Bulldog Sports Round-Up | April 21, 2023
- Published: April 21, 2023
This past week was a tough one for all three school baseball teams as they ventured into week four of the season.
The middle school team was idle as they prepared for the back end of their game schedule. Coach Sam Jacobs offered: “The enthusiasm of this team makes them so much fun, but makes it hard to wait for their next opportunity.”
The junior varsity team dove into their inaugural season with four games against some very stiff competition. They traveled to Newton High School on Monday, Apr 10 for their first-ever game. Although they played well, the Indians were just too much for the young squad as they succumbed 15–4.
Their weekend was packed as they hosted Dayton Christian at Gaunt Park on Friday, April 14 before a double-header on Saturday, April 15. Freshman Jaxyn Fletcher pitched very well, but the defense was not as supportive as he would have liked. Freshman Teddy Horvath came in to finish the job in his first appearance, but the Warriors were too much for the Bulldogs, as they were handed their second loss on the season.
Saturday’s pleasant weather brought to mind Chicago Cubs’ Hall of Famer Ernie Banks’ famous quote: “Beautiful day; let’s play two.” Coach Phil Renfro captained the depleted roster against a very strong Mechanicsburg Indians team. Game one saw sophomore pitcher Lucas Price get his first opportunity of the year to start. He battled mightily and came up two batters short of a complete game. Coach Phil had to cobble together a lineup impacted by several players’ previous commitments. Although the hitting came alive to the tune of seven runs, the Indians just had too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
The varsity team had a full week also, with four games on the schedule. It started with the home opener on Tuesday, April 11, against Dayton Christian in this year’s first Metro Buckeye Conference game. Senior pitcher Krishan Miller provided five strong innings that included seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts. However, that stat line produced 13 runs for the Warriors. Senior pitcher Jake Ortiz-Thornton finished the game with a strong 2/3 of an inning, giving up only one walk. Miller and Ortiz-Thornton also provided the offense with strong hitting that was supplemented by junior Antonio Chaiten’s two walks. Of course, the lightning-fast Chaiten used both of those walks as stepping stones to second base as he added another two steals to his impressive early-season total. The Bulldogs continued to leave men on base so were only able to plate one run.
Dayton Christian was the opponent for a Thursday, April 13 contest as well. This time, the Warriors had only one objective in mind as they came out with fire in their eyes: They belted out nine hits against the Bulldogs ‘pitchers, Josh Clark, Isaac Grushon and Ortiz-Thornton. That was too much for the slumbering bats to overcome, sending the Bulldogs’ conference record to 0–2 against the first-place Dayton Christian team.
The skies parted and the sun shone on the bats to wake the Bulldogs up with a vengeance against the Belmont Bison on Friday, April 14. Sophomore Hazen VanMeter had quite the efficient game in his second start of the year: He pitched a complete game, surrendering only three hits and six walks and posting six strikeouts of his own to counteract the free passes. The Bulldogs blasted out 14 hits and accepted 12 walks to turn those opportunities into a 23–2 whooping of the Bison. Junior Sam Miller came close to hitting for the cycle by earning a single, double and triple. Ortiz-Thornton, finally back from a nagging early-season injury, did massive damage by posting four hits and five RBIs. Chaiten racked up another three stolen bases as he enjoyed putting himself into scoring position again and again.
The bats took another nap on Saturday, April 15, when the Bulldogs traveled to West Alexandria to meet the Twin Valley South Panthers on a glorious day for baseball. The squad was missing several players due to other commitments and providing help to shore up the JV team. That made no matter to Krishan Miller as he twirled an impressive one-hitter. That lone hit was a hard smash down the first-base line past the outstretched glove of first baseman Shawn VanHoose that plated three runners that were on due to a walk, a hit by pitch, and another walk. The Bulldogs were down 3–0 through the sixth inning but could not muster a rally despite hard shots by Clark, Grushon and Ortiz-Thornton. The impressive Panthers defense and five different pitchers held tight to close out the win for yet another agonizing close game for the Bulldogs. Speaking of defense, Junior Isaiah Search had an impressive debut in centerfield, making two difficult plays look easy and using his impressive speed to get to the ball.
