Kirian bashes her way to another first-team honor

Taylor Kirian certainly didn’t sneak onto the All-Ohio list this year. Of course, after landing a first-team berth in 2012, she was anything but unknown this spring.

But it doesn’t hurt to make yourself stand out.

Kirian belted a single-season state record 18 home runs and set a few team marks along the way to earn her second Division IV All-Ohio first-team honor in as many years.

Not too bad for a pitcher (20-8, 127 K, 2.67 ERA) who was penciled onto the All-Ohio list as an outfielder for the second year in a row after turning in a superb season at the plate.

“It’s just good to see her get the recognition and have some [NCAA Division I] schools call about her,” New Riegel coach Jamie Lininger said.

“The home runs, who would have thought she’d hit 18? Obviously she was good enough to do that, but with our park and the way the wind usually blows in?” he said. “It takes quite a lot to hit that many home runs in a season. It was impressive.”

And that started early.

Kirian began the year on a roll, smashing homer after homer and forcing teams to adjust to her at the plate.

“I think she had 10 in the first 12 games and we were thinking, ‘Wow, the ball’s just flying off the bat.’ Then it got to the point where teams weren’t pitching to her anymore and (the home runs) started to fall off,” Lininger said.

But the rest of her offense didn’t suffer.

The junior set single-season team records with her .600 average, 57 hits and 63 RBIs, which tied for third – just two away from tying the all-time high – for the state mark for RBIs in a season.

She also tallied 47 runs, 11 doubles and a triple.

“You think about just the idea of having somebody going to be on base three out of five times, and often with an extra-base hit. It puts so much pressure on the other team – what are you going to do with her? And then we’ve got [Morgan] Noftz and [Kara] Scherger and [Taylor] Arbogast,” Lininger said. “We’ve got some good hitters. It’s a nice situation to have.”

That situation and Kirian’s hot bat led to the Blue Jackets hitting 36 home runs this year, putting them second on the state’s single-season list and just three away from tying it.

“I’m not quite sure what got into them,” Lininger said.

“Just have some good athlete with good swings. I’d like to think it was coaching, but that’s not the case,” he said with a laugh.

Four other area players also gained All-Ohio honors, with Mohawk and Hopewell-Loudon each getting two.

Junior Julie Adelsperger led the Mohawk contingent, finishing as a second-team pitcher after fanning 193 and posting a 20-5 mark with a 1.59 ERA.

She also batted .390 with 23 RBIs, five homers, five doubles and three triples – all after missing her sophomore season because of a torn ACL suffered in basketball.

“I knew before she got injured she was a good pitcher, so I couldn’t wait for her to come back,” Mohawk coach Jenny Weinandy said. “She came to the mound this year like she was never hurt. Her putting the extra time in on her own has really paid off for her to be one of the great pitchers.

“It’s tough to get All-Ohio, so I was just proud that the two that did get it, they got honored for their efforts,” she said. “I know Julie puts a lot of extra time into pitching, like a lot of pitchers do. She’s a powerhouse pitcher and a great hitter, and to have both … well-deserved All-Ohio.”

Cambria Kohlenberg also made the All-Ohio list as an honorable mention outfielder.

The freshman topped the Warriors in batting (.505), hits (48), runs (36), RBIs (32), steals (24) and triples (8). She also belted six doubles and two homers.

“She’s a talented player. Her numbers in the league support that, especially with the .505 [batting average]; she’s up there with the juniors and seniors in the batting, and pretty much in every category,” Weinandy said.

“She’s a quiet person,” she said, “but her actions speak loudly.”

Also gaining honorable mention status were Hopewell-Loudon seniors Racquel Hossler and Lauren Trumpler.

Trumpler, a first-team pick last year, made the list as an infielder who hit .516 with 37 runs, 30 RBIs, 11 doubles, four homers and two doubles.

Hossler, a catcher, hit at a .469 clip with 21 runs, 18 RBIs, 11 doubles, a homer and a triple.

In Division II, Bellevue senior Hannah Lilly was a first-team pick as an infielder.