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The varsity Bulldogs looked on in awe as teammate Caleb Derrickson scored with a slide into home base. (Photo by Jyoti Miller)

The varsity Bulldogs looked on in awe as teammate Caleb Derrickson scored with a slide into home base. (Photo by Jyoti Miller)

Bulldog Sports Round-Up | April 26, 2024

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BASEBALL

Varsity wins two, loses one

The varsity baseball team got their Metro Buckeye Conference schedule underway on Tuesday, April 16. They traveled to Springfield to meet the Emmanuel Christian Academy Lions in the first game of a home and home series.

The Bulldogs got off to a slow start, with the Lions taking a 1–0 lead off starting pitcher Caleb Derrickson in the first inning. Emmanuel held the 1–0 lead through the second inning. Senior Antonio Chaiten reached base on a walk to start the third inning and promptly stole second base. Jake Ortiz-Thornton came to the plate determined to put his team on the board, and did just that by smoking a hard shot to left field and scoring Chaiten. Derrickson came to the plate after Mason Cline’s long drive to left field was caught. He rapped a single of his own and Kian Rainey loaded the bases with a walk. Freshman Mateo Basora went with the pitch to right field to score Ortiz-Thornton. A strikeout left the bases loaded, but the Bulldogs now held a 2–1 lead.

Derrickson had trouble getting a feel for the slick ball and managing the powdery dirt in front of the mound. He allowed several walks that turned into runs, but finally got out of the inning with an unconventional double play. A fly ball to center field was caught by Chaiten who then unloaded a rocket to the waiting Rainey at home plate. The umpire had no trouble ringing up the runner as Rainey held his ground and applied the tag. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs now trailed 6–2 after three innings.

This is when the seniors took matters into their own hands and unloaded on the Lions. Brady Baker led off with a single, followed by Chaiten getting a free pass when he was hit by a pitch. Ortiz-Thornton came to the plate after a sacrifice fly by Isaac Grushon. Thornton rapped a double to left field and freshman Cline followed that with a double of his own. The inning continued with several more batters coming to the plate, but the Bulldogs would not score again in the inning, leaving the bases loaded. The score stood at 6–7, with the Lions coming to bat in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Lions posted a run in each of the next two innings off reliever Basora, but the Bulldogs were now feasting on the Lion’s pitching, scoring another four runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth. Closer Grushon came in and shut down the home team’s bats in the last two innings, giving up no runs and facilitating a 13–9 win in the first conference game of the year. The box score showed an impressive 16 hits for the Bulldogs, who gave up only three to the Lions. Ortiz-Thornton had a four-hit game while Cline and Basora each added three of their own.

Wednesday’s game was in question as thunderstorms rolled in and a tornado watch was announced. However, the Bulldogs loaded up the bus and headed for Sidney to take on the Fairlawn Jets as the storms somehow missed their beautiful new baseball complex.

Junior Lucas Price was called on to make his first start of the year as a pitcher. The first inning started slowly as third-place hitter Ortiz-Thornton came to the plate with two outs. His hard grounder and lightning speed caused an error by the Jets. Cline followed with a shot to left field that overcame the 30-plus-mile-per-hour wind and the left fielder, for a run-scoring double. Price worked to get comfortable, and the Bulldogs led 1–0 after one inning of play.

The Bulldog bats were idle in the second inning and Price gave up a run, tying the game at 1–1 after two innings of play. The Bulldogs took a 4–3 lead after three innings as they traded punches with the Jets. The Bulldogs added a run in the fourth inning and the Jets plated one in the fifth, and the score was now 5–4 after five innings.

