GREENE COUNTY AREA — With the end of High School Softball’s regular season at hand, the first of our Greene County Batting Champions can now be crowned. It’s also a first for this annual Greene County-area Batting Championship, presented by Pizza Hut.
Bellbrook’s KALEY CLARK has successfully defended her 2018 batting crown by winning the 2019 title. Clark, the Southestern Buckeye League’s regular season batting champion, is on quite a tear this season. Her regular-season .700 batting average would rank her third in all of Ohio, according to statistics listed on the MaxPreps.com website. The Bellbrook junior currently has collected 35 hits in 50 trips to the plate.
MaxPreps has Columbus Eastmoor Academy senior shortstop Mallory Barnes tops in Ohio with a .776 average, Mount Gilead junior shortstop McKenzie Bump is second at .729. While she’s not yet listed on the MaxPreps statistics, Clark (also a shortstop) has the third best mark among reported regular season batting averages with her .700 regular season average.
Among Greene County-area hitters Bellbrook’s Clark was first, followed by Caity Moody of Xenia (.541), Fairborn’s Kendall Winn (.513), Yellow Springs batters Zoe Lafferty (.512) and Bre Wallace (.500), Xenia’s Sydney Smith (.494), Ashlyn Baker of Fairborn (.481), Xenia’s Bailey Oliver (.463), Yellow Springs’ Rebecca Spencer (.452) and Carroll’s Ellie Trusty (.447).
For the second year, the Greene County News, and its Xenia Daily Gazette, Fairborn Daily Herald, and Beavercreek News-Current newspapers, are teaming up with the Xenia Pizza Hut location (at 354 W. Main St.) to present the area batting champions with an award for their hard work during the Spring season.
Pizza Hut general manager Brandon Beatty presented our 2018 champions — Bellbrook’s Clark and graduated Legacy Christian baseball senior Josh Rutan — with $50 Pizza Hut gift certificates last season.
The top area baseball and softball batting average champions will each receive a $50 gift certificate from Pizza Hut again this season.
The county high school baseball batting race is still going on through this weekend, with Cedarville’s Caleb McKinion firmly out in front. McKinion currently sports a .529 batting average, with Fairborn’s Hunter Warner currently second with a .492 mark.
Warner can only hope for a McKinion slump in Cedarville’s final two scheduled regular-season games, because Fairborn has ended its regular season. There are several other players in contention who are still playing regular season games this weekend, however. Xenia’s Aydan Evans (.483) has one regular season game remaining on the Buccaneers’ schedule, but he would have to go 6-for-6 or something like that to have a chance to catch McKinion. Beavercreek’s Grant Reeve (.441) currently sits fourth in the batting chase and the Beavers have four games remaining on their regular-season schedule, so while it’s a long shot, Reeve still has a chance to catch McKinion.
Other top hitters in the baseball title chase are Xenia’s Joey Lewis (.432), Fairborn’s Kahlil Lettice (.426) and Garison Secrest (.413), Greeneview’s Brayden Dobney (.407), Yellow Springs’ Dylan Rainey (.405) and the Bucs’ Blayne Dudley (.403).
We’ll crown our Greene County-area baseball batting champion next week.
Congratulations to Bellbrook’s Kaley Clark on being the first-ever Greene County-area high school student athlete to repeat as a Pizza Hut batting champion.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.