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2024
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In her first career home pitching start, junior softballer Isabella Millhoan tossed a no-hitter, with Coach Delong calling it “a highlight” of the week that helped the Bulldogs beat Ponitz 13–0. (Submitted photo)

Bulldog Sports Round-Up | May 3, 2024

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BASEBALL

Three losses for varsity

The varsity baseball team hosted conference opponent Legacy Christian Academy Tuesday, April 23. Jake Ortiz-Thornton and Mateo Basora scattered 11 hits while the Bulldogs knocked out 13, but they fell short on the scoreboard, 8–10. The Bulldogs’ Achilles heel continued to be their defense, with the team giving up six errors to the Knights. Ortiz-Thornton and Mason Cline each had three hits, while Isaac Grushon and Caleb Derrickson both added two.

The Bulldogs traveled to Mechanicsburg on Wednesday, April 24, and to the Athletes-In-Action Sports Complex for a rematch with Legacy Christian on Thursday, April 25. Both contests were tough outings for the varsity team, who lost 0–10 to Mechanicsburg and 3–20 against Legacy Christian. A big fourth inning by the highly rated Indians and another big fourth inning by the Knights spelled doom for the Bulldogs, as they dropped a couple of games that got out of hand.

The Fairlawn Jets arrived at Gaunt Park on Saturday, April 27, for a rematch of an early season win by the Bulldogs. Ortiz-Thornton battled through illness and a pitching-finger blister to shut down the Jets for the first three innings. Brady Baker started the bottom of the third inning with a single, followed by consecutive singles by Antonio Chaiten, Grushon and Ortiz-Thornton, finally posting a three-run lead. However, the Jets took advantage of the Bulldogs’ leaky defense to score two runs in the fourth and fifth innings, taking a 3–4 lead to the seventh and final inning.

The Bulldogs gave up two runs in the top of the final frame, putting them down 3–6 — but the team did not give up. Ortiz-Thornton led off with a single to start the inning. Catcher Mason Cline went to the plate with one thing in mind, after completely shutting down the Jets base runners throughout the game. He was determined to continue the comeback and his eyes lit up when he finally got a fastball over the plate, after being fed off-speed pitches the entire game. He did not let this opportunity pass, as he blasted a no-doubt shot over the left field fence into the awaiting trees. It was hard to tell who enjoyed it the most, but all celebrated wildly as he completed the first home run trot of his freshman campaign.

However, the Bulldogs were still down 5–6 as the inning continued. Basora kept hope alive as he rapped a two-out line drive single to right field. His pinch runner made it to second base on a passed ball and stood in scoring position with a chance to tie the game. Kian Rainey smashed a hard shot that was too much to handle for the Jets fielder. The pinch runner rounded third with a full head of steam, but was narrowly tagged out at the plate. When the dust cleared, the Bulldogs’ chance to continue the game was snuffed out, and they had taken a 5–6 loss.    

The stinging loss was somewhat soothed by the fun had at the first annual Community Baseball Day. Yellow Springs Youth Baseball league players mixed in with high school players for what was to be a wiffle ball game after the varsity game completed. The continued high winds changed the plan from a wiffle ball to a soft rubber practice ball, but the players didn’t mind a bit. The final score was irrelevant, as the outcome could be seen on the faces of the participants.

Weather finally clears for JV

The junior varsity team was finally able to take the field last week after quite a few cancellations due to weather and opponent issues.

The first game since March 23 took place Friday, April 26, against Thurgood Marshall High School. The many hours of hard work on the field and in the batting cages paid off in a big way. The Bulldogs decided they were going to hit until they were told they couldn’t any longer. They allowed two runs in the top of the first by the Cougars, then they unloaded. The home team used all of their pent-up energy to bat around three times in the bottom of the first inning. When it was all said and done, the Bulldogs were up 14–2.

The next few innings were not nearly as profitable since the strike zone swelled to the point that the players couldn’t bring themselves to lunge and leap to catch up with the wild pitches that were called strikes. The players played strong defense and finished off the Cougars in a 16–2 run-rule conclusion after four-and-a-half innings.

Two wins, two losses for middle school

The middle school team started the week with a very tough game against Dayton Christian. The Crusaders jumped out of the gate with a six-run spot in the top of the first inning. The Bulldogs battled back to score three runs in the bottom of the inning, trailing 3–6. They were able to score another three runs over the next four innings, but that was not nearly enough to overcome the 15 they surrendered in the top of the third inning. The final was 6–25 by the end of the game in what could have been a demoralizing loss.

However, this is not a typical group of baseball players. The Bulldogs hosted Emmanuel Christian in a rematch with their conference rivals. The early season game ended in a 14–15 loss, but the Bulldogs were determined to persevere. The Lions jumped out to a 4–0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Bulldogs fought back with a strong four-run inning of their own. The Lions plated another four-run inning in the top of the second. The Bulldogs put another three on the board in the bottom of the third inning, trailing 7–8.

Another inning in which the Lions were blanked allowed the Bulldogs to breathe. They took this opportunity to settle down — and then went wild. When the fourth inning was finally over, the Bulldogs had scored a massive 10 runs and were ahead 17–8. The Bulldogs held on for a huge 18–11 conference victory, avenging their previous loss to the Lions.

Thursday saw the middle schoolers travel to Coy Middle School to face the Creek Orange team of Beavercreek. This would be another very strong opponent for the Bulldogs. David Torres continued his torrid hitting with three more hits in as many at-bats, while Edwin Harrah rapped out three hits as well. The six-run first inning was not enough to hold off the powerful Creek team that pounded out 11 hits in a convincing 19–10 victory.

