Close loss ends season for Upper Arlington baseball team
The Upper Arlington baseball team’s final game of the season likely would have left the Golden Bears emotional no matter the outcome, but a 2-0 loss to third-seeded Lancaster in a half- the Division I district final on May 24 was a particularly tough one.
Junior pitcher Joey Harder was mostly dominant for six innings at Beavers Field in Lancaster, scattering four hits while striking out six, walking one and throwing just 62 pitches. That nearly tied Golden Gales starter Layton O’Rourke, who struck out seven and gave up only Harder’s first single in the second.
Tougher was even one strike out of a base-loaded jam in the fifth before Mason Henson’s two-run single from opposite field to right field brought home the game’s only runs.
“Joey threw so well. We played a very good game, but Lancaster just found a way to get two points. It was that kind of game,” said UA coach Sam Clark. “We had (Henson) down 0 and 2 and the kid had a great swing.”
Junior shortstop James Hayek was the Bears’ only other base runner, as he was hit by a one-out pitch in the seventh. Harder and junior designated hitter Luke DeWalt retired to end the game.
Clark chose to walk OCC-Buckeye Division Player of the Year Tony Falvo to load the bases and face Henson.
“I just figured if they wanted me, they got me,” Henson said. “I just wanted to hit that outside court and I was ready. I felt like I looked great against Harder the whole game. I saw a fastball and was ready to hit.
The loss ended a season in which the 12th-seeded Bears finished 17-11 after a 9-8 start.
Senior third baseman Kuyper Lashutka, a Denison rookie, had the industry-leading .448 batting average with 39 hits, 16 RBIs, seven doubles and a triple. He was named to the first-team all-OCC-Central and second-team all-district.
Harder batted .314 with 27 hits and 17 RBIs and was 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 10 walks in 38 innings. It was the first team in all leagues and an honorable mention in all districts.
Hayek, a second-team all-league and all-district selection, hit .305 with 25 hits, 17 RBIs, one homer and seven doubles.
Senior receiver Mitchell McConnell was Special Mention in all leagues and second team in all districts. Junior pitchers Edward Baran and Jake Pinho received honorable mention from all leagues.
Other players eligible to return include juniors Luke DeWalt (OF) and Maxwell Layne (P/OF).
“I’m so proud of all these seniors and what they’ve done, not just on the pitch in terms of their performances, but also their leadership off the pitch,” Clark said. “We were 9-8, struggling and kind of down. They found a way to win seven of our last nine (regular season games) and do it. They can take this for the rest of their life. They will face these 9-8 moments in life. Don’t give up and keep fighting.
•Three of Wellington Boys Tennis the team’s five Division II district competitors lost a victory before the state tournament, capping what coach Tommy Haddow called “a weird season” that lasted only 10 games.
The doubles team of senior Brayden Chawla and junior Hussein Al-Ali went 1-1 in the district on May 19 at Columbus Academy, losing to Vikings Rowen Lo and Ryan Panley 6-1, 6-2 in a a state qualifying game. In the same singles round, second student Sanjan Shanker lost to Academy’s Lucas Xue 6-2, 6-2.
Senior Sadeq Ali and junior Sriharsha Reddy went 0-1 in doubles.
“It’s been a weird season because of the weather,” said Haddow, whose team finished 3-7 on aggregate and 2-2 in MSL-Ohio, missing out on Buckeye Valley and Grandview Heights in the league. . “I think we lacked experience for section and district tournaments.”
Chawla was a state qualifier last year, going 1-1 in doubles with 2021 graduate Evan Manley.
Junior Hudson McConnell is also eligible to return, who alternated between singles and doubles.
“We’ve got some young guys coming up who should help us in singles and doubles,” Haddow said. “Sanjan has to get a bit stronger and he will. We also have to work our serves as a team.
UP ARLINGTON BASEBALL
•Record: 17-11 overall
• OCC-Centrale classification: Olentangy Liberty (11-4), Olentangy Orange (10-5), Hilliard Davidson (9-6), Upper Arlington (7-8), Hilliard Bradley (4-10-1), Dublin Coffman (3-11-1 )
•Lost Elders: Sam Cheung, Kuyper Lashutka, Mitch McConnell, Simon Monnin, Max Robins, Sam Texter, Skylar Trent and Alex Whetsell
• Main returnees: James Hayek, Joey Harder, Maxwell Layne and Luke DeWalt
• Post-season: Def. Reynoldsburg 5-0; lost to Lancaster 2-0 in the Division I district semi-finals
WELLINGTON BOYS TENNIS
•Record: 3-7 total
• MSL-Ohio Ranking: Columbus Academy (6-0), Bexley (5-1), Grandview Heights (3-2), Wellington (2-2), Worthington Christian (2-4), Buckeye Valley (1-4), Whitehall (0- 6)
•Lost Elders: Sadeq Al-Ali, Brayden Chawla and Jack Kalnicki
• Main returnees: Hussein Al-Ali, Hudson McConnell, Sriharsha Reddy and Sanjan Shanker