When Tiyona Marshall thinks about the players who should comprise the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team this spring, it brings to her mind the situation she found herself in over the winter.

When Tiyona Marshall thinks about the players who should comprise the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team this spring, it brings to her mind the situation she found herself in over the winter.

Similarly to her experience with the girls basketball team, Marshall will be one of a small group of seniors leading the way for a perennial Division I district title contender.

The Lions have two key seniors returning from a team that went 25-6 and was a regional runner-up a year ago.

"I'm ready for the season," said Marshall, whose team opens at Port Charlotte (Fla.) on Monday, March 28. "So far it kind of reminds me of basketball because we're young at a lot of positions."

After leading the basketball team to a district runner-up finish, Marshall again will be in a leadership role. While batting third and playing center field last season, Marshall hit .453 with 13 RBI and 18 runs and also was 17-for-19 in stolen-base attempts. She made first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division and first-team all-district.

The other key senior returnee is Brandis Fishel, who went 9-1 while sharing pitching duties with 2010 graduate Kim Lennox. She should bat fourth in a lineup the Lions hope will be centered on speed.

The other seniors are Megan Lowe (2B/OF) and Jennifer Oberdier (3B), each of whom played on junior varsity last season.

Junior Montana Fishel should start in left field and bat leadoff after spending most of last season as a pinch runner. Junior Tanya Busby will play second base and in the outfield, and junior Sarah Seidel likely will bat fifth and play shortstop.

Junior Emily Vinsel could pitch and also should spend time at first base along with junior Katie Jarvis.

Junior Morgan Sheets is competing for time at third base along with Oberdier, while junior Abby Lanthorn should contribute in the outfield.

Competing at catcher throughout the preseason have been junior Lydia Kruse, sophomore Olivia Shumacher and freshman Becca Gavin.

"It'll be different not having any of our last three catchers back there," said Jim Campolo, who enters his 10th season as coach. "They've got some big shoes to fill, but they're capable. We've always been blessed with good catching."

Marshall signed last November to play for Miami University, which has 2010 Gahanna graduate Kayla Ledbetter on its roster.

Ledbetter, who made first-team all-state last season, batted leadoff and led a seven-member senior class.

Others lost to graduation include Alyssa Clancy (3B), Kim Lennox and Kelli Lennox (2B). The Lennox sisters are playing for Notre Dame College in South Euclid.

Gahanna finished second in the league at 12-2 last year behind Grove City (13-0) and ahead of Pickerington Central (10-4), Groveport (7-6), Pickerington North (7-7), Lancaster (4-10), Newark (2-12) and Reynoldsburg (0-14). It beat Westland 5-0, Groveport 2-1 and Upper Arlington 1-0 in the district tournament and defeated Dresden Tri-Valley 2-1 in 11 innings in a regional semifinal before losing to Grove City 1-0 in a regional final.

"If you look at the top five people in our batting order, they're all basically returning starters," Campolo said. "Our (biggest concerns are) finding that No. 2 pitcher and seeing who will step into the catcher role."