Southeastern is 8-3 and 6-2 in the OHC South this season, a half-game ahead of rival Greeneview for first place in the division standings. They’re seeking their fourth consecutive OHC South title since the 2019 season.
The key to the Trojans success, said Southeastern coach Kaitlyn Blair, has been their versatility. They’ve been able to put players in different spots throughout the season when needed with great success, she said.
“We’re making things happen because we’re staying so flexible and so versatile,” Blair said.
Blair, a former West Liberty-Salem and Wright State University softball player, was an assistant coach with Southeastern the last two seasons under former Trojans coach Randy “Tojo” Delaney, who retired last spring as the winningest softball coach in Clark County history with 523 victories.
“It’s definitely been big shoes to fill,” Blair said. “I was lucky to work with him the last two years. He definitely taught me a lot of things. I kind of stepped into this thinking that I have to build my own legacy and my own program. I definitely used what he left as a foundation, but I looked at it as this is what I want to make it now. … The girls have definitely responded to what I want to do, what I expect and what I want to accomplish and we’ve been running with it.”
The Trojans went 18-7 a year ago, winning their third straight OHC South crown before falling to Russia in a Division IV district final game. Southeastern graduated OHC South Player of the Year Taylor Lewis, but returned four all-OHC performers, including senior Ella McCombs, sophomore Taylor Lewis, junior Sara Sulfridge and junior Brooklyn Weller.
This season, the Trojans are led by a battery of freshmen twin sisters — pitcher Reese Wells and catcher Kaylee Wells.
Reese Wells is 8-3 on the mound with a 3.50 earned run average in 56 innings pitched. She ranks second in the OHC with 77 strikeouts. At the plate, she’s hitting .528 with 12 RBIs.
Kaylee Wells leads the Trojans at the plate with a .667 batting average, including 22 RBIs, 12 doubles, and one home run in 36 at-bats.
“They just click,” Blair said. “As a former catcher, when you are working with someone you just work well with, you know their body language, you know what they’re thinking. They’re able to keep each other focused out there. That’s really what’s going well for them.”
Trojans sophomore Makenna Morgan is hitting .581 with three doubles, eight RBIs and eight stolen bases, while junior Katie Tehan is hitting .457 with 11 RBIs and Allie Lewis is hitting .432 with six stolen bases.
Of the 15 players on the Trojans roster, nine are underclassmen, including seven freshmen. Southeastern shortstop Ella McCombs, the Trojans lone senior, is committed to play both volleyball and softball at Bluffton University.
As the season rolls along, the underclassmen continue to get more comfortable, Blair said.
“Everybody has settled in,” she said. “The leadership we’ve had with such a young team so far has really helped us.”
In order to defend their title, the Trojans will have to take it one game at a time, especially against a tough OHC North Division that includes two state-ranked teams in Mechanicsburg and West Jefferson. The Trojans have won four of their last five games.
“Last year, our motto was: “One game at a time, one win at a time,” and I’m going to stick to that,” Blair said. “It’s important to get those conference wins, but the non-league wins are just as important to help us build and learn and carry all of that with us into tournament time.”
● D-II eighth-ranked Kenton Ridge improved to 12-3 and 9-0 in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division with back-to-back victories over London on Tuesday and Wednesday. Last Saturday, the Cougars dropped back-to-back games to two state-ranked D-I opponents in No. 7 Marysville and No. 8 Teays Valley.
Next week Kenton Ridge faces two key division games against D-II sixth-ranked Jonathan Alder. The Cougars travel to Plain City on Monday and host the Pioneers at Ed Foulk Field on Wednesday. Both games are scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m.
● Mechanicsburg junior and Florida State University commit Addie DeLong is hitting .765 with five triples, four doubles, one home run, 11 RBIs and 17 stolen bases for the D-IV fourth-ranked Indians (10-1, 7-1 OHC North).
● Cedarville freshman Adyson Rodgers leads the OHC with 42 RBIs. She’s hitting .652 with eight HRs, seven triples and seven doubles for the Indians (8-8, 2-7 OHC South).