 this weekend. Portsmouth Clay beat Eastern Meigs 3-2 and Symmes Valley beat South Webster 2-1.
For Symmes Valley, Chelsea Wall’s early two-run double proved to be enough for Nikki Nance as Nance tossed a complete game while allowing just one run. In Portsmouth Clay’s win, Tori Osborne hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and then the Lady Panthers added another run in the third. Lyndsey Mader earned the win for Clay.
John Glenn Softball to Regional: The Lady Muskies captured a Division II District Championship and they will now meet Logan Elm who defeated Unioto 8-1. In the other bracket, it was Gallia Academy beating Sheridan 9-6 to advance.
The Lady Muskies jumped out to a three-run lead and then was forced to hold on for a 4-3 victory over rival Philo to earn a spot in next week’s Pickerington Regional. The win improves John Glenn’s overall record to 25-3 while Philo’s season ended at a very respectful 20-6.
Coaching Changes: Mike Andrews was hired this week by Cambridge as the head boys’ basketball coach to take over for Don Vogt who didn’t reapply for the position. Andrews, a 1975 graduate of Cambridge, was a two-year starter while earning all-district honors in his senior season as a player of the Bobcats.
Andrews has spent 12 seasons as an assistant in the Cambridge program; however, in the last two seasons, Andrews coached at Meadowbrook High School. Andrews now returns to Cambridge where he also teaches.
Buckeye Trail also named a new hoops coach this week as Rod Gray was named to lead BT this winter. Gray, an alumnus of Buckeye Trail, has had varsity experience at both Waterford and Barnesville.
Signings: Minford’s Stefan Price is going to play college football at Findlay while teammate Nick Kimble is heading to Marietta to play football as well. Portsmouth’s Jalen Kennedy is heading to Otterbein to play football. Hank Leslie of Northwest signed this week with the University of Cincinnati where he will join their track program.
Four John Glenn football players are planning to play at the next level. Ethan Bennington is heading to Capital University while teammates Avery Allender and Trent Reed both are staying close to home at Muskingum. Craig Luburgh is heading to Ohio University where he will attempt to make the Bobcats as a walk-on.
Division III Regional Semifinal, Softball, Wednesday, May 26th, Lancaster, 5 p.m. Two of the top teams in Ohio square-off in a Sweet 16 battle. The winner will meet the winner of Adena/Lucasville Valley or Alexander in the final.
Division III Regional Track & Field Meet, Wednesday & Friday, May 26th & May 28th, Fairfield Union High School: The top Division III runners will meet this week to fight for spots in the State Track Meet.
Division II Regional Track & Field Meet, Thursday, May 27th & Saturday, May 29th, Meadowbrook High School, 4 p.m. on Thursday & 11:30 a.m. on Saturday: A field made up the best from both the East and Southeast Districts.
Westfall vs. Wheelersburg, Division III Regional Baseball, Thursday, May 27th, Ohio University, 2 p.m. Two of the top teams in all of Ohio meet in the Sweet 16. Westfall’s Zach Wolfe and Wheelersburg’s Andrew Elliott are sure to make runs tough to come by in what should be a great game for a spot in the Elite 8.
Symmes Valley vs. Portsmouth Clay, Division IV Regional Softball, Thursday, May 27th, Pickerington, 5 p.m. If Southern Ohio Conference champion Symmes Valley and runner-up Portsmouth Clay are going to play a rubber match this season it might as well be in the Sweet 16.