The home plate umpire was so impressed with Miller’s pitching performance that he raved about it to Head Coach Mitch Clark after the game and offered some insight into how he could continue to improve. That makes six games already this year with a superb pitching performance by the Bulldogs, who are fighting mightily to push across runs that have regularly been left on base. Coach Clark is convinced that some hometown support in the upcoming home games will turn the tide and see the bats explode into some good wins for the varsity squad.
—Mitch Clark, coach
The Yellow Springs Bulldogs softball team concluded a busy week by playing Dayton Stivers on the road in front of a large and vocal Stivers crowd and used an impressive 11-strikeout performance by pitcher Halee Sparks and the hot hitting of Violet Babb and a flawless defense to pull out a 13–9 victory. The game was played in front of a large Stivers fan base.
Coach Jim commented: “It was an exciting experience for the team to play in front of a big and loud crowd like that. I was proud of how the team kept their composure in spite of all the crowd noise.”
Early on it looked like the Bulldogs might win the game by run-rule as Sparks shut out Stivers in the first three innings and the offense exploded for 12 runs to take a 12–2 lead. The Bulldog offense was able to take the big lead by scoring a total of nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings behind Violet Babb’s two hits and three RBIs in those innings and Neveah Smith’s clutch two-out, two-RBI single to finish the scoring. Stivers then rallied for seven runs to finish the game, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs held on for a 13–9 victory.
The result pleased Coach Jim: “Stivers is a good team with a good pitcher. Last year they run-ruled us so I knew in spite of our big lead they would make a run at us. We played solid in all aspects today. It was a quality win for our team,” he said.
The Bulldog offense was led by Babb’s effort of five hits, five runs scored, four RBIs, and seven stolen bases. Other leaders were Ella Laws, who was on base four times, scored two runs, had two RBIs and three stolen bases; Adeline Zinger, who had three hits, including a long triple to the outfield fence; and Chloe Bayard, who was on base four times and scored 2 runs along with three RBIs.
Earlier in the week, the Bulldogs played first-place Dayton Christian in home and away games. In the home game, the Bulldogs were losing 13–2 before rallying for nine runs behind a long triple by Zinger and two home runs by Babb, including a monster shot homerun to deep left field, but it wasn’t enough as they lost by a final score of 16–11. In the away game, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1–0 lead and were only losing by a score of 5–4 in the fifth inning before Dayton Christian pulled away for a 13–6 win over the Bulldogs.
—Jim Delong, coach
In the largest track meet of the season — the 47th Annual Graham High School on Thursday, April 14, with 17 schools in attendance — the Bulldogs competed admirably with vigor and zeal. The boys finished in 13th place out of 18 teams while the girls team earned a 13th-place effort in a meet that featured a bevy of Division I and Division II squads.
Senior Malcolm Blunt once again performed admirably as he was a clear first-place winner in the 200-meter dash with a personal best time of 23.04. He complemented this effort by finishing second in the long jump (20’2). Junior Kyle Raymer added to the scoring with a personal best and seventh place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (45.98). The remainder of the squad included personal 2023 bests by Kiernan Anderson, Malik Booth, Zach Butler, Ethan Goodman, Jack Horvath, Kyle Johnston, Sven Meister, Jonah Summers, Ryan Thomas, Charles Whitlock and Morris Wyatt. The girls squad was led by a duo of sophomores, with Tiger Collins placing in three different events. She earned a bronze medal with third place in the high jump (4’10), sixth place in the 100 hurdles (19.80) and eighth place in the long jump (14’5). Liliana Herzog ran to an eighth-place finish in the 100 hurdles (20.31).
A long list of girls had season-best performances as Cynthia Burke, Josie DeWine, Rebecca DeWine, Clara Gomez, Llnyah Grant, Maya Henderson, Siobhan McCann-Stewart, Gema Paz Brizuela, Addison Shafeek, Cheyan Sundell-Turner and Lilliana Sylvester performed admirably.
Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel commented on the tenacity and toughness that was on display along with the competitive nature that everyone demonstrated.
The Bulldogs competed at the Greene County Relays on Thursday, April 20; results were not available at press time. The Bulldogs will have a split squad, with several members competing at the Wayne Invitational April 27 and 28 and the majority of the team competing in the Mechanicsburg Relays April 28.
—John Gudgel, coach
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