During its run to three Division I district championships in four seasons, the Gahanna Lincoln High School baseball team leaned on its infield as it rebuilt other areas of its roster.

During its run to three Division I district championships in four seasons, the Gahanna Lincoln High School baseball team leaned on its infield as it rebuilt other areas of its roster.

Replacing a seven-member senior class that provided so much in terms of talent and leadership is the task for a group of players short on experience.

Seniors Chris Secore (3B) and Cole Griesinger (CF) and junior Alec Tuohy (P/SS) give the Lions a strong but small foundation with which to start.

Gahanna finished 24-7 overall a year ago.

"Offensively, we've got a lot of new guys in the lineup," 21st-year coach Mike Shade said. "Your hope is to see if guys will step up and make an impact. This is an open cast call for a lot of positions, and I like what I see. We've been fortunate the last couple years to not have a lot of turnover, but when you have an infield that starts three guys who stayed together for four years, you want to see who's going to step up and do it."

Griesinger and Secore are the most experienced hitters entering the opener Monday, April 2, at Newark. Griesinger, who has signed with Ball State University, likely will bat leadoff with Secore hitting third.

Junior Dakota Cararo returns at catcher and sophomore Evan White is expected to play first base, with senior Andrew Ghegan, junior Shawn Martin and freshman Bradley Hull all competing for playing time at second base.

Sophomore Nick Waller and junior Christian Chiero are expected to see playing time at shortstop and third base, respectively.

Expected to join Griesinger in the outfield are juniors Trent Champlin (RF) and Peyton Ross (LF). Senior Casey Weinland and juniors Nick Cronk, Alex Delp and Luke Liston also are looking to contribute in the outfield.

Tuohy pitched a complete game in a 5-1 victory over second-seeded Dublin Coffman in a district final last season after spending most of the season as the No. 3 starter.

Others who could pitch include Secore, Champlin, Chiero, Ross, senior Austin Dubois and freshman Cole Gibson.

"It's been going great, which is really surprising," Griesinger said. "People are starting to step up and everyone is feeling comfortable and performing. We're going to rely on our seniors, so I think me and Chris are going to try to take some of the younger guys under our wing. I think we'll be a really good hitting team and arm-wise we're doing well, too."

Gahanna, which was a regional runner-up in 2008 and a regional semifinalist in 2009, was seeded fifth in the district last year. The Lions opened the postseason with wins over Central Crossing (7-6) and Watkins Memorial (3-1) to reach a district final.

Despite having Vinny Galiardi, a 2011 graduate who was named first-team all-district last year, on the mound with a three-run lead in the fourth inning of a regional semifinal against Westerville Central, Gahanna lost 7-4.

The Lions went 10-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division last season to place second, behind Pickerington North (12-2) and ahead of Grove City (9-5), Reynoldsburg (9-5), Pickerington Central (8-6), Groveport (3-11), Newark (3-11) and Lancaster (2-12).

Galiardi, who now plays for Wright State, was among a senior class that also included fellow first-team all-district players Joey Tomko (SS) and Jarrod Moss (2B) as well as honorable mention all-district selection Shane DeFranco (3B). Tomko is playing for Elon University in North Carolina and DeFranco and 2011 graduate Taylor Neville are playing for Notre Dame College in South Euclid.

Nick Van Keuren, who was the No. 2 starter for most of last season, and Jake Moss are seniors who did not return.

"We graduated quite a few guys, so we had some question marks," Shade said. "It was just a tremendous senior class last year and we've got a lot of newbies. You can see the guys who are putting the time in."