High school football teams throughout Ohio began preseason practice Monday. Lakota East opened its camp with a session in the morning and another in the early afternoon.
This Friday, WestChesterBuzz.com will post a season preview of the Thunderhawks.
Here is a look at Lakota East’s 2012 schedule (2011 record):
Aug. 24 – vs. Western Hills (5-5 overall, 5-1 in Cin. Metro Athletic Conf.) Aug. 31 – vs. Winton Woods (5-5 overall, 4-1 in Fort Ancient Valley Conf.) Sept. 7 – at Northmont (4-6 overall, 2-3 in Greater Western Ohio Conf.) Sept. 14 – at Oak Hills (4-6 overall, 2-5 in GMC) Sept. 21 – vs. Middletown (10-2 overall, 6-1 in GMC) Sept. 28 – at Hamilton (4-6 overall, 2-5 in GMC) Oct. 5 – vs. Sycamore (8-3 overall, 5-2 in GMC) Oct. 12 – at Mason (7-4 overall, 5-2 in GMC) Oct. 19 – vs. Fairfield (1-9 overall, 0-7 in GMC) Oct. 26 – at Lakota West (3-7 overall, 2-5 in GMC)
This past fall, the Thunderhawks complied a 4-6 overall record and 2-5 mark within the GMC.
(All 2012 Lakota East football games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.)
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 East baseball team wins school’s first state title
WestChesterBuzz.com will count down the area’s top 11 stories of 2011 this month, concluding with West Chester’s most discussed topic of the year Dec. 30.
For the first time in school history, Lakota East High School captured a state championship in a varsity sport.
Accomplishing that feat was the Lakota East baseball team, which played the title game at the same time fellow classmates were attending graduation ceremonies at Miami University’s Millet Hall.
The club’s 12 seniors didn’t mind missing their graduation.
“We were all excited. We didn’t really care (about missing our graduation). We would rather win the state championship than attend some boring two-hour long graduation,” senior pitcher Evan Hills said.
Instead, Hills bored Perrysburg batters in a 119-pitch complete game performance in the state championship June 4. Lakota East won the game and its first-ever state title by the score of 6-2.
“Hands down, it was the best day of my life,” senior shortstop J.D. Whetsel said of the day his team won the state championship. “Coach talked to us while we were up there and said, ‘there are not a whole lot of people who can end their baseball career with a win.’ We were able to be that handful of 12 guys who get to play their last baseball game and win it.
“To be able to hang a banner for a state championship in a team sport and to win for coach Ham (Ray Hamilton), who has been coaching for 23 years, and finally take him there and win it for (principal) Dr. Kiline, (athletic director) Mr. (Richard) Bryant, all of them – they all really deserve it. It is really cool to be the guys to bring it to them.”
Besides winning the state title, the East baseball team’s accomplishments this season include the program’s best-ever overall record (24-7), its third Greater Miami Conference title, along with sectional, district and regional titles.
East’s 2011 state championship is only the second Lakota team to win an OHSAA Division 1 State Baseball title (Lakota West 2007). East joins five other GMC schools, Hamilton (1983,1997), Fairfield (1985,1991) and Lakota West (2007) who have state baseball titles.
Head Coach Ray Hamilton earned his 374th career victory with East’s title victory.
On the following Monday, June 6, Lakota East parents, fans and state champion ballplayers filled the Hawks Nest at Lakota East High School to celebrate the school’s first state championship and to give the team’s seniors a brief graduation ceremony.