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The YSHS varsity baseball team recently hosted its first tournament game in years. From left: Coach Bryan Rogusky, Kian Rainey, Brady Baker, Chris Goebel, Caleb Derrickson, Austin Thomas, Jaxyn Fletcher, Jake Ortiz-Thornton, Coach John VanDine, Sailor Schultz, Mateo Basora, Oskar Dennis, Antonio Chaiten, Isaac Grushon, Mason Cline and Coach Mitch Clark. Not Pictured: Collin Goebel, Lucas Price and Owen Price. (Submitted photo)

Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 24, 2024

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Varsity hosts tournament game

For the first time in many years, on Monday, May 13, the Yellow Springs Bulldogs Varsity Baseball team hosted a Southwest District Athletic Board (SWAB) sectional tournament game. The Bulldogs, by virtue of being the higher seed, earned the opportunity to host the game. The nature of the timing of the brackets being announced left precious little time to advertise this event. However, parents and fans lined the fence to watch the Bulldogs take on the Botkins Trojans in the first-round game.

Mason Cline started the game on the mound and blanked the Trojans in the first inning, despite a couple of errors behind him. The Bulldogs got things rolling in the bottom of the inning after a couple of pop outs. Jake Ortiz-Thornton had a two-out single, as did Cline. Caleb Derrickson ripped a hard single that scored both Ortiz-Thornton and Cline, giving the Bulldogs a 2–0 lead after one inning.

The next couple of innings were marred by multiple Bulldog errors, no doubt influenced by the nerves that came from the gravity of this game. The Bulldogs found themselves down 2–13 when coming to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Bulldogs were facing a run-rule and were showing no sign of recovery. However, this is when they decided they were not yet done for this season. They drew on their core value of perseverance, the emotional encouragement from their coach, and all their hard off-season work, determined to go down swinging.

The bottom of the fifth inning began with a walk by freshman Sailor Schultz, bringing the Bulldogs back to the top of the lineup. Leadoff man Antonio Chaiten smacked a hit to center field, and Isaac Grushon followed with a walk to load the bases. Ortiz-Thornton’s uniform was grazed by a high inside fastball, just enough for him to get the free pass and force Schultz across the plate for their first run of the inning. With the bases still loaded, slugger Cline stepped up and drilled a line drive to left field, scoring Chaiten. Derrickson strode to the plate, feeling a little under the weather but brimming with confidence, and came through with another line drive to left field. This hit filled the bases once again. Ortiz-Thornton scored on a wild pitch, but the next three batters went down, leaving a couple runners on board. The Bulldogs had come away with a four-run inning and now trailed the Trojans 6–13, but avoided the run-rule.

The closer, Grushon, was on early to shut the Trojans down for what Coach Mitch hoped to be two innings and a chance for the Bulldogs to continue to claw back into the game. With the threat of the run-rule dissipated and the Trojans shut out in the top of the sixth inning, the Bulldogs added another run, going into the last frame down 7–13.

Grushon blanked the Trojans once again in the top of the seventh to keep hope alive for the Bulldogs. Yet another impassioned speech from the coaches, imploring the team to win one for the outgoing seniors, hit the mark. Freshman backstop Kian Rainey started things off with a hard grounder that found the outfield grass. Senior Brady Baker came to the plate knowing this could be the last plate appearance of his four-year career. He was up to the challenge, ripping a shot past the third baseman for a double. Schultz came to the plate with Baker on second and Rainey on third. He had little varsity game experience to call on to help in this pressure situation, but drew from the hours of practice in the batting cages. His single to center field scored both Baker and Rainey, drawing the Bulldogs to within four runs with no outs. A great throw and tag cut down Schultz as he tried to get into scoring position for the top of the lineup.

The top of the lineup did just what they have been asked to do and have been doing all year. Chaiten walked, Grushon followed with a single, and Ortiz-Thornton doubled to left, scoring speedsters Chaiten and Grushon. Now down by two with only one out and a man in scoring position with the leading home run hitter in the conference coming to the plate, the fans, players and coaches were really feeling it. Cline hit the ball hard, but it was tracked down by the right fielder. Down to their last out, the Bulldogs sent Derrickson to the plate. He had already rapped out three hits in this game, but he was not about to give up a chance for another. Derrickson ripped yet another hard-hit ball to center field for his fourth hit of the game. Ortiz-Thornton was held at third to avoid the final out and knowing the home team needed two more runs to tie. Consistent hitter, freshman Mateo Basora, came to the plate looking to push the game at least into extra innings. Unfortunately, his hard-hit ball was pulled in by the Trojan centerfielder, stranding the two runners and leaving the Bulldogs just short of an incredible comeback.

Although the Bulldogs came up short, 11–13 in their final game of the year, they were heartened with the knowledge of the huge leaps in development they have made over the last couple of years. They doubled their run production from last year in one fewer game and had a 94–69 tally of earned runs over their opponents.

“We have really come a long way,” Coach Mitch Clark said. “We put in an enormous amount of work on hitting and it really showed. Now we must address our defense, but that will come as our young team gains experience. We are really going to miss our seniors — Brady Baker, Antonio Chaiten, Isaac Grushon and Jake Ortiz-Thornton. They are amazing young men, and we wish them luck as they spread their wings. We are on the right path with Yellow Springs baseball and can’t wait to get back to the grind as we continue to develop our players for future success.”

—Coach Mitch Clark


Bulldogs perform well at regional meet

Junior Tiger Collins qualified for the Division III regional meet with her fourth-place finish at the district meet held last week at Graham High School. Collins cleared the bar with a leap of 4’8” in wet and rainy conditions.

The girls team finished in 11th place while the boys placed 15th in this highly competitive meet. Sophomore Llnyah Grant was a double scorer for the girls team by placing seventh in the long jump and eighth in the 100 meters. Ninth grader Isabella Espinosa qualified for the finals in the long jump, but failed to place, while other notable efforts were made by Abebu Barnett, Cynthia Burke, Sasi Drees, Liliana Herzog, Gema Paz-Brizuela, Addison Shafeek and Lilliana Sylvester.

On the boys side, the Kyles earned points with Kyle Raymer finishing his running career by running a personal best in the 300 hurdles with a sixth-place effort, and sophomore Kyle Johnston achieved a personal best in the 3,200 with a seventh-place finish. Strong performances were posted by Kiernan Anderson, Collin Calfee, Evan Galarza, Elijah Gish, Wills Oberg, Nick Washington, Charles Whitlock, Morris Wyatt and Phoenix York.

Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel were very complimentary of the efforts by each team member, not only at the district meet, but for the entire season. The entire squad, with the exception of seniors Kyle Raymer and Charles Whitlock, will return for the 2025 season.

—Coach John Gudgel

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