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Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 10, 2024

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BASEBALL

Senior Bulldogs honored

The varsity Bulldogs hosted Trotwood-Madison on Monday, April 29, during another blustery day at Gaunt Park. The game did not start off on a promising note as the Bulldogs once again gave up a walk and a couple of errors that led to a 0–2 start. The Bulldogs fought back to tie the score at 2 with a single by Jake Ortiz-Thornton, a run-scoring double by Mason Cline, and a wild pitch that scored Cline after he had stolen third base.

The second inning was uneventful, and the score remained tied. A couple more walks and a single plated another run for the Rams in the top of the third, so they now led 2–3. The Bulldogs decided they had waited long enough to show their fans they could hit. Isaac Grushon got the ball rolling with a scorching triple to center field, Ortiz-Thornton followed with a double, then came a shot by Cline that easily cleared the left field fence for his second home run of the year. The fans had not even finished cheering when Caleb Derrickson singled and Mateo Basora doubled. Brady Baker added a double, followed by another hit by Grushon. When the inning was finally over, the Bulldogs had taken a 9–3 lead.

The Rams scored a couple more runs in the top of the fourth inning as they attempted to chip away at the Bulldog lead. However, a succession of walks and a string of unrelenting hits were used by the Bulldogs to post another big inning, and a hefty 15–5 tally. Grushon came in to seal the deal in relief and bring home the convincing 15–5 run-rule win for the Bulldogs, bringing their record to 4–8 on the year.

An interesting side note: A quick review of the season’s statistics revealed that the Bulldogs have now out-hit their opponents 106–74 over 12 games. Grushon was a home run short of the cycle in this game, but teammate Cline pointed out that the duo actually did complete the rare feat, once you add in his home run.

The celebration continued after the game with a well-thought-out set of events, put together by Bree Shiflet, for Senior Night. Seniors Brady Baker, Antonio Chaiten, Isaac Grushon and Jake Ortiz-Thornton were honored by family, friends, teammates, coaches and fans. The seniors took their symbolic last run around the bases, meeting their respective families at third base and passing through a line of arched bats held by their teammates. When they reached home plate, they were given a glass jar in which they scooped some dirt, as a remembrance of the time they had spent on the diamond. The seniors’ moms were given a flower to represent our thanks. The soon-to-be graduates were also provided a gift basket and a baseball signed by their teammates and coaches.

Coach Mitch Clark said: “It was great to see so many fans, that included a number of former Bulldog players, come out to support these fine young men. They really deserved it.”

Wednesday, the varsity squad took a short ride to Cedarville to play the Indians on their senior night. It did not go as hoped as the Bulldogs took a strong left hook to the chin on this one. They only managed to plate one run and were beaten by the very strong Cedarville club 11–1.

Saturday’s trip to Middletown to meet the Madison Mohawks in a doubleheader was cut short after just two innings. The continued rain turned the field into a sliding playground for the host team, as the Bulldogs watched another opportunity to play the game they love slip away. The parents, players, coaches and bus driver Tim Whetsel made the long trek back to the Yellow Springs High School parking lot and set up the grill to enjoy what was to have been the between-game meal. Matt and Erica Grushon grilled burgers and hot dogs under what turned into a beautiful blue sky.

The week of May 6 was scheduled to be the last of the regular season games, with the varsity traveling to Dayton Christian on Monday at 5 p.m. and hosting them on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The annual Division IV Sectional Tournament is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, as the Bulldogs host the Botkins Trojans.

This is the first time in memory the Bulldogs have earned the privilege of hosting a tournament game. It would be great to have as many hometown fans on-hand as possible to encourage the team on to victory.

At press time, many fingers are crossed tightly, hoping that the junior varsity will be able to play their games: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at Gaunt Park; 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, at Gaunt Park; and a season-ending double header, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at Dayton Christian.

The middle school team had only one game scheduled last week due to the annual eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.; Exhibition Night; and the band/orchestra trip to Wright State University. The Saturday, May 4, game scheduled with Catholic Central was canceled due to poor weather and field conditions. However, the young squad enjoyed the Dragons game on Sunday in Todd Pultz’ executive suite. Early reports indicate that fun was had by all and there were no leftovers.

Band and choir concerts pushed the last two games of the year to Thursday, May 9, at Cedarville Community Park and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Dayton Christian. The young Bulldogs will attempt to end on a good note as they take on two very strong teams.

—Coach Mitch Clark

SOFTBALL

Come-from-behind win on Senior Night

It was Senior Night last week, and in front of a huge crowd, the Bulldogs overcame a slow start and used the homerun power of Ella Laws and Tavey Johnson and the dominant pitching of Violet Babb to come away with a come-from-behind 8–5 win against Stivers. 

