Kayla Ledbetter heard what she found to be some interesting comments from people in the days heading into the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team's Division I district final May 21 at Pickerington Central against Worthington Kilbourne.

Kayla Ledbetter heard what she found to be some interesting comments from people in the days heading into the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team's Division I district final May 21 at Pickerington Central against Worthington Kilbourne.

They became even more curious to her in the moments after her team began celebrating a 4-2 victory to win its second district title since coach Jim Campolo took over seven seasons ago.

"I know we're a young team," Ledbetter said.

"People weren't coming up to us saying, 'Congratulations, we knew you'd do it.' It's actually been more like, 'Congratulations that you got here.' We're proving that we deserved to be here. (Winning a district title is) a very big triumph for us."

One of the biggest hindrances to the Lions capturing a district title as they entered the tournament as the No. 13 seed was erased when Ledbetter started at catcher for the first time in more than a month in a 4-0 victory over fourth-seeded Thomas Worthington in a district semifinal May 19 at Central. She had been out with a right meniscus injury.

Ledbetter was the designated-player for the three previous games including tournament wins over Brookhaven (15-0 on May 12) and sixth-seeded Upper Arlington (2-1 on May 14).

She had a two-run single to spark a four-run sixth inning against Kilbourne.

Also in the district final, Ledbetter picked off a runner at first in the bottom of the sixth and did the same to a runner at third in the seventh to deflate potential rallies.

"I think the biggest play of the game was when Kayla picked off that girl at third in the seventh inning," Campolo said.

"To tell you the truth, I think maybe it's the first time all year that she's been healthy. Early on, she wasn't throwing as well as she is now."

Gahanna, which improved to 18-11 as Kilbourne finished 14-13, met Lebanon in a regional semifinal last Wednesday at Ohio State.

Second-seeded Marysville was an upset victim by Kilbourne (7-2 on May 19 in a district semifinal), but the district's other highest-seeded teams -- No. 1 Grove City and third-seeded Hilliard Darby -- will meet in the other regional semifinal at5 p.m. today.

The Greyhounds beat No. 5 Teays Valley 2-1 in a district final May 21 to win their district title and improve to 23-6. Darby edged No. 8 Westerville South 4-3 in a district final May 21 to improve to23-5.

Gahanna lost to Grove City 12-0 on April 1 in its opener and to Darby 2-1 in 11 innings April 14 and 10-0 on April 30.

The Greyhounds, who won the OCC-Buckeye Division championship at 10-0, were district runners-up in 2006 and regional runners-up a year ago.

In Grove City's win over Teays Valley, Courtney Coleman hit a solo home run in the sixth in support of sophomore Paige Myers, who allowed just three hits.

Darby won OCC titles every season from 1998-2004 but slipped to 13-12 in 2005,10-13 in 2004 and 13-11 last season.

This season, the Panthers went 9-1 in the OCC-Ohio to capture their eighth league title and reemerge as one of the area's top teams. In their district final win, they took advantage of three errors and two additional sloppy plays to rally from a 3-0 deficit heading into the bottom of the seventh to overcome a 16-strikeout performance from Westerville South's Ashley Byers.

"It feels good (to win a district title)," Gahanna shortstop Tiyona Marshall said. "We were just focused on it after we didn't win the OCC. This is great."

In Gahanna's district final, the Lions fell behind 2-0 in the third inning when the Wolves scored twice off pitcher Kim Lennox.

In the Gahanna half of the sixth against Kilbourne starter Tara Montenaro, Marshall led off with a single to left and Jendy Weppler followed with a single up themiddle. Jami Thomas then hit one toMontenaro, but she bobbled it to load the bases. Ledbetter's two-run single to left followed.

Later in the inning after Jill Brandenburg relieved Montenaro, Marissa Lennox reached on an error and Paula Lindsay and Lennox scored on wild pitches.

Kilbourne's Taylor Lincicome reached on an error in the bottom of the sixth but got picked off by Ledbetter.

In the Kilbourne half of the seventh, Kelsey Koke led off with a single and Sarah Norman pinch-ran.

Bryn Wilson reached on an error to move Norman to third, but Led- better picked off Norman. Rossi singled and Luttrell moved her to second with a sacrifice bunt, but Jordan Strohl struck out to end the game.

"(The district semifinal) was really the first time we've had our starting lineup on the field all season," said Campolo, whose team didn't have Weppler for the first three weeks in addition to the time it didn't have Ledbetter.

"Maybe we're coming together and playing the way we're capable of."