The middle school team looked forward to their conference rematch with Legacy Christian Academy at the all-turf field at the Athletes-In-Action Sports Complex. Bryce Fleming led the Bulldogs on the mound and at bat. He collected four hits, to include a triple into the gap that reached the outfield wall. He and Finn Turnmire shut down the LCA bats and came away with an impressive 18–1 win. This win pulled the team’s overall record to 7–4 and conference record to 3–2, with two games remaining.

—Coach Mitch Clark

SOFTBALL

Millhoan pitches no-hitter in 4–0 week

The Yellow Springs High School softball team combined good pitching with clutch hitting to go 4–0 for the week. The pitching was dominant in three of the wins as Violet Babb went 3–0, including a one-hit complete game shutout; and junior Isabella Millhoan tossed a no-hitter in her first career home pitching start.  The wins continued a trend that started the second half of last season.

“So it’s a little-known fact that, including last year’s finish, this team is 13–3 in their last 16 regular season games,” Coach Jim Delong said.

Milhoan’s no-hitter was a highlight of the week that helped the team earn a 13-0 win over Ponitz.  Millhoan was dominant throughout the game as she struck out 10 and only walked two. 

“It was clear in the first inning that Millhoan was on her ‘A’ game,” Delong said. “She had pinpoint accuracy with her pitches from the first inning on.”

The offense provided ample support to Millhoan as Ayla Current and Millhoan had three RBIs and Nora Bongorno and Lily Kibblewhite had two. On defense, junior third baseman Adeline Zinger preserved the no-hitter when she gloved a line shot hit that looked like a sure hit to left field.

“Zinger is a natural at third base — she has the quick reflexes and instinct needed to play third base, and she proved it,” Delong said.

The Bulldogs also had one slugfest game this week as they took on Legacy Christian; after falling behind 0–5 in the first inning, the team battled back behind two home runs by sophomore Tavey Johnson and the clutch pitching of Violet Babb to close out the game as they hung on for a hard-fought 17–15 victory — a satisfying win for the team. 

“When we got behind by five runs in the first inning, I still believed our hitting would get us back into the game, and I told the girls to keep hitting,” Delong said. 

And hit they did as they exploded for 11 runs in the first three innings to take an 11–7 lead.  Babb had four hits, including three doubles and five RBIs, but the key hits were Johnson’s two home runs. Johnson hit a solo homerun in the third inning to spark a five-run rally. She hit a clutch two-out home run in the fifth inning that drove in three runs to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish. 

“Johnson’s home runs really changed this game.  We don’t win that game without those hits,” Delong said. “She has developed into a power hitter for this team and she’s only a sophomore.”

In addition to her hitting, Johnson tracked down three long fly balls in leftfield to preserve the win; Delong said he was pleased with the outstanding defense, and that Johnson’s work with an outfield coach had paid off in the game. 

The Bulldogs finished the week off with a 17–1 win over Trotwood Madison. In that game, Babb pitched a one-hitter and struck out seven. The Bulldogs scored a total of seven runs in the first two innings and then exploded for eight runs in the fourth inning to take command. 

Hitting stars for the game were Babb, Zinger, and Millhoan with three hits each.  Freshman Gabriella Kibblewhite scored a run for the Bulldogs and senior Nevaeh Smith scored three runs.

—Coach Jim Delong

TRACK

Strong showing at Mechanicsburg Relays

Competing in the annual Mechanicsburg Relays — in which every race is competed as a relay, along with the field events, combining the best efforts — served as a positive respite from the usual individual competitions. Eight schools made up this very competitive field, with the girls team finishing in sixth place while the boys were in tight competition and ended up in eighth place.

The girls Iron Women 400 relay quartet, which consisted of girls who competed in the discus and shot-put, ran to a first-place-medal-winning performance. Liliana Herzog, Lilliana Sylvester, Gema Paz Brizuela and Addison Shafeek thrilled their teammates with their outstanding effort. The long jump trio of Llnyah Grant (15’2 1⁄2), Isabella Espinosa (15’0 ½) and Liliana Herzog (14’3) earned a second place medal, along with the 400 relay squad of Espinosa, Abebu Barnett, Shafeek and Grant, who ran a season-best time. Other scoring performances were achieved by the 800 relay tandem of Barnett, Espinosa, Grant and Shafeek and the 1600 group of Barnett, Sasi Drees, Grant and Herzog.

On the boys side, Terrel Robinson led the threesome of discus throwers, along with Evan Galarza and Charles Whitlock, to a third-place finish that was replicated in the shot-put. Two fifth-place scoring efforts were earned by the distance medley group of Kiernan Anderson, Kyle Johnston, Kyle Raymer and Wills Oberg, along with the 800-relay squad of Anderson, Nick Washington, Wyatt Morris and Phoenix York. Rounding out the scoring for the Bulldogs with sixth-place efforts was the sprint medley team of Collin Calfee, Terrel Robinson, Elijah Gish and Logan Cooper, along with the 1600 unit of Anderson, Johnston, Oberg and Raymer.

Coaches Isabelle Dierauer and John Gudgel were enthused with the effort and spirit that was on full display by the entire squad. The cheerful attitude and “Bulldogs in the House” mentality was on full display.

The next two meets are home meets for the Bulldogs, with the annual Bulldog Invitational on Friday, May 3, and the Metro Buckeye Conference meet on Saturday May 11.

—Coach John Gudgel

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