Lakota West sophomore Ashley Sharp led team her team in runs batted in and led the GMC in wins on the mound. Photo taken during a game in April by Amanda Davidson.
A total of 12 Lakota high school softball players were recently selected to the Greater Miami Conference first and second teams. Lakota East had four first-team selections, while Lakota West had three.
Making the first team from Lakota East were junior Lea Buckenmyer (led team with a .432 batting average and with 19 wins), senior Ainsley Ellison (led team in runs, hits and stolen bases – she also hit .430) senior Alyssa Grevenkamp (hit .337) and senior Kim Rollins (hit .352).
Lakota West honorees included sophomore Alyssa Hedric (lead team in doubles and tied for lead in runs scored), senior Amanda Lahti (tied on team in runs scored, also hit .330) and sophomore Ashley Sharp (led team with 21 runs batted in and led GMC in wins with 20).
Second-team selections include sophomore Kadey Astrop, sophomore Taylor Fair and sophomore Gracie Sprockett, all from Lakota East; as well as sophomore Kathleen Burbrink and senior Jessica Burke, both from Lakota West.
Both Lakota varsity softball teams finished at the top of the GMC standings – Lakota West took first place with a 23-6 overall record and a 16-2 mark within the GMC, while Lakota East finished in second place with 22-8 overall record and a 15-3 mark in conference play.
In addition to the student athletes, Lakota West head coach Keith Castner was selected as the GMC coach of the year. Castner earned his 300th career win in April and led Lakota West to its first GMC title since 2009.
Lakota West safety Dawson Fletcher officially signed to play football at Indiana University Feb. 1, 2012 on National Signing Day. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
Unlike Lakota East, Lakota West High School hosts numerous signing ceremonies throughout the academic calendar. So far, there have been 32 seniors at Lakota West who have signed on to continue their athletic careers in college.
At Lakota East, there have been a total of 26 seniors recognized at two different signing day events in 2012.
Here is a list of all the Lakota West students who will be playing sports in college:
Ali Zieverink – Shawnee State (basketball)
Adrianna McNeal – Southwestern (basketball)
Rachel Mills – Alderson Broddus Illinois College ((basketball)
Summer Reeves – Morgan State University (basketball)
Shabazz Reeves – Morgan State University (basketball)
Jordan Darland – Olivet Nazarene (football)
Blake Bell – California (PA.) (football)
Dawson Fletcher – Indiana University (football)
Cole Stalker – University of Findlay (football)
Beau Odom – Georgetown College (football)
Kayaune Ross – Fort Scott Community College (football)
Bubba Williams – Lindsey Wilson (football)
Evan Hodel – Wheeling Jesuit (lacrosse)
Zach Crabtree – Wheeling Jesuit (lacrosse)
Ali Green – Ashland (golf)
Kim Love – Purdue University (soccer)
Kelly Mack – Wright State (soccer)
Lauren Pratt – Ohio Dominican (soccer)
Malik Zuberi – Shawnee State (baseball)
Zak Farmer – Walsh University (baseball)
Davis Schafer – Bellarmine University (baseball)
Mike Seaman – Trine University (baseball)
Nick Billman – Mount St. Joseph (baseball)
Jake Wagner – Miami-Hamilton (baseball)
Amanda Lahti - Ohio Northern (softball)
Brooke Rowley – Lake Forest College (swimming)
Brady Holmer – NKU (cross country)
Amanda Shelby – Mount St. Joseph (cross country)
Nathan Haynes – Navy (cross country)
Mel Stewart – NKU (volleyball)
Corri Muha – Georgetown College (volleyball)
Nick Bloch – Lake Erie College (wrestling)
WestFirebirds.com, the school’s official athletic website, posts photos and details after signing ceremonies take place.
Lakota West continues to have Lakota East’s number in softball, winning its fourth straight against its school district rival. The latest coming by way of a 6-2 victory Friday over the Thunderhawks.
Last season, Lakota East was ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the spring and lost only three of its 31 games. All three losses came at the hand of the Firebirds, including one that eliminated Lakota East in the state quarterfinals.
