Central Ohio Huddle: Newark Catholic, Liberty Union and Columbus DeSales record huge wins on the diamond


Central Ohio Huddle

Busy doesn’t properly describe the past week as tournament play began or
continued in all sports across central Ohio. While rain forced some
action to be pushed back into the weekend, there was more than enough
for area sports fans to watch.

Busy doesn’t properly describe the past week as tournament play began or continued in all sports across central Ohio. While rain forced some action to be pushed back into the weekend, there was more than enough for area sports fans to watch.

The track tournament started with district competition, including Division I at Dublin Coffman and Groveport. Gahanna, Reynoldsburg and Brookhaven were among schools to shine in the big-school field.

The softball field was ruled by upsets and consistency. Liberty Union ended the season of the top-ranked team in the state in Division III – North Union. But some things also change the same as Lakewood won its eighth district trophy in nine seasons.

The baseball field featured a Westfall baseball team winning its first district title in school history in the southern part of the area, while Newark Catholic continued its Cinderella run after a grueling regular-season schedule.

And then there was tennis as an east side Columbus school qualified not one but two doubles teams to the state tournament.


Liberty Union softball: The Lions knocked off state top-ranked North Union 4-3 in a Division III Central District championship game at Pickerington Central. Liberty Union won its first district title in 23 years with a three-run sixth inning to take a 4-1 lead. Stefanie Russell scored on a bunt from Jess McCormick to put the Lions ahead 2-1. Leanna Bachman followed with a sacrifice fly to score Wiley and Sam Mowery hit a single to left to score McCormick. LU pitcher Sarah Klopfer struck out seven batters for the 25-5 Lions.


Faith Washington and Destinee Gause, Reynoldsburg girls track: Washington and Gause each won two events in a Division I Central District meet at Dublin Coffman to help Reynoldsburg to a district championship with 115 points in the 14-team field. Washington won the 100 hurdles in 15.07 and the 300 hurdles in 45.35. Gause took the 100 in 12.27 and the 200 in 25.03.


Golden Lakewood: Lakewood collected district championships in both baseball and softball.

The softball team shut out Canal Winchester 8-0 at Pickerington Central. Starter Alyssa Patznick allowed three hits to give the Lancers their fourth consecutive district crown and eighth in nine years. Lakewood, the depending state champions in Division III, moved up to Division II this season.

Brayan Gault had two RBI and Caitlin Houk and Chelsea Brower each chipped in two hits and an RBI. Freshman Kelsey Thompson added a three-run homer.

The baseball team won its first district title since 2005 as Jordan Gray scored in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Lancers past Olentangy 6-5 in a Division II game at Dublin Jerome. Lakewood, now 25-4, jumped out to a 5-0 lead against the Braves but had to stage late-inning heroics after losing the lead. Gray doubled and advanced to third in the seventh as Olentangy intentionally walked the next two batters with no outs. Travis Lester hit a ground ball to score Gray.

Jacob Gray and Justin White each had two RBI for the Lancers.

Stallions get past bad luck:
Kelsey Seeds thought she got the DeSales softball team off to a big start with a home run in the first-inning of a Division II Central District championship against Granville at Pickerington Central. But Seeds was called out by the umpire at home plate while receiving congratulations form her teammates, because the umpire said one of her teammates touched her before she officially crossed home plate.

Seeds, nonetheless, led the Stallions past Granville 3-2 by fighting out of a bases-loaded jam sixth to earn the win in the pitching circle. The Stallions, now 22-8, rallied from a 2-0 deficit and took a 3-2 lead in the fourth.

Green Wave roll to another title:
Newark Catholic’s baseball team entered the Division IV Central District tournament at 8-19 after a tough Mid-State League Ohio Division and non-league schedule.

But the Green Wave have rallied for four straight tournament wins, including a 2-1 win over Grove City Christian in nine innings in the championship game at Dublin Jerome.

Grove City Christian starter Luke Smurthwaite had a perfect game for five-plus innings, but Newark Catholic tied the game at 1-1 with a Jake Nelson single in the sixth to score Garrett Vernau (reached on walk to break up perfect game). Nelson scored the game winning run in the ninth from third on a ground ball off the bat of Jimmy Lough, who relieved starter Mike Lewis in the eighth and earned the win.

Handy Jackets:
Tied at 1-1 in a Division I Central District baseball title game at Grove City, Derek Baker hit a home run over the right-field fence in the fifth to help Mount Vernon past Olentangy Liberty 3-1 and give the Jackets their first district title since 2002.