Babb pitched a two-hitter and struck out a career-high 16 batters in the win.  Coach Jim DeLong had words of praise for her effort: “Babb settled down after the first inning and was unhittable the rest of the way. Happy for her, and what a nice way to end her career at Gaunt Park.”

The Bulldogs struggled at the beginning of the game as Babb gave up two runs in the first inning, and Stivers then loaded the bases with one out. At that point, the game seemed to be getting out of hand for the Bulldogs, but Babb pitched out of the jam and kept the Bulldogs within striking distance by striking out the next two hitters to keep the game close.

“Those two strikeouts changed the momentum of the game,” DeLong said. “Babb always seems to find a way to shut down an opponent in those clutch moments.”

The offense soon took over as they scored one run in the first inning and then captured the lead with a four-run third inning that started with consecutive base hits by Laws, Chloe Bayard and Adeline Zinger and ended when Tavey Johnson banged a sharp two out single to centerfield to knock in two runs.

The Bulldogs were clinging to a 6–5 lead in the fifth inning when Zinger led off the inning with a long triple to right field and then, two outs later, Johnson drove one to the right field fence for an inside-the-park homerun that gave the team an 8–5 lead. 

The pitching took over after the homerun as Babb pitched a shutout ball the rest of the way.  The game ended in dramatic fashion when the Bulldogs threw a runner out trying to steal second base. Senior pitcher Babb threw a strike to senior catcher Laws, who then threw a laser to senior Nevaeh Smith at second base, who tagged out the runner for the final out of the game. Both the crowd and the players exploded after the final out. 

“What a fitting ending to the game — senior pitcher to senior catcher to senior at second for the final out,” DeLong said. he “Nice to see the seniors go out on a happy note.”

After the game was over, the team honored the seniors with the Senior Night ceremony in front of a festive and energized fan base. Five seniors were honored:  Lily Kibblewhite, Babb, Bayard, Laws and Smith.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a record of 8–2.

—Coach Jim DeLong

TRACK

Tracksters shine before home crowd

After enduring a 30-minute rain delay, the YSHS boys and girls track teams performed with energy and vigor in front of a large home crowd at the annual Bulldog Invitational on Friday, May 3.

Season-best performances were the norm rather than the exception in this highly competitive 11-team field. Seniors Kyle Raymer and Charles Whitlock were feted prior to the start of competition.

The girls finished in fifth place, with sophomore Llnyah Grant once again leading the charge as she had two first-place finishes in the 100 meters (13.29) and long jump (15’ 0). She added a runner-up finish in the 200 meters (28.02) and anchored the 400-meter relay team (56.1) that included Isabella Espinosa, Liliana Herzog and Addison Shafeek. Herzog led a 1–2 finish in the 100 hurdles (18.8), with teammate Espinosa finishing in second place (19.81). Junior Tiger Collins completed the gold medal performances with a first-place leap in the high jump (4’ 10) and a bronze medal finish in the long jump (14’ 3).

Fifth-place scoring efforts were secured by Rebecca DeWine (3,200 meters), Espinosa (long jump) and the 800-meter group of Abebu Barnett, Espinosa, Shafeek and Lilliana Sylvester. Gema Paz Brizuela had a personal best in the discus (80’ 7) and finished in fourth place.

The boys squad performed admirably and finished in a season-best seventh place. Kyle Raymer ran a personal best of 44.2 in the 300-meter hurdles and finished in a close second, while he led teammates Kiernan Anderson, Wills Oberg and Nick Washington to a fourth place in the 1,600-meter relay. Sophomore distance runner Kyle Johnston had a breakout performance as he finished third in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10:40, which was a personal best by 43 seconds. Johnston also ran the mile in 5:03 and placed fifth. The 400-meter relay quartet — Anderson, Collin Calfee, Morris Wyatt and Phoenix York — ran an exciting race and finished second (49.5), while the 800-meter relay group of Anderson, Washington, Wyatt and York ran a strong race with a fourth-place effort. Rounding out the scoring for the Bulldogs with sixth-place efforts were Oberg (800 meters) and Washington (200 meters).

Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel shared that 16 season-best efforts were turned in by the Bulldogs, which illustrates that the Bulldogs are peaking at the right time with season-ending defining performances.

The Bulldogs will host the Metro Buckeye Conference championships this Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m., followed by the district meet on Tuesday, May 14, at Graham High School in St. Paris.

—Coach John Gudgel

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