Sophomore Jaxyn Fletcher, in his first outing of the year, relieved Price and gave up no runs in the one-and-a-third inning stint. The Bulldogs pushed another run across in the top of the sixth inning to take a 6–4 lead. The final inning started with Kian Rainey being hit by a pitch and back-to-back singles by Basora and Baker. Fletcher helped his own cause by drilling a double and scoring both Rainey and pinch-runner Freshman Collin Goebel. The Bulldogs called on Closer Grushon to tie a bow on this one. This time was a little more exciting for Grushon, but he did manage to hold on for the save, as the Bulldogs came away with an 8–6 win. The team’s long ride home was made much more enjoyable as they enjoyed their first winning streak of the year.

Thursday saw the Emmanuel Christian Academy Lions come to Gaunt Park for the conference game rematch. The Bulldogs’ bats were very quiet as they played their third game in three days. Luckily Mason Cline was on the mound and was determined to keep the home team in the game for as long as he could. He had an impressive outing, giving up only four hits, one walk, and earning seven strikeouts over his six innings of work. Unfortunately, the defense extended a couple of innings and the Bulldogs trailed 0–4 as they came to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chaiten did his part, making an acrobatic over-the-shoulder grab after making a dead sprint to the center field fence.

Austin Thomas kicked things off with a one-out walk. Chaiten also walked, but a strikeout was sandwiched in between those baserunners. Another walk and a hit-by-pitch allowed the Bulldogs to put their first run on the board, but they were now down 1–4 with only two innings to play.

The Bulldogs got out of the top of the sixth inning with an exciting double play. Cline fielded a bunt attempt and fired to Ortiz-Thornton at first, who promptly threw a strike to Rainey at home to cut down the lead runner and end the inning. The Bulldogs put another run on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning and now trailed 2–4 with one inning to play.

Ortiz-Thornton came in to relieve Cline who had hit his pitch limit. A rough inning culminated in a two-out line drive that scored a couple of runs and had the Bulldogs down 2–8, with only one at bat left to make their comeback. The last inning started in promising fashion with a walk to Grushon. However, the next three batters each had hard hits snatched by the Lions fielders, ending the game in a 2–8 loss. This puts the Bulldogs at 3–4 on the year, with a 1–1 record in the conference. The Bulldogs were disappointed by the loss, but were most appreciative of the very large number of faithful fans that came out to provide their support.

The junior varsity’s bad luck getting games in continued, as their scheduled contest for Saturday against Thurgood Marshall was canceled. The Cougars were not able to field a team due to injuries and players attempting to play multiple sports.

Middle school breaks win streak in hard-fought game

The middle school team saw their perfect season halted when they lost to the Beavercreek Black team on Monday. This powerhouse team made up of players that earned their spot on the roster after a 37-man tryout, was just too much for the visiting Bulldogs to overcome. The experience was good for the young team as they were able to see there is more work to be done.

The mighty McKinney Middle School team traveled to play the Emmanuel Christian Academy Lions on Thursday. This game was a dog fight as the two teams traded punches throughout the game. The Bulldogs put three on the board in the second inning, but found themselves down 3–7. They posted another big number in the third inning to tie the game at seven runs each. However, the Lions roared back with six of their own in the bottom of the inning, now leading our Bulldogs 13–7 after three. Never ones to give up, the Bulldogs were determined to stay with the Lions. They were able to double their production and posted a fantastic seven-run inning. After holding the Lions at bay in the bottom of the inning, they now held the lead at 14–13 after four innings.

The fifth inning saw the Bulldogs’ bats go cold and allow two runs to score in the bottom of the inning. Down 14–15 with time running out, the Bulldogs did everything they could do to score another run but were unable to do so. They blanked the Lions in the bottom of the sixth inning, hoping for one more chance. Alas, time and darkness caught up to the Bulldogs and they came away with an exciting, yet disappointing 14–15 loss.

—Coach Mitch Clark

SOFTBALL

Bulldogs win two, lose two

The weather finally cooperated for the Yellow Springs High School softball team, who had a busy schedule this past week. The team played four games, winning two against New Miami High School sandwiched against two losses to Dayton Christian.

