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Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 5, 2023

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Baseball

A win and three losses for varsity

The Yellow Springs varsity baseball team hosted the Belmont Bisons on Monday, April 24, at Gaunt Park, in a rematch of the April 14 game at Belmont. Hazen VanMeter made his fourth pitching start of the year and shut down the Bisons. He allowed only three walks and had two-hit batsmen, to go along with an impressive 10 strikeouts, in a complete-game shutout performance.

The Bulldogs unleashed the bats as they plated 17 runs in four innings, resulting in a 17–0 victory.

Jake Ortiz-Thornton, Krishan Miller and Shawn VanHoose each had three hits apiece. Miller parlayed his hits into six RBIs while VanHoose’s knocks were all doubles. 

The Bulldogs were at home again on Tuesday, April 25, in a contest against Metro Buckeye Conference opponent Emmanuel Christian Academy. Josh Clark pitched a complete seven innings, scattering just a few hits and giving up only two walks.

However, the normally reliable Bulldogs defense did not provide the needed support, as the Lions posted four runs in the first and last innings, with the Bulldogs defeated 11–1. VanHoose led the way, with two hits and some nice plays at first base.

A depleted Bulldogs team traveled to Troy Christian on Wednesday, April 26, to face the Eagles. The team was whittled down to the minimum nine players due to injuries, sickness and previous commitments.

Sophomore Lucas Price made his first start of the year against the powerhouse Eagles’ lineup. He gave up a couple of walks and several hit-by-pitches before he settled into a groove. By that time, it was too late for the Bulldogs to recover, but they gave it their all.

In fact, the Bulldogs defense turned in some stunning plays in the field, including an amazing diving catch by Miller and some fantastic stretches by “Scoops” VanHoose at first base. Price logged the only hit of the night with his first double of the season, as the Bulldogs were shut out 14–0.

Thursday, April 27, saw the Bulldogs on the road at Emmanuel Christian Academy for a rematch with the conference opponent. Miller pitched well yet again, but was hindered by untimely defense and the inane strategy of opposing batters stepping into the ball to get hit. He gave up only five hits, but also gave up six hit-by-pitches. The Bulldogs had hits by Antonio Chaiten, Clark and VanHoose, but couldn’t get any runs on the board due to solid defense by the Lions. The final score was 10–0.

Rain washed away the home and home series against the Ponitz Golden Panthers on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29. These games may be made up, but with the number of open dates dwindling as the regular season nears its end, this may not happen.

Hard-fought loss for JV

The junior varsity team traveled to Dayton Christian on Monday, April 24, to meet the Warriors in their only game of the week. The Bulldogs consistently put the bat on the ball, but were thwarted by the excellent Warrior defense. They were able to score two runs, but ultimately gave up 17 to the strong opponent. Coach Phil Renfro celebrated the hard play and amazing attitudes that continued through and after the game. 

Two losses for McKinney team

Tuesday, April 25, saw the McKinney Middle School team play against Emmanuel Christian as well. Although they beat the Lions in their first matchup at home, this time around was a different story.

The very short-handed Bulldogs managed to score six runs, but their pitching and defense suffered as several players were unavailable due to previous commitments. Catcher Austin Thomas played a consistently solid game behind the plate that included him throwing out a Lions runner on his way to steal second. The final score was 16–6, as the Bulldogs took one on the chin.

A Friday, April 28, game against the Trotwood Madison Rams was canceled due to poor weather and field conditions. Efforts are underway to get this game rescheduled.

Saturday, April 29, started as a damp and dreary morning, but that did not deter the young Bulldogs from traveling to Beavercreek Ankeney Middle School to clash with the Creek Black team. Quite a few Bulldog fans traveled to see the enthusiastic team battle for the entire game. 

Ashby Lyons took the mound against the Beavers and pitched well. Neirin Barker started things off with a walk, but was thrown out at second — he tried to slide, but never made it to the base because he got stuck in the mud. On a brighter note, Graham Turnmire matched his brother’s catch from earlier in the season with one of his own in left field.

The Bulldogs scored a couple of runs, but could not catch up from an 8–2 deficit after six innings.

—Mitch Clark, coach

Softball

Bulldogs softball pitcher Halee Sparks racked up a whopping 26 strikeouts over 17 innings of play last week, with her strong arm helping lead the team to victory in three out of four games. (Submitted photo)

Three wins in busy week

A young Yellow Springs softball team hit their stride as they won three games this week, including two hard-fought victories behind an offense that broke through to average 17 runs a game and the solid pitching of Halee Sparks, as the team went 3–1 in wins and losses for the week. 

Sparks continued her excellence on the mound as she went 3–0 with three complete games and an impressive 26 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched to lead the Bulldogs to the victories. On offense, Violet Babb continued her onslaught at the plate as she clubbed four home runs and knocked in 17 runs in four games. 

