It’s a couple games into the 14-game league schedule and the softball teams at the three Madison County schools in the Mid-State League Ohio Division are off to good starts.
But good luck getting any of them to talk about it. They all know that there’s a long way to go and concentrating on the next game is apparently the best approach.
The Red Raiders (4-2, 2-0 in MSL Ohio) pounded the ball against the over-matched Rams Wednesday, April 9, and picked up their second league wins in as many tries.
Alli Farley had three hits including a double and a home run and collected four RBI. Lauren Miller had three hits, among them a double and a triple, while Baylee Semler had three hits herself. Aliyah Hiram had a triple in the win.
“I think we have been hitting the ball well,” coach Kelly Nelson said. “Our defense is improving and if an error is made we don’t get down on ourselves, but move on and learn from it and fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”
London did commit four errors in the win over the visiting Rams but more than made up for it with 14 hits.
Inside the pitching circle, Lauren Miller was sharp, allowing just three hits and one first inning run.
As for her team sitting in a tie atop the league standings, Nelson was quick to sidestep the question.
“At this point I don’t want to jinx anything,” she said. “Our next game is Friday and I’ll just leave it at that.”
West Jefferson 12,
The Roughriders (3-2, 2-0) also are tied atop the MSL Ohio after crushing another league opponent, this time visiting Grandview Wednesday, April 9.
West Jeff was coming off a 9-1 thrashing of Bexley Tuesday, April 8.
Against the visiting Bobcats, the team struggled out of the gates, but finally got its bats rolling.
“The girls played well tonight,” coach Jim Stevens said. “They started off a little flat-footed but came into their own game in the third inning and took control from there.”
It was all a matter of timing, in this case getting a beat on the speed of the Grandview pitcher. Once that happened the Roughriders sprayed the ball all over the field, including a 2-run home run by Madison Gatley. The team as a whole had 11 hits.
Starting pitcher Annie Haenszel limited Grandview to five hits as she picked up the victory.
“It was a good league win for us,” Stevens added.
The Golden Eagles (0-2, 0-1) played well Wednesday, April 9 enough defensively in its MSL Ohio opener against visiting Bexley, but couldn’t muster any offense in a 3-0 defeat.
Sophomore Courtney Davis gave up just one run on five hits in taking the tough loss. The Plains’ offense couldn’t solve Bexley pitcher Katy Watson who gave up one lone hit to the Golden Eagles.
Jonathan Alder 15,
With a lot of the focus in the county on the three teams that play in the MSL Ohio, the Pioneers (4-1, 2-0) of Jonathan Alder have kind of gone a little under the radar.
The quietness around the team will likely go away soon if the team keeps playing like it has. Alder is undefeated in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference following back-to-back dominating performances.
The Pioneers topped visiting Fairbanks 12-2 Tuesday, April 8, and then gave the Spartans of Pleasant the same treatment in a 15-1 victory Wednesday, April 9.
In the two games Alder combined to score 27 runs and crank out 30 hits. Its pitching has been almost as impressive in holding the last two opponents to a combined seven hits. Mady Watson got the win against a good Fairbanks team and Andi Blankenship was inside the circle against Pleasant.
The Red Raiders (3-2, 1-0 in MSL Ohio) took the visiting Rams best punch Wednesday, April 8, and came back swinging themselves as they won their league opener.
Up 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning, senior Brok Bennett and his London teammates were cruising right along, but an error, a walk and a single loaded the bases for Whitehall’s Nick Wright, who promptly emptied them with a blast over the fence in left center for a grand slam and a 5-2 Rams lead.
Bennett got out of the inning with the next batter and London showed its grit by fighting back to score three runs of its own in the home portion of the fifth to tie the game. London scored four more times in the sixth and then held on for a rewarding 9-7 victory.
Bennett got the win and Bryce Swartz came into pitch in a relief role and closed things out.
Things started poorly for the host Golden Eagles (0-5, 0-1) and never got any better as they dropped their MSL opener Wednesday, April 9.
Plains committed two critical errors in the first inning which led directly to three Lions runs. Bexley scored three more in the second, scratched across another in the fifth and then exploded in the sixth for seven runs to put the game out of reach.
One night after losing a heart breaker at the hands of Miami Trace in the final at-bat. The Golden Eagles were never in this contest and could only bang out three hits.
Jonathan Alder 6,
Another game, another win.
The Pioneers (4-0, 2-0 in MOAC) got a complete game seven-hit gem from Mitchell Eye as they improved to 2-0 in league play Wednesday, April 9.
The visiting Spartans played tough, but Alder was able to come up with key hits when it needed them.
The team will look to stay undefeated when it travels to league foe Elgin at 5 p.m. Friday, April 11.
West Jefferson 5
Things were slightly different this time when West Jeff standout Caleb Ferguson took the mound. After a pair of truly dominant performances to start the season, the powerful lefty struggled against Grandview in a 18-5 league loss Wednesday, April 9.
Ferguson failed to make it out of the third inning after having pitched back-to-back shutouts in his first two outings.
Grandview scored 18 runs, 15 of which came in the final four innings. It also had 13 hits in the game. West Jeff had eight hits of its own in the loss.
Jonathan Alder 4,
Bishop Ready 1
Jonathan Alder picked up its second straight win with a strong performance against the host Silver Knights Wednesday, April 9 at Westgate Park in Columbus.
Logan Woods was victorious at first singles (6-2, 6-1), Nick Beachy won in straight sets at second singles (6-2, 6-2) and Clay Troyer took care of business at third singles (6-2, 6-2).
The first doubles team of Dermot Hutchinson and Sam Recker won 6-1, 6-2, while the second doubles pair of David Salzer and Lucas McClaskie fell in three tough sets 6-3, 1-6, 7-6.
West Jefferson 1
It was a tough day for the Roughriders as they fell at home to Whitehall 4-1 Wednesday, April 9.
The only win for West Jefferson came on the second singles court where Alex Lutz and Caitlyn Greer scored a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
The other doubles team of Grant Dersom and Daniel Hadidon was upended 7-6, 4-6, 2-6.
In singles all three players fell in straight sets, including Jim Foser at first singles (6-2, 6-2), Garrett Beachy (6-2, 6-3) at second and Mike Romanov (6-4, 6-2) at third singles.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.