“I don’t think they have our number,” Lakota East head coach Steve Castner said. “This is a new year. We have a new group of girls … it is high school softball and the team that scores the most or doesn’t make the most mistakes – wins. That is all it is.”
Entering this season, both schools, which are coached by brothers, Steve and Keith Castner, were tied atop The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Division I Preseason Poll. Entering Friday’s matchup, both high schools were also unbeaten in the Greater Miami Conference in the early going this spring.
“It is always a rivalry. We can always down play it. I never make it about us, the brothers, because it about the girls,” Lakota West head coach Keith Castner said. “They love this game, practically when it is against East because they all know each other. I am really happy for them.”
Sophomore centerfielder Alyssa Hedric, who doubled twice, scored twice and drove in another run, led the Firebirds’ offense.
Sophomore centerfielder Alyssa Hedric scores on a wild pitch in the first inning. Hedric doubled twice, scored twice and drove in another run during a 6-2 win Friday against rival Lakota East. Photo by Joseph Fuqua II.
She scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning after doubling and advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt.
In the third inning, Hedric drove in sophomore Marisa Walterbusch with her second double. Afterwards, she celebrated by flexing her muscles while standing on top of the second base bag.
“It is a team thing, everyone does it if you get a double or any hit,” Hedric said about flexing after her second double.
Later in the third, Hedric would score on a triple by senior first baseman Amanda Lahti. Lahti, who has signed on to play at Ohio Northern, scored on the play when the relay throw went over the head of Lakota East third baseman Gracie Sprockett.
“We just started off strong, everybody hit, came out on fire and that gave us a lot of confidence throughout the game,” Hedric said.
That confidence led to two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“This win means a lot,” Keith Castner said. “We have a lot of hard working girls, who are bound and determined each game.”
In the loss, Lakota East finished with seven hits, missed multiple opportunities to score and committed two errors. To beat Lakota West, the Thunderhawks head coach said that his team will need to minimize their mistakes.
“We are in game 5, we have 27 games in the regular season plus tournament and you are going to make mistakes in game 5,” Steve Castner said. “It is game 28, 29 and 30 where mistakes cannot happen.”
Both teams will have more time to improve when they face off again April 19 at Lakota East.
BOX: Sharp (5-1, 3 K’s). Buckenmyer (3-1, 6 K’s). LE Rollins 2B, Dendler 2B, Callihan 2B Astrop 2-3, 2B. LW Hedric 2-3 2Bs, Lahti 3B, Walterbusch 3-3, Johnson 2B. LE (4-1), LW (5-1).
Lakota West celebrates after defeating Lakota East in the state tournament last season. The Firebirds were the only softball team to defeat Lakota East in 2011, winning twice in the regular season and again in the state quarterfinals. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
Lakota East and Lakota West featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Division I softball preview
Mark Schmetzer reports
Lakota East’s march to last season’s Division I state tournament was memorably stopped short by Lakota West in the regional finals.
There’s a good chance those two schools will play major roles in this season’s tournament – or, if not those two, another area team, according to Lakota East coach Steve Castner.
“I believe the area will hold its own, as it has for years,” he said.
Castner’s Thunderhawks, who finished the regular season as champions of both the Associated Press state poll and The Enquirer area coaches’ poll, have three first-team all-Greater Miami Conference performers returning in junior Lea Buckenmyer and two seniors, right fielder Ainsley Ellison and shortstop Alyssa Grevenkamp.
Lakota East was the favorite to win the state title last season, but was ousted 1-0 in the state quarterfinals by rival Lakota West May 28, 2011. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
Buckenmyer will move from first base to take over for Sara Pearson, last year’s Enquirer Player of the Year. Buckenmyer was 5-0 with a 1.31 earned-run average in 10 games last season.
The Firebirds, who lost in the state semifinals, have experience in senior third baseman Amanda Lahti, who hit .440 while being named first-team all-GMC last season, and senior catcher Jessica Burke.