Coach Jim commented: “Babb has been a spark plug for us on offense. When the team sees her hit like that, it gives them confidence at the plate. In spite of our inexperience, I knew our team always had the ability to score runs in large chunks. This team is gaining confidence in themselves as the season has progressed and it’s showing in their play on the field.”

The Bulldogs started the week by beating Stivers on Monday, April 24, by a score of 17–10. The team exploded for 11 runs in the second inning to take a commanding 15–1 lead, then held off a Stivers rally to win. Babb hit two homeruns and had five runs batted in to lead the offense; Sparks pitched a complete game on the mound to get the victory. 

The team then went on the road to play at Belmont High School on Tuesday, April 25. Belmont turned out to be a challenge for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs grabbed an early 5–3 lead behind the hitting of Gabby Florence and Tavey Johnson. They found themselves clinging to an 11–10 lead in the last inning, when the team exploded for 10 runs behind home runs by Tavey Johnson and Babb to finish off Belmont by a final score of 21–10. 

Once again, Sparks was the winning pitcher, as she pitched a complete game and struck out 11 batters to gain the win — one that was a lot closer than the final score. 

Coach Jim commented: “I was pleased with how the team responded in the last inning in a tight game. The momentum had switched to Belmont, but our team wasn’t rattled; they showed a lot of character tonight.” 

Freshman Johnson had the best game of her career as she had two hits, including a long, three-run home run in the last inning that broke the game open — Coach Jim called it the key hit of the game. 

“Johnson’s home run was the hit that finished off Belmont,” he said. “ We’ve been waiting all year for Johnson to go deep; she’s been crushing the ball during practice.”

After losing at Bellbrook in a hard fought game on Wednesday, April 26, by a score of 15–9, the Bulldogs concluded the busy week with a convincing 24–5 win on the road against Trotwood-Madison on Thursday, April 27. 

Once again, Sparks was dominant on the mound as she only allowed two hits and struck out nine batters in five innings to get the complete game victory. Babb led the offense with a grand slam home run and also had three hits and six runs batted in. Other leaders on offense were Autumn Sorenson, who was on base four times and scored four runs; Sparks, who was on base four times and scored four runs; and Lily Fritsch, who had three hits and scored three runs.

Bulldog Senior Night will be Friday, May 5, at Gaunt Park, as the team plays against Legacy Christian; the game starts at 5 p.m.

—Jim Delong, coach

Track and field

Bulldogs at Wayne, Mechanicsburg

The YSHS boys and girls track squads competed as a split squad last week, with several members attending the Wayne Invitational — one of the most competitive meets in the state of Ohio — and the remaining bulk of the team participating in the Mechanicsburg Relays. The Bulldogs were also shorthanded due to injuries and several athletes obligated to other school-related events.

The senior trio of Malcolm Blunt, Sven Meister and Cheyan Sundell-Turner held their own at the Wayne Invitational. Blunt finished 11th out of 45 long jumpers and ran to a 22nd-place finish out of 61 sprinters in the 200 meters. Sundell-Turner ran a season best time of 5:47.98 in the 1,600 meters while finishing 13th out of 33 runners. Sven Meister performed admirably in the shot put that led to a 33rd finish out of 54 throwers. The vast majority of the competition was from Division I schools, while Division III Yellow Springs was among the handful of small schools in this meet that featured 75 schools from all over the state of Ohio.

At the Mechanicsburg Relays, the girls squad finished in seventh place out of nine schools. The Girls Ironman Relay — girls who competed in the discus and shot put — of Clara Gomez, Gema Paz Brizuela, Lilliana Sylvester and Addison Shafeek ran to a runner-up effort in the 400-meter relay.

The distance medley quartet of Josie DeWine, Clara Gomez, Siobhan McCann-Stewart and Addison Shafeek came in fifth place. Sixth place scoring efforts were achieved by the sprint medley group of Cynthia Burke, Llynah Grant, Maya Henderson and Lilliana Sylester. The discus duo of Gomez and Shafeek, along with Paz Brizuela and Shafeek in the shot put, also scored points. Ninth- grader Rebecca DeWine performed admirably in the 1,600 relay.

The boys squad of Malik Booth, Zacariah Butler, Jack Horvath, Kyle Raymer, Jonah Summers, Charles Whitlock, Morris Wyatt and Phoenix York displayed solid efforts and gained valuable experience.

Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel felt very good about the team stepping up against top-flight competition and coming together in a total team effort. The Bulldogs are excited about the annual Bulldog Invitational Friday, May 5. Seniors Blunt, DeWine, Meister and Sundell-Turner will be feted at this meet. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, the Bulldogs will host the annual Metro Buckeye Conference meet.

—John Gudgel, coach

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