It has been a difficult season thus far for the Bexley High School softball team, which fell to London 12-2 and 12-0 last Saturday and to Granville 22-0 last Monday to run its losing streak to nine and drop to 2-15 overall.

It has been a difficult season thus far for the Bexley High School softball team, which fell to London 12-2 and 12-0 last Saturday and to Granville 22-0 last Monday to run its losing streak to nine and drop to 2-15 overall.

A young roster has struggled in all phases of the game, still trying to find defensive stability in the infield and consistent hitting throughout the order.

That was in evidence again last Saturday. Missing two regular players with outside commitments and with a tired starting pitcher limited to three total innings, Bexley finished a tough week that also included blowout losses to Heath (16-1 on April 21), Jonathan Alder (11-0 on April 22).

"We're just not able to finish what we started," sophomore catcher Lily Watson said. "We do well in the first inning and then kind of break apart."

With the Division II district tournament set to start May 13 -- the seeding meeting is Sunday -- coach Bridget Ebenhack said there are areas of the team she believes have been showing progress.

The first of those was outfield defense. Ebenhack praised the play of Lauren Howard (LF), Bess Schieber (CF) and Tori Delap (RF), particularly their ability to make accurate throws back to the infield.

Especially recently, the outfield has made it difficult for opposing baserunners to take extra bases.

"I'd say our outfield play is the best I've seen since I've been coaching here," Ebenhack said.

She also mentioned that some individual players have shown signs of improvement, including Watson and junior Jenna Brannan (DH/OF).

After playing sparingly as a sophomore, Brannan has turned into the team's best contact hitter. After last Saturday's games she led the team in hitting with a .316 average, 85 points higher than any other starter.

Brannan has hit leadoff and ninth, but recently has settled into the second slot. She credited work by the coaching staff with helping tweak her mechanics at the plate.

"This year I've focused on leading with my hips," Brannan said. "It's helping me make more contact with the ball."

After beginning the season slowly, Watson is starting to come on defensively. Her batting average is up to .231, second on the team.

"She has allowed very few passed balls and the past few games she has started to take control of the defense in terms of communication," Ebenhack said. "She's real solid back there."

With eight underclassmen and one senior on the roster, the players were aware that their development will have long-term ramifications. The recent starting lineup features four juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

"Everybody is getting a lot of experience now," Watson said.

"We're still looking at what we can do to improve this season," Ebenhack said. "We're still trying to see what we can do to be better."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Bexley softball team:

*April 21 -- Lost to Heath 16-1

April 22 -- Lost to Jonathan Alder 11-0

*April 23 -- Lost to Licking Valley 7-1

April 24 -- Lost to Northridge 9-7

Last Saturday -- Lost to London 12-2 and 12-0

*Last Monday -- Lost to Granville 22-0

Last Tuesday -- Played Whetstone

*Last Wednesday -- Played Newark Catholic

Today -- At Central Crossing

*Friday -- At Lakewood

*Monday -- At Whitehall

Tuesday -- At Hamilton Township

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Heath

Of note: The Lions were 2-15 overall before last Tuesday and 0-8 in the MSL-Ohio before last Wednesday.

*MSL-Ohio game