For the last two seasons, the Dublin Scioto High School baseball team was angling toward this year.

For the last two seasons, the Dublin Scioto High School baseball team was angling toward this year.

The Irish lost four seniors after the 2007 season and none after last year.

"(Getting a chance to build over three years) was really special," said senior David McKinley, who was third on the team in batting this season with a .438 average. "The past three years have been a lot of fun. If you look back, you see that our team chemistry got better every year and that made things fun."

Scioto's record also improved. After losing to Zanesville 2-1 in a Division I district semifinal May 19, the Irish finished 22-3 overall. They shared the OCC-Cardinal Division title with Olentangy Liberty at 12-2, finishing ahead of Jerome (8-6), Westerville North (6-8), Marysville (5-9), Olentangy (5-9), Westerville Central (4-10) and Westerville South (4-10).

"Winning the OCC was really big, especially with Liberty and Jerome," McKinley said. "It felt like all our hard work over the past couple of years paid off. We played like were capable of playing most of the year."

McKinley said the season highlight was the 2-1 win over Liberty on May 8. It pulled the two teams even the loss column in the standings and allowed Scioto to grab a share of the league title with its 8-4 win over Marysville.

McKinley and four-year starter Eric Stamets, who was Scioto's shortstop and top pitcher, are among eight seniors the team will lose. The rest of the group includes Patrick Hart, Mike Henderson, Troy Hervey, Jerod Nawrocki, Joshua Neace and Andy Shumaker.

Stamets, the OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year, led the team with a .549 batting average. He had four home runs and 27 RBI. He was first-team all-Ohio, all-district and all-OCC. McKinley also was first-team all-district and all-league. Neace was second-team all-district and first-team all-OCC and Hart was honorable mention all-OCC and the team's scholar athlete.

Leading the group of expected returnees are juniors Seth Eller (second-team all-district and all-OCC) and Nick Gastaldo (second-team all-OCC, honorable mention all-district).

Eller (1B/P), Matt Martin (INF/OF/P) and Charlie Suich (C/P/3B) will be fourth-year starters as the junior class is loaded with experience.

Also expected to return are juniors Thomas Hayes (INF/P), Robert Janice (1B/P), Zach Kivior (OF) and Brandon Marker (C/P) and sophomore Christian Stamets (Utility).

"Fortunately for us, we have a good amount of talent coming up from the freshman and j.v. teams," coach Scott Marple said.

"Potentially we could be a lot deeper next year with multiple players playing different positions."

The players moving up from the junior varsity had a strong senior class to learn from.

This year's seniors didn't have that luxury the last two seasons, Marple said. They had to play varsity when many should have been learning at a lower level.

"Three years ago, we started over from scratch," Marple said. "We had new players. We were rebounding where our numbers were low after redistricting. This year's seniors are going to have the biggest impact. They set the example for the younger guys."

At a glance

•Record: 22-3 overall, 12-2 (tied-first) in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Patrick Hart, Mike Henderson, Troy Hervey, David McKinley, Jerod Nawrocki, Joshua Neace, Andy Shumaker and Eric Stamets

•Key returnees: Seth Eller, Nick Gastaldo, Matt Martin and Charlie Suich