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The varsity baseball team wrapped up the 2022–23 season with an exciting match-up against Franklin Monroe on May 15, which ultimately ended in a 3–4 loss for the Bulldogs. The team is pictured immediately after the game. Back row: Coach Phil Renfro, Jaymon Lange, Josh Clark, Head Coach Mitch Clark, Shawn VanHoose, Sam Miller, Krishan Miller, Isaac Grushon, Jake Ortiz-Thornton and Coach Bryan Rogusky; front row: Isaiah Search, Jaxyn Fletcher, Caleb Derrickson, Antonio Chaiten, Brady Baker, Lucas Price and Hazen VanMeter. (Submitted photo)

Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 26, 2023

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Baseball

An exciting end to season for varsity

The Yellow Springs varsity baseball team made the familiar trip to Franklin Monroe for their tournament game on Monday, May 15. It was familiar because the Arcanum school’s field was the site of last year’s tournament game against the Jets. In fact, the Bulldogs also faced the Jets earlier this year at Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium. A short memory was all that was needed, since each of those games ended in an 11–1 run rule in the Jets’ favor.

The Bulldogs were up for the challenge as they were led by senior starting pitcher Krishan Miller, in the last start of his stellar career. The first three innings started slowly for the Bulldogs’ bats, as they were only able to garner one hit and were unable to score. However, that did not phase Miller as he also gave up only one hit in his first three innings against the home-team Jets.

The top of the fourth inning saw the Bulldogs launch their offense, starting with a leadoff single by senior Josh Clark, a fielder’s choice by Isaac Grushon, a walk by Miller and a single by freshman Caleb Derrickson. At that point the bases were loaded with two out, and senior Shawn “Scoops” VanHoose strode to the plate. The opposing coaches frantically moved their outfielders back, closer to the fence, as they saw the size of VanHoose approaching the batter’s box. It made no matter, as VanHoose launched one over the outfielders’ heads with a majestic bases-clearing double to put the Bulldogs on top 3–0.

Miller continued his focused performance, giving up a walk, single and a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning but struck out the side, leaving the bases loaded and the hometown crowd stunned and concerned. The Bulldogs could not muster a run in the top of the fifth, while the Jets were finally able to plate a couple of runs in the bottom of the inning on another walk, a questionable hit-by-pitch and a couple of weak singles. The hit-by-pitch was questionable because it was an obvious strategic move on the part of the batter to find a way to get on base by leaning into the pitch. The sixth inning saw both teams unable to score, and the Bulldogs were also unable to garner a run in the top of the seventh.

Miller made his way to the mound with a 3–2 lead in the bottom of the seventh and final inning. He had thrown a large number of pitches and was nearing his mandated pitch count limit. He was determined to finish off his pitching career with a victory. However, after a leadoff strikeout, the eighth of the game, he surrendered a walk, another hit-by-pitch and a single. At that point he was out of pitches and had to be removed from the mound. He swapped places with another stellar senior pitcher, Josh Clark, who was handed the ball to finish off the Jets. Unfortunately, the umpire decided to squeeze the strike zone and Clark surrendered a bases-loaded walk to give up the final run of the game, which saw the Jets pull out a 4–3 victory in the most exciting game of the year.

The great pitching performance by Miller was recognized by the home plate umpire. He was supported with a no-error performance by his defense. Highlight reel plays were turned in by VanHoose at first, Grushon at shortstop, Antonio Chaiten in center field, and Isaiah Search in left field. It was also noted that although the Jets ran wild on the base paths in last year’s game, there were no stolen base attempts this year due to Miller’s much-improved slide step and the solid game logged behind the plate by Derrickson.

The loss was tough to take for the seniors, but was a memorable one to finish their careers. The fans who were able to work through the OHSAA ticket issues and make the long trek to Arcanum were certainly rewarded for their commitment with the thrilling and well-played game. This game will no doubt be a reminder next year of the potential for the up-and-coming Yellow Springs High School baseball program.

The annual baseball/softball game at Gaunt Park was held Friday, May 19. Seniors Clark, Jaymon Lange, Miller, Lucas Tumblison and VanHoose made their last trip around the bases as the freshmen greeted them at first base, the sophomores at second, the juniors at third and their coaches at home plate. They also received their senior banners as they stood with their families and their shout-outs were read to the fans.

