The Wadsworth baseball team opened the season with a 10-0 record.
A 2-1 loss to host Copley on Wednesday snapped Wadsworth’s bid for a perfect season, but the Grizzlies recovered from the setback quite nicely with a 12-11 victory over visiting Copley on Thursday and an 11-6 win over visiting Chippewa on Saturday.
Wadsworth enters this week 12-1 overall and 7-1 in the Suburban League. The Grizzlies host Twinsburg today and then have two games with Tallmadge (home Tuesday, away Wednesday).
“Earlier in the season our pitching was definitely carrying us,” Wadsworth coach Greg Pickard said. “We are throwing strikes. I can’t say enough about our pitchers. Defense earlier in the year was really good, but it is struggling lately. We have got to right that ship. We have been fortunate to have clutch hitting. A lot of kids are coming through. A lot of our games we have come from behind in the last couple of innings to win. We have a tight-knit group that battle for seven innings.”
Wadsworth lost 10 seniors from last year’s team that went 22-5.
Pickard said junior shortstop Riley Campbell is back along with his brother, senior Aden Campbell, junior ace pitcher Nick Bebout (7-1 last year) and junior hitters Kyle Pennington and Alex Laikos.
Pickard has been pleased by junior second baseman Adam Dennison’s hitting and Riley Campbell’s work in the leadoff spot. Pickard pointed out junior Mason Egleston had a big game Thursday and Alex Laikos has been solid hitting in the second position in the batting order.
Bebout is 4-1 this year on the mound. Sophomore Cameron Deemer is 2-0 with four saves and senior Eric Perebzak is 2-0.
Sophomore Chris Byers, senior Sam Holland and junior Aaron George have also pitched effectively. Junior Wil Rock, freshman Craig Palidar, senior Greg Young and junior Dylan Palidar are also contributing at the plate.
“We lost a lot of kids to graduation, but the kids coming up were more than ready for varsity baseball,” Pickard said. “We are making a lot of mental mistakes the past few games. We have to clean that up and reach our potential. I think we can still play a lot better.”
Wadsworth has two wins each over Cloverleaf (6-0, 7-2), Green (12-2, 7-3), Massillon (5-4, 8-1), Nordonia (5-4, 8-7) and single wins over Wooster (8-5), Mount Vernon (7-6), Copley (12-11) and Chippewa (11-6).
UA tennis lands local
Hudson’s Kati Mdzinarishvili will continue her tennis career at the University of Akron.
Mdzinarishvili led the Explorers to four Northeast Ohio Conference championships. She advanced to the district tournament all four years, and qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore.
“Kati is a local player that has a huge upside to her,” UA coach Brandon Padgett said. “We were very excited when she decided to commit to Akron for multiple reasons. We love having a local player on the team, and we see great potential in Kati. Her work ethic and talent will present her with many great opportunities to succeed here at Akron. Kati’s commitment to her game and to her academics is why we wanted her here so badly.”
“I chose Akron because as soon as I met my coaches and teammates I felt right at home,” Mdzinarishvili said. “The campus was beautiful and everything I looked for in a school, and I knew right away that this was where I needed to be.”
Tri-C adds area players
The Cuyahoga Community College women’s basketball team recently received signed letters of intent from six senior high school players, four from the area.
Akron City Series products Whiaunna Jeffries, Brianna Sojourner and Destini Turner are headed to Tri-C along with Strongsville center Keri Hill.
Jeffries is a guard from Kenmore. Sojourner is a guard from Ellet. Turner is a forward-guard from Firestone.
Twinsburg native TySean Powell signed a national letter of intent to play for the Duquesne men’s basketball team.
Powell, a 6-foot-7 forward, was a teammate of Dukes freshman Desmond Ridenour at Cleveland Benedictine High School before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Powell averaged 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season at IMG.
Powell orally committed to Duquesne in February.
Lake golfer picks Malone
Lake High School senior golfer Melanie Smith signed a national letter of intent to attend Malone University to continue her educational and athletic careers.
Smith earned four varsity letters for the Blue Streaks.
As both a junior and senior, she was named first-team All-Federal League and was selected as the team’s most valuable golfer. She also earned first-team All-Stark County and second-team All-Northeast Ohio recognition.
During the 2013 season, Smith was the medalist in six of her 11 matches as she averaged 40.5 strokes per nine holes. In the post-season Federal League tournament, she shot 79 at the Sanctuary to finish fifth overall and shot an 81 in winning the Midwest Classic. In the Division I tournament, she qualified for district play barely missing a state finals berth as she finished fifth in the district event with an 80.
“Melanie’s goal was always to advance to the district tournament,” Lake coach Michael Yoder said. “Her hard work and many hours on the course paid off her senior year.’’ She has modeled what it means to be truly dedicated to the game and to our team.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.