The softball team at the school has a win streak that’s garnering a lot of attention, but the Jonathan Alder tennis team has a pretty good streak of its own going right now too.
After dropping its first two matches of the season, the Pioneers have won six straight and are making their way through a challenging schedule. Coach Ryan Swinehart likes the progress his team has made, but he knows there are plenty of challenges on the horizon.
“I’ve been very happy with the way our team has played so far this season,” the coach said. “Our depth has really been the catalyst for us, our overall team strength has been able to overcome some teams that have really good first singles players or an excellent doubles team.”
Alder’s biggest challenge going forward may turn out to be the fact the team has a lot of work to do in a small amount of time.
“We are loaded these last few weeks due to early season rainouts,” the coach said. “We have nine matches in the next 14 days.”
Also coming up fast is the Division II sectional tournament which will be held May 15 and May 17. The Pioneers have been good in the team setup, but without a standout singles player or dominant doubles team the deck will likely be stacked against many of the Alder players looking to advance beyond the first weekend of the postseason.
“We have a lot of kids in tennis that are involved in other things, which is good, but also conflicts quite a bit,” Swinehart said. “We have ended up missing some of our starters for things like musicals, choir trips, Sixth Grade Camp, zoo school presentations, and Leo Club inductions. This definitely effects how I set my line-up and will impact our tournament roster.”
The Pioneers topped visiting Bishop Ready 4-1 on Tuesday, April 29 doing so in dominating fashion.
Logan Woods, Nick Beachy and Clay Troyer all won their singles matches 6-0, 6-0. Lucas McClaskie and Stephen Kellett won their second singles match 6-4, 7-5, while Anthony Dresvyannikov and Dermot Hutchinson fell in a first singles battle 6-4, 2-6, 7-6.
The good sign of a mature team is how it reacts to adversity.
The West Jefferson baseball team went through a spell of adversity during the second inning of its Mid-State League Ohio Division contest with Grandview on Tuesday, April 29. The team fought through it and emerged with a rewarding 15-6 victory.
The Roughriders (11-5, 7-3 in MSL Ohio) were the visitors in a game played at West Jefferson thanks to the field conditions at Grandview being unplayable. West Jeff scored two runs in the top of the first inning and looked to be off to a good start, but the Bobcats took advantage of sporadic pitching from West Jeff starting pitcher Jeremy Ewalt, who struggled to throw strikes, in the bottom of the frame and scored four runs.
In need of a pick me up West Jeff came to the plate in the second and appeared to be in business as Trey Milush and Gavin Gatley both reached to lead off the inning. Chandler Perry then came to the plate and hit a slow roller out in front of the plate.
The Grandview catcher fielded the ball and fired it toward first, the ball got past the first baseman and both Milush and Gatley raced in to score, Perry sprinted to third and was safe. The home plate umpire quickly had a consultation with the field umpire and he ruled that Perry had interfered with the throw by running inside the baseline.
Perry was called out and the runners had to go back to their initial bases. Instead of a tie ballgame, the Roughriders still trailed 4-2. But instead of hanging their heads the West Jeff players continued to be aggressive and ended up still scoring five runs in the frame to take a 7-4 lead.
The team was never threatened again. West Jeff scored three additional runs in the fifth and four more in the seventh. The Roughriders banged out 17 hits in the win.
Alex Wihl, who came into the game in relief in the second inning picked up the victory as he went the rest of the way.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.