The game was followed by the Awards Banquet in the high school cafeteria. This year’s banquet took a bit longer than in years past to allow time to honor the newly formed middle school and junior varsity teams, along with the varsity. The middle school and junior varsity team participants received a certificate. The varsity players received their varsity letters, unless previously earned, and a varsity baseball pin.

Special recognition for the following was also announced:

• Metro Buckeye Conference (MBC) Sportsmanship Award — Shawn VanHoose
• MBC Second Team — Jake Ortiz-Thornton and Isaac Grushon
• MBC First Team — Josh Clark and Krishan Miller
• No-Hitters — Josh Clark and Hazen VanMeter
• Most Improved —  Antonio Chaiten
• Silver Slugger — Krishan Miller
• Coach’s Award — Isaiah Search
• Bulldog Award — Krishan Miller

A special thanks to Brian Rainey and the Rudegeair family for each providing a significant donation that led to the purchase of some much-needed equipment and the best darn uniforms in the conference.

Also, a Bulldogs shout-out to the dedicated parents, many fans, trainer Kyle Truitt, bus drivers Tim Sandlin and Tim Wetzel, Athletic Director Jeff Eyrich, Athletic Training Rachael Fritz and our dedicated coaches, Phil Renfro, Bryan Rogusky, Sam Jacobs and Scott Fleming. We look forward to continuing to build our program into one the community can be proud to support.

—Mitch Clark, coach

Softball

Babb wins MBC Athlete of the Year

The Metro Buckeye Softball Coaches recently voted on the Metro Buckeye Conference (MBC) Awards, and the Yellow Springs Bulldog softball team was well-represented: Four athletes were named to the MBC first team, with six athletes overall earning conference honors.

Among those honored was junior Violet Babb, who capped an incredible season at the plate by being named MBC Athlete of the Year. Babb easily won the award in a unanimous decision as she led the MBC in homeruns, runs batted in, hits and doubles and was second in the League with a .688 batting average. 

It was a well-deserved award, according to Coach Jim: “Babb dominated the league this year. Her RBI total more than doubled the second-place [RBI] finisher … and overall her six homeruns tripled the second place finisher,” he said. “It was an incredible run for a very talented hitter.”

Seniors Halee Sparks and Autumn Sorenson were named to the first team, as well as Babb and fellow junior Gabby Florence. Sparks, who was also named to the All Sportsmanship Team, was the top pitcher on the mound in wins and earned-run average and had an overall record of 7–1. Sorenson earned first team with a .643 on-base percentage and a .545 batting average. Florence batted .500 with a .533 on-base percentage.

Earning second team MBC honors were catcher Ella Laws and Chloe Bayard. Laws had a .533 on base percentage to go with a .364 batting average, and Bayard had a .571 on base percentage and a .455 batting average.

Coach Jim walked away from the MBC meeting content with the results. 

“Babb was far and away the best player in the league, so I expected her to win Athlete of the Year,” he said. “I was also pleased the two seniors earned first team honors and was thrilled to see Ella Laws at catcher get recognized. She has been a workhorse for us behind the plate all year as she caught every inning but one this year. We owe much of our success to her defensive prowess behind the plate.”

—Jim Delong, coach

Track and field

The YSHS tracksters competed last week at the Division III district track meet held at Graham High School. Senior Malcolm Blunt completed the trifecta as he qualified for the regional track meet with three runner-up finishes in the long jump and 100 and 200 meters. Blunt will compete in the regional track meet, scheduled Wednesday, May 24, and Friday, May 26, at Troy Memorial Stadium, with the chance to qualify for the state meet.

Other Bulldogs who scored at the district meet were Tiger Collins in the high jump (fifth place) and ninth-grader Llnyah Grant in the 100 meters (sixth place). The boys 400-meter relay team of Kiernan Anderson, Blunt, Kyle Raymer and Phoenix York finished in eighth place.

The district event was the final meet for seniors Josie DeWine, Ahsha Jackson, Sven Meister and Cheyan Sundell-Turner, who all capped off fine careers representing Yellow Springs High School. For the boys side, 12 members will return for the 2024 season, while the girls squad will return 13 members, which bodes well for a promising future.

Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel were complimentary of the coachability and sportsmanship that the 2023 squad displayed, and shared that this team set a bevy of personal best performances throughout the season.

—John Gudgel, coach

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