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Following a victory over Miami Valley School that clinched the MBC title, teammates Henry Smith-Heston and Ethan Knemeyer treated Coach Stacey Knemeyer to a celebratory drenching from the water cooler. (Photo by Michael Knemeyer)

Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 12, 2023

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Two losses, one big win for varsity

On Monday, May 2, the Yellow Springs High School varsity baseball team bundled up and headed to the Athletes In Action complex to play conference opponent Legacy Christian on Grady Field. The brisk night did not deter the players or the loyal fans as the players dug in on the all-turf field.

Josh Clark had another good outing on the mound, giving up only four hits in another complete game. The first inning started off a little rough, with errors leading to three unearned runs. The Bulldogs fought back with a run of their own in the second on a hard-hit triple by Krishan Miller, who scored on a grounder to the right side by Hazen VanMeter.

It took the Knights until the fourth inning to score again. This time it was quite a generous call by the field umpire that gave them two more runs. The Bulldogs fought back again with two more runs in the sixth inning. Clark led off with a double and scored on a hard-hit single by Isaac Grushon. Grushon later scored on a sharply hit ball by Miller.

Miller ensured the Knights did not score again as he tracked down a fly ball in centerfield and unleashed a strike to Caleb Derrickson who was waiting at home plate with the ball as the runner finally made it to the plate, not nearly in time to score. The last inning saw all three of the inning’s Bulldog batters put the bat on the ball, but they were unable to get another run across. The final score of 5–3 was a close one, but not enough to pull out the win.

Tuesday, May 3, was another cool and blustery day but dry enough for the Bulldogs to take on the Dunbar Wolverines on the opposing team’s home field. VanMeter pitched another gem, surrendering only two runs on six walks and six strikeouts. His team supported him more than sufficiently, as the Bulldogs posted their highest run total of the year with 23 in the game that was stopped during the fourth inning, ultimately besting the Wolverines 23–2.

Brady Baker, Clark and Derrickson each had a multi-hit game, with all three of Derrickson’s hits being doubles. Isaiah Search got the first run of his career after being used almost exclusively as a defensive player to capitalize on his speed. Jaxyn Fletcher used his keen eye to tally three walks and swipe his first stolen base of the season.

Friday, May 6, was a glorious day to play baseball. The weather finally cooperated as the Bulldogs took to the Gaunt Park field against conference opponent Legacy Christian Academy Knights.

Krishan Miller started the game and gave up two early unearned runs in the first. However, the Bulldogs fought back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame when Antonio Chaiten used his speed to reach first on a throwing error, then stole second and third, and finally crossed the plate on a passed ball.

Neither team scored in the second, but the Knights scored another unearned run in the third. Sam Miller knocked a single in the bottom of the inning, then added two more stolen bases and a score to close in on the Knights, with a score of 3–2 in the Knights’ favor after three innings. Neither team scored in the fourth, but peril was just around the corner.

The fifth inning saw the umpire take charge and call several balks for quick pitches, causing frustration for Miller and opening the door to a big inning for the Knights. At the same time, the Bulldogs’ bats went cold because they were not able to decipher the nasty curveball of the Knights’ pitcher. Isaac Grushon came in to finish the last two innings, but it was too late and the Bulldogs lost 11–2.

Junior Varsity game canceled

A Wednesday, May 4, rescheduled game for the junior varsity team against Greenon had to be canceled due to a lack of field availability and remaining open dates.

McKinney falls to Orange, but fells Irish

A Monday, May 2, McKinney Middle School game against Greenon was canceled due to poor weather conditions.

A Tuesday, May 3, contest was to be a rematch with the Cedarville Indians at their field, but it was canceled due to poor weather and field conditions. There are no plans to make up the game due to a lack of available dates for Cedarville.

The Wednesday, May 4, game against Creek Orange ended with a tough 10–0 loss that was much closer than the final score indicates. Edwin Harrah provided the offense, and the infield had a nifty double play that would have been a triple play had there not been one out already.