The Bulldogs started the week off with a win at home against New Miami High School. In that game, senior pitcher Violet Babb was dominant on the pitcher’s mound as she set a career high by garnering 13 strikeouts in five innings of work; the offense plated 13 runs thanks to a seven-run explosion in the third inning as the Bulldogs won by a final score of 13–2. It was a career-setting performance for Babb as she scattered three hits to go with her 13 strikeouts.

Coach Jim Delong commented: “Babb was throwing hard today; 13 of the 15 outs in the game were strikeouts. They could not keep up with her fastball and, even better, two of her strikeouts were on nasty changeups.”

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs offense made sure Babb had all the offense she needed as they scored three runs in the first inning thanks to base hits by Chloe Bayard, Babb, Ella Laws and Lily Kibblewhite. Babb then sparked a seven-run third inning when she smashed an inside-the-park homerun to deep left center that drove in three runs. Delong said he was not surprised by the hit.

“Babb has led the Metro Buckeye Conference in homeruns the past two years, so she is capable of hitting a homerun on any given at-bat,” Delong said.

Although the Bulldogs lost two games to a strong Dayton Christian team during the week, they were able to bounce back with another win on the road against New Miami High School. In that game, Isabella Milhoan made her first career start for the Bulldogs and made it a successful one as she pitched into the fifth inning to gain the win. Relief pitcher Violet Babb finished the game by striking out six batters over the final two innings to help lead the team to a 16–10 win. Delong was pleased with the results.

“Isabella has been working hard on her pitching and we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in both her velocity and control, so we knew she was ready for the start,” he said. “When Millhoan started tiring late in the game, we had Babb ready to come in and protect the lead and get the save, and that’s exactly what she did.”

The Bulldogs’ offense continued their hot hitting as they erupted for 16 runs. They scored six runs in the second inning and five more in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach. Hitting stars for the Bulldogs were senior Nevaeh Smith, who was four-for-four with three runs scored and three RBIs; Babb, who had five hits, including two triples and 5 RBIs; Kibblewhite, who had two doubles and four total hits; and Millhoan, who was three-for-four with three RBIs.

—Coach Jim Delong

TRACK

Personal bests shine at Greeneview

Last Thursday, April 18, the boys and girls squads competed at the Greene County Championships which took place at Greeneview High School. Competing in sunny and 70-degree weather, the Bulldogs established a bevy of personal bests.

For the second week in a row, sophomore Llnyah Grant was victorious in the 100 meters, running against top sprinters from Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Fairborn and Xenia. Grant followed up her victory in the 100 with a strong fourth-place finish in the 200 meters. Liliana Herzog (long jump) and Addison Shafeek (discus) had strong scoring performances, along with Sasi Drees (3,200 meters), adding to the scoring tally. Season-best times in the 400 relay — Isabella Espinosa, Grant, Gema Paz Brizuela and Shafeek — and the 800 relay — Abebu Barnett, Drees, Espinosa and Shafeek — were impressive. Strong performances by Rebecca DeWine and Lilliana Sylvester led to an overall seventh-place finish by the girls team.

On the boys side, newcomer Nick Washington, in his first-ever competition, placed fifth in the high jump, while Kyle Johnston ran a personal best in the 3,200 meters and paced himself to a seventh-place scoring effort. The boys 400-meter relay team of Collin Calfee, Kyle Raymer, Morris Wyatt and Phoenix York ran the fastest time in three years by a Bulldogs quartet, while the 1,600-meters squad of Kiernan Anderson, Logan Cooper, Wills Oberg and Kyle Raymer ran their fastest time of the year. Evan Galarza, Terrel Robinson and Charles Whitlock displayed impressive throws in the discus and shot put.

In total, 17 personal and season bests were turned in by the Bulldogs. Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel remarked that the hard work in practice, great weather and positive attitudes were a difference maker at this meet.

This Friday, April 26, the Bulldogs will compete at the Mechanicsburg Relays, followed by the annual Bulldog Invitational that will take place on Friday, May 3.

—Coach John Gudgel

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