When first-year coach Tom Marker calls the Bexley High School baseball team "a bunch of dirt balls," it's a good thing.

When first-year coach Tom Marker calls the Bexley High School baseball team "a bunch of dirt balls," it's a good thing.

That means the Lions aren't afraid to do what they need to do to improve on last season. Bexley finished 7-13 overall last year after losing to eventual Division II district tournament champion DeSales 4-3 in the second round.

"These guys are tough and not afraid to get dirty," Marker said. "We have talent. The key for us is to be mentally tough."

Marker is the fourth Lions coach in three years. Last season first-year coach Scott Brewer was released from his contract after he left a player at Dublin Jerome following a 13-0 loss to the Celtics on March 31. Harley Williams agreed to be the team's interim coach for the remainder of the season.

The infield will be anchored by senior Matt Snowberger (SS), juniors Tommy Zervas (1B), Ben Golden (2B) and Adam Schwartz (3B) and freshman Grant Murphy (C). Freshman Jimmy Kahan (3B) and sophomore Henry Dolin (C) should also see time.

Junior Ryan Young (LF), senior Alec Touris (CF) and junior Spencer Fries (RF) will comprise the outfield.

Schwartz, Snowberger, Touris and junior Jacob Luscher will rotate as pitchers.

Bexley hopes to improve on its 4-10 record (seventh) in the MSL-Ohio Division. The Lions finished behind Newark Catholic (11-3), Licking Valley (9-5), Granville (9-5), Lakewood (8-6), Heath (7-7) and Academy (7-7), and ahead of Whitehall (1-13).

"Hopefully, we can make our mark," Marker said. "We know we're going to take lumps along the way, but we have to be able to find a way to win."

•After spending the last 17 years as an assistant at Ready and two years as the head coach at Central Crossing, Rick Wemlinger thought he was done coaching softball when he stepped down as the Comets' coach at the end of the 2008 season. Wemlinger was lured back to coaching by the challenge of turning Bexley into a winning program.

Bexley finished 3-19 last year after losing to Granville 10-0 in the second round of the Division II tournament. Wemlinger replaces Bridget Ebenhack.

"The girls want to get the program stronger," Wemlinger said. "We're going to be a very vanilla team this year. We're very young, but we're making strides every day to get better."

Bexley only returns four players -- senior Lily Watson (C), junior Tori Delap (CF), junior Chelsea Jordan (2B) and sophomore Bethany Barnes (Utility). Delap batted .300 in MSL-Ohio play.

"We have a lot of freshmen," Wemlinger said. "We're still feeling things out. They're all enjoying practicing and learning to do things the right way."

Bexley is hoping to improve on a seventh-place finish (1-11) in the MSL-Ohio.

Lakewood won the league with an 11-1 record and was followed by Granville (10-2), Licking Valley (8-4), Heath (6-6), Newark Catholic (4-8) and Whitehall (2-10).

"At the beginning of the practices, I asked Lily what her goal was and she said to finish .500," Wemlinger said. "That's going to be a big step, but we're going to shoot for that."

•Boys tennis coach G.J. Seckel has a talented core of players, but admits that getting someone back to the Division II state tournament will be challenging.

The Central District receives only two state qualifiers instead of four in singles and doubles this year after the East and Southeast districts petitioned successfully to have their own district.

"(With Watterson and DeSales playing Division II this year), our district is going to be loaded and only two are going to make it," said Seckel, whose team has produced a state doubles qualifier five of the last six years.

Bexley returns three letterwinners in senior Brian Yost, sophomore Matt Wareti and sophomore David Seckel. Last year the Lions were 14-3 and placed second in the MSL-Ohio/Cardinal tournament with 41 points, behind Academy (50) and ahead of Granville (28), Grandview (20), Fisher Catholic (11), West Jefferson (9) and Whitehall (2).

Wareti and graduate Preston Phillips lost 6-3, 6-2 to Cincinnati Wyoming's Max Hennessey and Mason Bourbon in the first round of the Division II state tournament.

Looking to fill spots are juniors Christian Liefeld, Max Schottenstein, Gabe Coe, Matt O'Hern and Zach Goodstein.

"There's a different attitude with this team," coach Seckel said. "It's a whole new world for these guys and they're excited about it."

•Pending board approval, former Pickerington Central girls volleyball coach Corrie Feldmann will replace Amber Bollinger as the Bexley's coach, athletics director Molly Feesler announced.

Feldmann was 7-62 as the Tigers girls coach from 2007-09. He was 25-45 in three years as the Tigers boys coach from 2006-08. Bollinger who was 18-28 in two years as the Lions coach.

Schedules

BASEBALL

March 31 at Delaware

*April 1 vs. Columbus Academy

*April 5 at Heath

*April 7 vs. Whitehall

April 8 at Franklin Heights

*April 9 at Granville

*April 12 vs. Newark Catholic

April 13 vs. Independence

*April 14 at Lakewood

*April 16 vs. Licking Valley

April 17 at Bradley (DH)

*April 19 at Academy

April 20 vs. Northland

*April 21 vs. Heath

April 22 at Wellington

*April 23 at Whitehall

April 24 vs. Big Walnut and Reynoldsburg

*April 26 vs. Granville

*April 28 at Newark Catholic

*April 30 vs. Lakewood

May 1 at Centennial ( DH)

*May 3 at Licking Valley

May 4 vs. Briggs

May 6 vs. Westland

May 8 vs. Liberty Union and Buckeye Valley

SOFTBALL

March 31 at West Jefferson

*April 5 at Heath

April 6 vs. Grandview

*April 7 vs. Whitehall

April 8 vs. Hamilton Township

*April 9 at Granville

*April 12 vs. Newark Catholic

April 13 vs. Lancaster

*April 14 at Lakewood

*April 16 vs. Licking Valley

April 17 at Millersport with Grove City Christian

April 19 vs. Jonathan Alder

*April 21 vs. Heath

*April 23 at Whitehall

April 24 at Northside Classic vs. Northland and Independence

*April 26 vs. Granville

*April 28 at Newark Catholic

*April 30 vs. Lakewood

May 1 at Whetstone with Reynoldsburg

May 3 at Licking Valley

May 4 at Worthington Christian

May 6 vs. Tree of Life Christian

May 8 vs. Wellington (DH)

*MSL-Ohio contest

TENNIS

April 5 vs. Wellington

April 7 at Chillicothe

April 12 vs. Hartley

April 14 vs. St. Charles

*April 15 vs. Whitehall

April 19 vs. Pickerington Central

*April 20 at Granville

April 21 vs. Watterson

*April 22 vs. West Jefferson

April 24 vs. Walsh Jesuit

April 26 vs. Village Academy

*April 27 vs. Columbus Academy

April 28 vs. Thomas Worthington

*April 29 at Fisher Catholic

May 3 at Hilliard Davidson

*May 4 vs. Grandview

May 6 at DeSales

May 8 at MSL tournament (Academy)

May 11 at Worthington Kilbourne

*MSL-Ohio/Cardinal contest

At a glance

BASEBALL

Coach: Tom Marker, first season

Next game: Today vs. Academy

Key players: Spencer Fries, Ben Golden, Adam Schwartz, Matt Snowberger, Alec Touris, Ryan Young and Tommy Zervas

BOYS TENNIS

Coach: G.J. Seckel, 19th season

Next game: Monday vs. Wellington

Key players: David Seckel, Matt Wareti and Brian Yost

SOFTBALL

Coach: Rick Wemlinger, first season

Next game: Monday at Heath

Key players: Bethany Barnes, Tori Delap, Chelsea Jordan and Lily Watson