Coach Sam Jacobs commented: “Games like this against big schools with established programs are tough, but will be helpful in the long run. Because we are a first-year program, we had to take whichever games we could get to fill out our schedule.”

A Saturday, May 7, rematch with Catholic Central was played at Gaunt Park in front of a good crowd and in glorious sunlight. The level of play displayed by the Bulldogs matched the weather. Ashby Lyons started on the mound and threw a masterful game. He identified an issue while warming up, fixed it, and never looked back.

The Irish put two runs on the board in the first, but never threatened again. The Bulldogs finished off the run rule in the sixth inning by a score of 12–2. Several of the Bulldogs had impressive hits, including Oskar Dennis, Harrah, Lyons, Kennedy Stroble and Austin Thomas. Bryce Fleming scored on a controversial play at the plate when the Irish catcher tagged him high and caught him in the face, not unlike the play against Stroble in their first game.

The good news is that Fleming scored and was fine as he was off to Young’s to celebrate with several of his teammates. 

—Mitch Clark, coach


Bulldogs sweep Legacy

The Yellow Springs high school softball team continued their late-season winning ways with convincing wins over Metro Buckeye Conference opponent Legacy Christian on Tuesday and Friday, May 2 and 5, by scores of 20–9 and 13–3, respectively. Senior Halee Sparks had two complete game victories and junior Violet Babb had seven hits in the two games, including four doubles, a triple and nine runs batted in. 

The two wins extended the Bulldog winning streak to three games and were their fourth and fifth wins in their past six games.  Coach Jim commented:  “Babb at the plate and Sparks on the mound have been an effective combination the past couple of weeks.”

In the first game of the week, the Bulldogs traveled to Xenia to face a Legacy team that had just come off a win against Dayton Christian and had hopes of capturing first place in the conference — but the Bulldogs quickly put those thoughts away as they exploded for an 11-run second inning to take a commanding 13–0 lead. 

Babb and Autumn Sorenson both had two hits in the inning and Nevaeh Smith, Sorenson and Sparks all scored two runs in the inning.  It was quite the hitting exhibition during that inning as the first nine batters got on base and all scored a run.

“It’s rare to have every hitter in your lineup get on base and score a run in the same inning,” Coach Jim said. “Every player on our team has contributed this year and they showed what they could do that inning.”

Legacy proved to be a worthy opponent as they responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the third inning and had scored three more in the fourth inning when first-base player Violet Babb made the defensive play of the year by sprinting full speed toward the dugout on a low foul ball and laid out on a full body dive to catch the ball literally one inch off the ground to end the inning and snuff out the rally. 

The catch was a crucial play in the game, with Coach Jim saying it “drained the energy and enthusiasm on the Legacy side.” The Bulldogs went on to win by a final score of 20–9.

The second game was the final home game of the year for the Bulldogs; the weather was warm and the sun was shining as the team honored their seniors in the last home game of their careers. Seniors Sparks and Sorenson and their families were showered with gifts in a pregame ceremony. Once the game began, the two ensured the game would result in a victory: Sorenson blasted a long triple to centerfield to lead off the play and scored a run, and Sparks pitched a complete game and allowed only two hits and struck out six as the Bulldogs won by a final score of 13–3. 

The win improved Sparks’ record for the season to 6–1. Coach Jim was pleased with the play of his seniors, saying: “You always hope for a victory on Senior Night. I was happy for my two seniors as they are two very deserving individuals.  It was nice to see them both make major contributions to the win on their night.”

The Bulldogs actually fell behind 2–0 in the top of the first inning, but as they have been doing lately, their offense responded as they scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the second inning to take a 6–2 lead.  Sorenson scored two of the runs, and Babb smashed two doubles and scored a run and had two RBIs in those two innings.  The team then put the game out of reach in the fourth inning as they scored seven runs on hits by Sparks, Babb, Gabby Florence, Tavey Johnson, Smith and Sorenson to take a commanding 13–2 lead.

