For the first time in five seasons, the Delaware Christian School softball team has more than two seniors on its roster.

For the first time in five seasons, the Delaware Christian School softball team has more than two seniors on its roster.

Fourth-year coach Bill Ferrigno welcomed back four seniors and added a fifth as the Eagles try to improve on last season's 5-10 overall record and 5-7 MOCAL mark.

The returning seniors are first baseman Wendy Ferrigno (coach's daughter), shortstop Haley Kirby, pitcher/outfielder Jennah Malisiak and catcher Liz Roden.

Kirby and Roden were first-team all-league selections last year, Ferrigno was on the second team and Malisiak and junior Jessica Kapraly were honorable mention.

Kapraly, a starter at second base last season, has taken over the No. 1 pitching role. She tossed a four-hitter in a 7-3 win over Gahanna Christian in the league and season opener March 26.

"Jessica worked extremely hard last summer to become our top pitcher and with a mostly senior infield behind her, we think that will comfort her and help her ease into a new situation," said coach Ferrigno, whose team scored 29 runs in the first two innings en route to a 31-2 win over Patriot Academy on March 27. "She has decent speed and is fitting in well."

Delaware Christian also defeated Grove City Christian 12-0 on March 29.

The Eagles lost to Morral Ridgedale 9-5 in the first round of the Division IV district tournament last season. They finished fourth in the MOCAL behind Grove City Christian (9-0), Madison Christian (7-3) and Tree of Life (5-4) and ahead of Fairfield Christian (2-7) and Gahanna Christian (1-6).

Delaware Christian added a fifth senior when Sarah Harp returned to the program after spending the past two seasons competing in track and field. She will play second base and hit leadoff.

"With Harp, Roden and Kapraly in the top third (of the lineup), we have great speed and aggressive runners in front of our top hitters, Haley Kirby and Wendy Ferrigno," coach Ferrigno said. "Then we have a freshman, Emily Cornelius, who has a lot of softball experience, at third base and batting sixth."

Juniors Holly Bach (RF) and Shannon Ridge (CF) also are returning starters. Carmon Weldi, the lone sophomore, will see time in the outfield along with Malisiak, who was the team's top pitcher the past two seasons.

Freshman Abbey Ruminski also is expected to see time in the outfield, as are juniors Rachael Cross and Emily Kirkham. Freshmen outfielders Rachel Kirkham and Brooklyn Ross round out the roster.

"I am encouraged by Kapraly's pitching and having five seniors," coach Ferrigno said. "We feel we have the experience, talent and heart, and our confidence level is high. We have good leadership and skills and we'll see where it takes us."

•The baseball team, which lost just one player from a year ago to graduation, had been planning to improve on last season's finishes of 3-8 overall and 1-8 in the MOCAL.

However, six expected returnees chose not to play this spring, including four who plan to concentrate on basketball.

The Eagles eventually got five newcomers to sign up and save the season. There are 11 players on the roster.

"We're rebuilding when we didn't think we were going to have to do that," said Sharon Copley, who is co-coach with Mike Bess. "Four guys we expected to play took the spring off to work on basketball. We added two seniors, one who has never played organized ball and the other who hasn't played since little league.

"We added three freshmen, two who haven't played since little league and another who has never played. So we're extremely young, especially in the pitching department."

Senior Jeffrey Copley (son of coach Copley) is the only pitcher with much experience. Copley, who was second-team all-league last season, also will catch.

Classmates Allen Poff (OF/3B) and Ryan Zinn (SS/P) have joined the team. Poff played in youth leagues and Zinn, who until two years ago lived in China, has never played.

"We were amazed immediately by Ryan Zinn," said coach Copley, whose team lost to fourth-seeded Tree of Life 16-2 in the first round of the Division IV district tournament last season. "He's a great athlete and has exceptional hand-eye coordination. He's quick and has picked up on hitting and playing shortstop quickly. He just needs to learn situations, but he has great talent."

Carl Stover (C) is the lone junior and one of the team's top hitters. He was honorable mention all-league last year.

Sophomores returning are Wyatt Bess (2B), Matt Gessner (3B), Matt Gray (1B/P) and Paul Reeves (OF). Bess, Gessner and Gray were outfielders last season.

Gray was 3-for-4 with two doubles in a 13-2, five-inning win over Gahanna Christian in the opener March 26. Copley threw a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.

"It's important for Jeffrey to get some strikeouts because of our young defense," coach Copley said. "He needs to go the distance in his games, so there's some pressure in his situation. We were thrilled to see Matt Gray hit well and Allen Poff made contact in every at-bat."

Delaware Christian lost to Grove City Christian 21-0 on March 29.

Freshmen outfielders are Kyle Hsu, D.J. Copley (son of coach Copley) and David Cross. Hsu and D.J. Copley haven't played since youth baseball and Cross has never played.

Last season, the Eagles finished last in the MOCAL behind co-champions Fairfield Christian and Tree of Life (7-2), Grove City Christian (6-3), Madison Christian (3-6) and Gahanna Christian (2-5).