DARKE COUNTY – The spring sports season has started and two athletes who are off to hot starts are The Daily Advocate’s first athletes of the week of the spring.
The Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Tri-Village baseball player Jonny Wilson and Versailles softball player Kami McEldowney.
Among all Darke County baseball players, Wilson is among the top five in batting average, runs batted in and earned run average this season.
Wilson is second on his team and third in his county with a .480 batting average. He leads the Patriots and is fourth in the county with 11 RBI.
“He’s always been a pretty clutch hitter for us,” Tri-Village baseball coach Jim Maples said. “If there’s one guy we want up in a clutch situation to win a ball game we want Jonny Wilson.”
As a pitcher Wilson is third among Darke County baseball players with a 0.47 ERA, winning his first three starts of the season.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in our conference,” Maples said.
Wilson is the Patriots’ hardest worker and will do whatever the team needs of him, Maples said, whether that is pitching, playing short stop or even catching.
“He really sets an example for everybody else by doing that,” the Tri-Village coach said. “There’s nothing that I can question on Jonny’s effort ever.”
Wilson is a four-year varsity player for Tri-Village and a three-year captain.
“I don’t have enough good things that I can say about him,” Maples said. “He’s a leader. He leads by example. He’s not a real vocal guy. He just goes out and works and does what he’s supposed to do.”
McEldowney leads all Darke County athletes with a .625 batting average this season. She’s also driven in eight runs.
Versailles softball coach Chris Floyd is even more impressed by her OPS, which measures on-base percentage plus slugging.
“She is at a 1.573, which is amazing,” he said. “It’s not just that she’s getting on base. When she’s called upon to drive runs in, get extra-base hits, that’s the true offensive stat.”
As the Tigers’ leadoff hitter this season, McEldowney has five doubles, a triple and a home run. She also has stolen four bases.
“That’s what I want out of a leadoff hitter,” Floyd said. “The best leadoff hitters can put you up 1-0 or get on and steal a base, get into scoring position.”
The Versailles junior also is transitioning well to short stop, which is a new position for her.
And McEldowney is having her success despite getting a late start to the season after helping lead the Versailles girls basketball team to the state finals.
“She came right off the basketball court and went right to work on her softball game, her softball skills,” Floyd said. “She’s showing great leadership skills and really helps jump-start our offense.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.