Ben Hoar struck out seven and walked three batters to earn the win for Mount Vernon, now 26-3.

Bears maul Raiders:
The Upper Arlington baseball team scored 10 runs in its final pair of at-bats to hand Reynoldsburg a 12-5 loss in a Division I Central District championship game at Grove City. UA (23-8) scored four times in the sixth to break a 2-2 deadlock and added six more runs in the seventh.

The Golden Bears were led by Joey McGlumphy with three hits, including a double, and Charles Cooper had two singles and an RBI. Andy Bean had an RBI double.

Revenge factor:
After losing to Olentangy Liberty’s Arren Carter in the sectional final, Worthington Kilbourne’s Kevin Metka got his revenged with a 7-6 (7-5) and 6-4 win in the Division I Central District boys tennis singles final in Plain City. Metka will play for Ohio State next year and Carter will head to Louisville.

Joining Metka and Carter at this week’s state meet in Division I singles is Dublin Coffman’s Hiromi Nakayama and Thomas Worthington’s Casey Cempre.

Upper Arlington’s Billy Weldon and Stu Little captured the district doubles title with a 6-1 and 6-2 win over Riyad Bennoui and John Hendrix of New Albany.

Also set to appears at state in doubles is the Hilliard Davidson team of Ben McClarren and Trent Searfoss and the Dublin Jerome tandem of Kent Seitz and Sean Stein.

Diaz still undefeated:
In the Division II boys tennis district field, Watterson’s Chris Diaz continued to lead the way by keeping his unblemished ledger with a 6-0 and 6-1 win over Wellington’s Ian Wagner in the singles final.

Columbus Academy advanced doubles teams Eoghan Bahnson and Langston Hughes and Andrew Enslen and Chad Buchanan in Division II to state.

Gahanna sweeps districts:
Gahanna won a Central District championship in both boys and girls track at Dublin Coffman. The boys finished first of 13 teams with 120 points and the girls were first of 12 teams with 132 points.

The Lion boys were led by Blake Heriot winning the 100 in 10.79, the 200 in 21.9 and the 400 in 48.18. Herman Washington was first in the 110 hurdles in 14.97 and second in the 300 hurdles. Jacob Blankenship won the pole vault in 16 feet.

The Lion girls were led by Lynnsey Brim winning the 100 in 12.44 and the long jump in 16-06.75 feet. Gahanna also won the 400 and 800 relays.

The Haven:
Brookhaven held off Big Walnut 89-87 in a Division I Central District meet to capture the boys title in the 16-team field at Dublin Coffman. Brookhaven was led by Nigel Preacher with a 21-09 in the long jump and 6-05 in the high jump. Jonzell Meek won the 100 in 11.05 and Deshawn Alston took the 400 in 48.64. The Bearcats also won the 400 relay and 800 relay.


Logan Elm vs. New Concord John Glenn softball, Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Pickerington Central: Logan Elm is making its second consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16 after an 8-1 win over Unioto in a Division II Southeast District championship game. The Braves, now 21-6, got seven of their 13 hits in the win from Paige Gardner, Brittani Walters and Lindsay Brokaw, the bottom third of their batting order. John Glenn is a traditional power from the East District and beat Philo 4-3 to advance to this regional semifinal game.

Division I track regional, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m., Pickerington North:
Teams from the Ohio Capital Conference Ohio Division were successful in district competition and will look to add to their trophy collection and advance athletes to the state meet.

Westfall vs. Wheelersburg baseball, Thursday at 2 p.m. at Ohio University:
Westfall won its first district baseball crown in school history with a two-run seventh to beat Lucasville Valley 9-8 in a Division III Southeast District championship game. The Mustangs, now 23-6, have to battle Wheelersburg and probable pitcher Andrew Elliott in a regional semifinal.

Grove City vs. Brunswick softball, Thursday at 5 p.m. at Ohio State Buckeye Field:
The Greyhounds advanced to regional play with a 1-0 win over Hilliard Davidson. A team who depends on the arm of ace Paige Myers in the pitching circle, Grove City, now 25-4, will play one of the better teams from northern Ohio.

State boys tennis meet, Friday and Saturday at Ohio State Stickney tennis center:
The best tennis talent from across the state comes to central Ohio. Watterson’s Diaz looks to keep his perfect record in the Division II field.

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