Fairfield, which tied Lakota West for second in the GMC, returns six starters, led by senior third baseman Kelly Browning, a two-time, first-team all-GMC selection.
Mason also will be counting on seniors, according to coach Liann Muff. Pitcher Sarah Browning was named first-team all-GMC last season while catcher Margo Hutchinson, shortstop Jill Richardson and third baseman Claire Wehby were second-team picks.
Glen Este, the third local team to reach last season’s regional tournament, lost all-state pitcher Kelly Benhase, but coach Tim Gregory expects sophomore right-hander Bailey Miller and freshman left-hander Brook Parker to capably plug the hole for the youthful Trojans.
Mercy, which won the Girls Greater Cincinnati League Scarlet Division championship and reached the Division II regional finals last season, has eight returning starters, including pitchers Amy Feie and Anna Eggleston, to help a weather move up to Division I.
“We have great potential, experienced leaders and team motivation,” coach Stefanie Kathman said.
The Bobcats will be challenged by McAuley, which finished second in the Scarlet behind second baseman Rachel Oakley, who hit .513.
In baseball, Lakota East’s Ray Hamilton was named GMC Coach of the Year and Lakota East junior pitcher Mike Conrad shared the honor of GMC Baseball Athlete of the Year with Middletown’s Kyle Schwarber.
Lakota East, which won the GMC title and a state title this spring, had five players (Conrad, senior J.D. Whetsel, senior Jesse Rait, senior Evan Hills and junior Alex Corna) named to the All-GMC First Team and two (senior Mitch Geers and sophomore Jarrett Rindfleisch) named to the All-GMC Second Team.
Lakota West, which won a district title this season, had two players (senior Ryan Oltorik and junior Jake Wagner) named to the All-GMC First Team and three (senior T.J. Belieu, senior Mack Doherty, junior Zack Farmer) named to the All-GMC Second Team.
In softball, Sara Pearson, who has signed on to play at the University of Memphis, was named as the GMC Softball Athlete of the Year. Pearson struck out 264 batters in 164.2 innings and posted a 0.30 earned run average in 2011.
Lakota East, which won the GMC title and a district title in 2011, had five players (Pearson, sophomore Lea Buckenmyer, junior Ainsley Ellison, junior Alyssa Grevenkamp and senior Kelly Hardison) named to the All-GMC First Team and one (junior Kim Rollins) named to the All-GMC Second Team.
Lakota West, which won a regional title this spring, had two players (senior Alex Caudill and junior Amanda Lahti) named to the All-GMC First Team and three (senior Yasmin Battle, senior Melanie Bryan and junior Jessica Burke) named to the All-GMC Second Team.
Lakota West finished the regular season on a high note after outlasting rival Mason in a 1-0 victory in 16 innings on Monday, May 9. The win improves the Firebirds’ record to 16-4 overall and 15-3 within the Greater Miami Conference.
Lakota West senior pitcher Alex Caudill struck out nine batters in the game. Teammates, junior Bekah Werth (2-for-6), junior Amanda Lahti (3-for-6, 2B), freshman Ashley Sharp (2-for-7) and freshman Alyssa Hedric (2-for-6) led the Firebirds at the plate.
The Firebirds are scheduled to open the postseason against Middletown (6-13 overall, 5-11 in the GMC) this Wednesday, May 11, at 5 p.m. at Lakota West. The winner will advance to the next round of the district tournament and will face the winner of the Little Miami/Springfield game. That next round matchup will be played May 16 at 5 p.m. at West Carrollton High School.
Softball – Lakota East 28, Meadowdale 0 – The Thunderhawks opened up the postseason by defeating Meadowdale (Dayton) by the score of 28-0 in five innings during a game Monday, May 9. Lakota East, which is ranked No. 1 in the state by the Ohio High School Softball Coaches Association, received a perfect game from sophomore pitcher Lea Buckenmyer, who struck out nine batters in the win. She also went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in three runs. Lakota East junior Claire Lyons led all batters with six RBIs. Lakota East (20-2 overall, 13-2 in the GMC) will now host Stebbins (Dayton) this Wednesday, May 11, at 5 p.m. The winner will then advance to face the winner of the Beavercreek/Fairborn game. That next round matchup will be played May 16 at 5 p.m. at Fairmont High School.