Offensive stars for the Bulldogs in their final home game were Babb, who went four-for-four with four doubles and four runs batted in;  Sorenson who went two-for-three with a triple and two runs scored; Johnson, who went two-for-three with a double, two runs scored and three runs batted in; and Smith, who was on base three times with two hits and a walk and two runs scored.

—Jim DeLong, coach


Bulldogs are MBC champs

This year, I knew I would have a talented and experienced tennis team. My challenge to them was to accomplish three goals by the end of the season: one goal, very doable; the second goal, more challenging, but also doable; and the last, one that has eluded us for nearly 30 years. The common thread in achieving our goals was continuity, a total team effort. 

Tennis is an odd sport in that it’s designated as a team sport. But often, a player or pair of players find themselves facing formidable opponents, almost as if on an island. Tennis is a thinking person’s sport. It requires assessment, adjustment and almost invariably, problem solving. While each player’s win accounts for a point in the total team tally, he/she/they cannot rely on their teammates to earn their score for them. They have to win on their own, and hope that their teammates win on their own, too. 

High school tennis plays a dual match format — three singles courts and two doubles courts. For each winning court, a point is added to the total goal of achieving at least three points to win the “team” match. Oftentimes, YSHS has had standout players whose winning records stood in contrast to our team losses. So imagine knowing, this year, we had such a depth of skilled tennis players, multi-sport athletes, who collectively could win us team matches. That’s just what they did.

The mighty Bulldogs finished regular season play with a record, 14–2. Not only were we able to win three points for a team match, but on six occasions, we swept our opponents, winning all five courts.  For Yellow Springs, this is unprecedented. Check! First goal accomplished — a winning record.

Next, it became high time to slay the dragon. Yellow Springs plays in the Metro Buckeye Conference, or MBC, alongside some pretty big powerhouse tennis schools. Really, the entire Miami Valley has an abundance of very fine tennis schools. We are certainly not lacking good competition. 

The last time Yellow Springs won the conference was 1994. Since I’ve been around the tennis program, we haven’t even come close to winning the conference. While I wish I could take credit for coaching the team to this monumental victory, I cannot. The truth is, our players have been surrounded by, and supported by, a rich tennis community. 

Locals Donna Silvert, Bob Huston, Josh Mabra, David Fogarty, Mike Zwart, Michael and Augie Knemeyer and Kasey Linkhart have played an integral role in developing our team’s skill set and love of the game.  Many have hit with the kids since they were in elementary school. Each freely provided their time, care and experience, which has benefited the players’ development. It’s made all the difference in our team’s success. As such, I am proud to say, the Yellow Springs Bulldogs are Metro Buckeye Conference Champions. I know the kids are anxiously awaiting the year 2023 added to the tennis banner in the high school gym. It will most definitely be a fine sight to see. Check, check! Second goal achieved. 

Our last, and in my opinion, least important goal is getting some of our more advanced players on to the District tournament in Mason, Ohio, on May 18. First, we must win our matches at Sectionals in Troy to advance to this next, prestigious level. By the time this article is published, we will know the result. I’ll be sure to report back then.

In recognition of this historic team, I’d like to list each member, as they’ve all contributed to a fantastic tennis season. The MBC Champion YSHS 2023 team is, alphabetically: JP Anderson, Anikin Boden, Ben Espinosa, Loren George, Sami Gilley, Grayson Horn, Payton Horton, Lily Kibblewhite, Ethan Knemeyer, Jason Knemeyer, Isaac Lewis, Wolf Lieff, Max Lugo, Eli Matteson, Liam McClean, Tallis Onfroy-Curley, Luka Sage-Frabotta, Aiden Scavone, Kellen Scott, Nevaeh Singh, Henry Smith-Heston, Jia Sundell-Turner, coaches Augie Knemeyer and Kasey Linkhart, Athletic Director Jeff Eyrich and myself, Coach Stacey Knemeyer.

