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The Yellow Springs High School varsity softball team posed for a picture after clinching first place in the Metro Buckeye Conference. (Submitted Photo)

Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 19, 2022

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SOFTBALL

Bulldogs top league play
The Yellow Springs High School varsity softball team found out that some things are worth waiting for. After waiting all season to play their Metro Buckeye Conference, or MBC, games, after a string of weather-related postponements, the Bulldogs started — and ended — their MBC play with a series of doubleheaders on three consecutive days, Monday, May 9, through Wednesday, May 11.

In match ups against Middletown Christian, Dayton Christian and Legacy Christian, the Bulldogs won all six games, putting them first in the conference with a perfect 6–0 record in league play.

The series was hard fought. In their first doubleheader against Middletown Christian, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing 16–11 late in the game. But Yellow Springs rallied with five runs to tie the score, and then sophomore Violet Babb crushed a long inside-the-park homerun to right field to give the Bulldogs the lead, which they protected in the last inning behind the strong pitching of Halee Sparks. Sparks was a one-person show in the last inning, striking out the first two batters and then fielding a soft dribbling ground ball for the final out as the team won 17–16.

The Bulldogs’ come-from-behind win seemed to demoralize the Middletown Christian team as Yellow Springs easily won the second game 18–4.

Next up was a doubleheader against MBC favorite Dayton Christian. The DC Warriors came ready to play as they quickly jumped out to what looked like an insurmountable 19–3 lead after two innings. But the Bulldogs offense quickly bounced back in the bottom of the inning, sending 20 batters to the plate and exploding with 16 runs to tie the score at 19–19.

Dayton Christian eventually took the lead by a 25–24 score, but once again the Bulldogs rallied in their last at bat as Josephine Zinger scored a run and then Babb drove in Carina Basora with the go-ahead run. The Bulldogs still needed to hold Dayton Christian in the last inning, which they did, shutting the Warriors down with a double play. The game-ending play came when pitcher Sparks struck out a batter for the second out, and catcher Joslyn Herring made a perfect throw to third-base player Sophie Lawson, who tagged out a Dayton Christian player trying to steal second. The final score: 26–25 in favor of the Bulldogs.

In the second game, a clearly deflated Dayton Christian team was defeated by a score of 15–2, as Sparks pitched the first no hitter of her career and Babb once again carried the offense, going four for four with four RBIs. Senior first-base player Ava Schell’s strong defensive play helped preserve the no hitter, as she made an outstanding shoestring catch of a line drive in the third inning and an unbelievable catch of an errant throw, reaching out with full body extension to catch the ball and somehow keep her foot on the bag for the out.

The Bulldogs’ final opponent of the week was Legacy Christian, and the YS team needed a win to clinch an undisputed first-place conference finish. The Bulldogs found themselves trailing most of the game and were losing 11–7 as they came to bat in the last inning. Once again the team displayed a knack for coming from behind as seniors Lawson, Lily Rainey and Basora all got on base to start the inning, and Babb drove them all in with a triple to right field and then scored a run to tie the game. The score was still tied when the Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs, and Lawson smashed a line-drive single to center field, sending in the winning run and securing the Bulldogs’ top spot in the league.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the final MBC game of the year, the Bulldogs easily beat Legacy Christian as Sparks tossed her second no-hitter of the week, and Babb led the offense with three hits and four RBIs.

The wins enabled the Bulldogs to send off their four seniors — Schell, Rainey, Basora and Lawson — with an MBC championship in their last game at Gaunt Park. This was the second time in school history that the softball team finished undefeated in MBC play. The first time was 2017, when that team also finished 6–0 in the conference.
—Jim DeLong, coach

BASEBALL

Bulldogs finally hear, ‘Play ball’
The sky parted and baseball was played! The Yellow Springs High School boys varsity team played games on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week.

The team began the week traveling to play Middletown Christian on Monday, May 9, losing a close conference game 8–3. The Eagles capitalized on their home field knowledge by using the slanted area in front of the plate, and the long grass, to lay down bunt after bunt. Krishan Miller pitched well again, going five innings, and giving up only six hits, before yielding the pitching rubber to relief specialist Isaac Grushon. Grushon closed out the home team in their final at bat, but the lead was too much to overcome. Very strong pitching and some timely defense held down the Bulldogs.

Tuesday, May 10, was a completely different story for the boys of summer. The Bulldog bat men took out their frustration on the Lions of Meadowdale. The hitters had a slow start with one run in the first, two in the second and two in the third, before posting eight in the fourth inning to put away their opponents with the 13–3 run rule. Sophomore Antonio Chaiten, batting in the leadoff spot, collected two hits, a walk and a stolen base. Grushon and Miller added two and four hits, respectively. Freshman Hazen VanMeter got his third start of the season and showed everyone why the future is bright for Bulldogs baseball. He threw a complete game one-hit shutout, allowing three unearned runs while walking only two batters and striking out nine. Pitching coach Sam Jacobs was thrilled with the performance, saying, “Hazen did just what we’ve been asking, which is to throw strikes. He bested our team goal of 15 pitches per inning by averaging 12. He was locked in!”