Baseball – Hamilton 8, Lakota East 4 – Hamilton spoiled senior day at Lakota East by defeating the Thunderhawks by the score of 8-4 on Monday. Senior Mitch Geers led the Thunderhawks with four RBIs in the loss. Despite the defeat, Lakota East remains at the top of the GMC standings with a 15-7 overall record and a 12-5 mark within the conference. Lakota East will begin postseason play this Thursday, May 12, at 5 p.m. by hosting the winner of Tuesday’s Western Brown/Aiken game. (more…)
Both the Lakota East baseball and softball teams earned eight-inning road wins on Thursday, April 14, against Fairfield teams. The baseball team defeated Fairfield by the score of 3-2, while softball team earned a 2-1 victory.
Lakota East senior pitcher Evan Hills, who recently committed to the University of Cincinnati, improved his record to 4-1 on the season. Senior J.D. Whetsel (3-for-5, 2B), sophomore Jarret Rindfleish (2-for-5), junior Alex Corna (2-for-4) and senior Mitch Geers (2-for-3) led Lakota East from the plate. Meanwhile, Lakota East senior Sara Pearson homered and threw a complete game in the softball win against Fairfield. Pearson improved her record to 10-1 on the season.
Both teams are now tied atop the Greater Miami Conference standings.
In baseball, Lakota East is 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the GMC. Mason (8-2 overall) is also 6-2 in the GMC. The Thunderhawks will host Fairfield (6-5 overall, 3-5 in GMC) today, April 15, at 5 p.m.
In softball, Lakota East is now 13-1 overall and 8-1 in the GMC. Fairfield (8-1 overall) is also 8-1 in the GMC. The Thunderhawks are scheduled to play at Middletown (3-7 overall, 3-5 in GMC) on Saturday, April 16.
Baseball – Lakota West 1, Oak Hills 0 – Lakota West earned a 1-0 win against Oak Hills on Thursday to stay a game out from the top two teams in the GMC standings. Junior Zack Farmer earned his first win on the season and struck out nine batters. With the win, Lakota West improves to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the GMC. The Firebirds will host Oak Hills (5-4 overall, 4-4 in the GMC) today at 5 p.m.
Softball – Lakota West 2, Middletown 0 – In her second game back from injury, Lakota West senior pitcher Alex Caudill shutout Middletown and struck out 16 batters in a 2-0 victory on Thursday. Junior Amanda Lahti (3-for-3) led Lakota West at the plate. With the win, Lakota West improves to 8-2 overall and 7-1 in the GMC. The Firebirds will play at Sycamore today at 4:30 p.m.
Tennis – Lakota East def. Lakota West – Lakota East won its sixth straight team match, while Lakota West lost for the fourth straight time when the Thunderhawks defeated the Firebirds 4-1 on Thursday. Only No. 3 singles player sophomore Nick Lang won his match for Lakota West. Lakota East improves to 8-1 overall and 7-1 in the GMC. Lakota West’s record falls to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the GMC. Lakota West will play at Mason (8-1 overall, 6-1 in the GMC) this afternoon at 4 p.m.
Track – at Mt. Healthy – The Lakota West boys’ team finished third, while the girls’ team was fifth at the track competition at Mt. Healthy High School on Thursday. The boys’ team won multiple categories including the 4×800 relay, the 800M (Nathaniel Haynes), 1600M (Brady Holmer), and the 3200 run (Holmer). Meanwhile, Amanda Shelby won the girls’ 1600M. The coed track team will compete at Butler (Vandalia) High School this Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
Volleyball – Lakota East def. Princeton – Lakota East remained perfect in the GMC when it defeated Princeton by the score of 25-4, 25-9, 25-11 on Thursday. The Thunderhawks improve to 11-3 overall and 4-0 in the GMC. Lakota East’s next match will be against Badin on Monday, April 18.