—Stacey Knemeyer, coach

At Left: The girls track team took home first-place honors at the annual Bulldog Invitational May 5, besting the second-place Triad Cardinals by three points. Pictured, from left, front row: Llnyah Grant and Lilliana Sylvester; back row: Tiger Collins, Liliana Herzog, Gema Paz Brizuela, Cheyan Sundell-Turner, Josie DeWine, Ahsha Jackson, Rebecca DeWine, Coach Isabelle Dierauer and Sasi Drees; not pictured: Cynthia Burke, Clara Gomez, Siobhan McCann-Stewart, Ariana Robinson and Addison Shafeek. (Submitted photo)

Track and field

Girls take first place

On Friday, May 5 — a perfect night for running — the YSHS boys and girls track and field squads performed admirably in front of an enthusiastic and large home crowd at the annual Bulldog Invitational. The girls team surprised the nine-team field with a narrow three-point victory over the Triad Cardinals and thus captured the first-place trophy. The girls garnered 95 points, followed by Triad with 92 points. Thurgood Marshall (91) and Emmanuel Christian (86) were followed by Greenon, Wayne, Miami Valley, Wayne B and Dominion Academy.

On the boys side, the youthful Yellow Springs boys team finished in seventh place out of ten squads. The boys gained valuable experience as they continue to grow in confidence.

A senior and a ninth-grader led the girls squad to victory. Distance phenom Cheyan Sundell-Turner doubled up with two first-place finishes as she won the mile in a time of 5:51 and set a personal best in the 800 meters, chugging around the track in a time of 2:39.5. Ninth-grader Llnyah Grant completed a trifecta of first-place finishes in winning the 100 meters (13.45) and running a personal best in the 200 meters (27.99), along with anchoring the victorious 400-meter relay team of Liliana Herzog, Ahsha Jackson and Gema Paz Brizuela. 

Sophomore Tiger Collins had two runner-up finishes in the high jump (4’10”) and a season best in the long jump (15’5”). Reliable senior Josie DeWine earned a second place in the 3,200 meters (14.11). Ninth-grader Addison Shafeek tossed the discus (71’5”) with a third place effort.

Other scoring efforts were Herzog, fourth place in 100 hurdles and long jump;  Rebecca DeWine, fourth place in 3,200 meters; Siobhan McCann-Stewart, fifth place in 800 meters; Maya Henderson, Ariana Robinson, Paz Brizuela and Shafeek, fifth place in 800-meter relay; and Collins, sixth place in 100-meter hurdles. Liliana Sylvester, as a first-time pole vaulter, performed well.

The boys squad was led by senior Malcolm Blunt, who earned two second-place efforts in the long jump (19’10”) and 200 meters (23.4). He also gained points in the 100 meters with a sixth-place effort.

Junior Kyle Raymer ran a gutsy race in the 300 hurdles (46.30), where he finished in second place. Scoring efforts were turned in by Sven Meister, who earned fifth place in the shot put; Kyle Raymer, Jonah Summers, Morris Wyatt and Phoenix York, fifth place in the 400-meter relay; Blunt, Raymer, Malik Booth and Jack Horvath, fifth place in the 1,600-meter relay; and Kiernan Anderson, Summers, Wyatt and York, sixth place in the 800-meter relay. Notable performances were also turned in by Zac Butler, Ashton Egea-Kaleda, Ethan Goodman, Kyle Johnston, Ryan Thomas and Charles Whitlock.

Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel noted the balanced and total team effort of the girls squad in scoring high-level points in the distance races, hurdles, jumps, relays, sprints and throws. The boys ran with competitiveness and pride against top-level competition.

Yellow Springs will host the Metro Buckeye Conference meet this Saturday, May 13, beginning at 10 a.m., followed by competition next Tuesday, May 16, at Graham High School.

—John Gudgel, coach

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