The rematch with the Legacy Christian Academy Crusaders on Wednesday, May 11, was the last conference game of the year. The score seemed lopsided, but the game was well played. The Bulldogs faced one of the best pitchers in the league, who shut them down at the plate. It just so happens, however, that the Bulldogs have some of the best pitchers in the league as well. On this night, Josh Clark took to the mound and threw well. He pitched a complete game and scattered nine hits, while striking out five. The defense played an errorless game as the “pitch to contact” strategy is paying off in pitch count and improved defense. Clark matched VanMeter’s performance from the previous night as well, with a 12-pitch per inning performance. First baseman Shawn “Scoops” VanHoose was not phased by the Crusaders pitching, knocking three hits in as many times to the plate. In the end, the Bulldogs fell to the Crusaders in a hard-fought 7–0 defeat.

Thursday, May 12, offered another opportunity for the Bulldogs to let their bats shine. Again, the start was slow, with only one run scored in the first inning. However, the second inning was the clincher as the Bulldogs put 13 runs on the board. There were many hitting stars in this one, but a few standouts included Jaymon Lange rapping out a hit and Sami Gilley scampering around the base paths to score. Starting pitcher Jake Ortiz-Thornton held down the Dunbar Wolverines, giving up two runs on only one hit. Grushon finished the game, taking the ball and deciding he was ready for dinner. It took only 24 pitches to strike out the six batters he faced over the last two innings. The final score was 16–3 and was a good lead-in to the upcoming sectional tournament game.

Yellow Springs drew the Franklin Monroe Jets for the tournament’s first round. The game was scheduled for Monday, May 16, at Franklin Monroe High School. Check back here next week to see how the Bulldogs fared.
—Mitch Clark, coach

TRACK

Bulldogs run tough
The annual Bulldog Invitational took place on Monday, May 9, after having been rescheduled from May 6 due to inclement weather. This was the first time since 2019 that this meet took place on our home track, as COVID and the construction of the new track delayed the resumption of the local event.

Cheyan Sundell-Turner was a double winner on the girls side as she led the girls squad to a fifth-place finish in this eight-team meet, with victories in the mile and 3,200-meter races. Fellow junior Josie DeWine was runner up in both races (mile and 3,200). Senior sprinter Malaya Booth ran with conviction and determination as she achieved season best times in the 100 (third) and 200 meters (second). Booth teamed with Maya Henderson, Gema Paz Brizuela and Liliana Herzog for a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter relay. Herzog completed the scoring for the Bulldogs with a sixth place in the long jump.

The boys squad mustered a seventh-place finish with a limited roster due to injuries and absences. Sven Meister heaved the shot to a fifth place while senior Joaquin Espinosa ran a personal lifetime best in the 110 hurdles and also finished fifth. Other scoring efforts came from the 3,200-meter relay team of Jack Horvath, Malik Booth, Jia Sundell-Turner and Isaac Lewis.
Horvath ran to a sixth-place finish in the mile, while the 400-meter relay quartet of Collin Calfee, Kyle Raymer, Meister and Joaquin Espinosa sprinted to a sixth-place jaunt.

At the annual Metro Buckeye Conference meet held Saturday, May 13, at Cedarville University, the Bulldogs rebounded from their below-average performance at the Bulldog Invitational with third-place finishes and season-best efforts.

Relative newcomer senior DeAndre Cowen earned all league honors with first-place finishes in the long jump and a heart-stopping victory in the 200 meters. Junior Malcolm Blunt also received all league honors with runner-up efforts in the long jump and 400 meters that was complemented by a third place in the 200 meters. Earning third-place honors were Meister (shot put) and Jia Sundell-Turner in the pole vault. Meister placed fourth in the discus. The 400-relay group of Calfee, Espinosa, Meister and Cowen also finished in fourth place while Espinosa raced to a fifth place in the 100 hurdles.

Cheyan Sundell-Turner once again earned all league honors as she continued her dominance in the distance races with a double victory in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events. She was ably followed by classmate DeWine in the 3,200 (second) and 1,600 (fourth). Third-place efforts were achieved by sprinter Malaya Booth in the 100 and 200, while ninth-graders Tiger Collins (high jump) and Sophia Tatman (discus) showed that they will be forces to contend with in the future.

The 800-meter relay group of Collins, Paz Brizuela, Roma Vescio and Herzog finished in fourth place with Collins leaping to fourth place in the high jump. Collins completed her scoring effort with a fifth place in the 100 hurdles, and classmate Herzog leaped to a fifth place in the long jump.

The girls squad scoring was rounded out by Herzog, who scored a sixth-place point in the 100 hurdles.

Solid efforts at the league meet were also turned in by Malik Booth and Lily Hagstrom. Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel cited great efforts by all in the warm weather and noted that those in attendance are to be complimented on a job well done.

The Bulldogs will move on to district competition at Graham High School on Saturday, May 21, with the hope of moving on to the regional meet. Kudos to the McKinney Middle School girls team, who won the Metro Buckeye Conference middle school title Saturday, May 14. The winners of the Mills Lawn Fastest Bulldog event last week were Matteo Chaiten (boys race) and Hazel Castilow (girls).
—John Gudgel, coach

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