Coaches, parents and school officials at both Jonathan Alder and London high schools worked tirelessly to get wet fields ready for district tournament competition on Thursday, May 15.
All the hard work paid off for one school as it won its tourney game and advanced to a Division II district semifinal, the other might have wished it had waited for a nicer day as its 2014 season came to an abrupt end.
Jonathan Alder 15,
Sometimes when one team is drastically better than another it’s easy for the better team to be a little unfocused and perhaps overconfident.
The Pioneers (22-1) were neither in their district tournament opener against the visiting Stars. In fact it was quite the opposite, Alder showed up with a laser-like attention to detail, pounded the ball for a 17 total of hits and showed no signs of weakness.
“These girls came out and were really focused tonight,” Alder coach Dave McGrew said. “They’re just locked in right now. We have a senior (Brooke Foster) who is leading by example and these girls are really playing well right now.”
Foster is hitting well over .500 this season, has roughly 40 runs scored and has stolen 25 bases. She hits leadoff for the Pioneers but just as easily could be hitting in the three-hole which is typically the spot of the best hitter on a team. With her at the top of the lineup setting the table, the Pioneers have been tough to beat.
The game with Centennial actually started on Wednesday, but was stopped due to weather. The Pioneers were ahead 5-0 when the game continued and the hits just kept on coming. Mady Watson limited the Stars to just two hits over the five innings.
With the win No. 2 Alder advances to the D-II district semifinal where it will likely face No. 6 seed Heath at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 19, at Pickerington North.
McGrew knows that things will get significantly tougher from here on out.
“Heath is a very good team,” he said. “On paper maybe we’re the better team, but our girls know that they have to come ready to play. There are nothing but good teams left. If we don’t come focused and prepared our season could be over Monday night, we know this.”
Buckeye Valley 11,
The Red Raiders (11-12) were upended for the third time this season by the Barons, as Valley pounded the ball and advanced to a district semifinal where it will likely face top-seeded Licking Valley.
Neither team scored a run in the first two innings, but Buckeye Valley broke through with three runs in the third, tacked on five more in the fourth and were never threatened the rest of the way.
London has had issues at times this season with errors and that problem reared its ugly head against Valley. The Red Raiders committed six errors in the game and could only muster one hit in the game, a double by Lauren Miller.
Miller suffered the loss inside the pitcher’s circle.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.