Even without most of the middle of the lineup that helped it reach the Division I state tournament for the first time a year ago, the Gahanna Lincoln High School baseball team rarely has struggled to score this season.
Through eight games, the Lions were averaging 9.3 runs and had scored at least seven in every game.
The return of seniors Zach Baumann (RF) and Evan White (1B), along with the emergence of several others, has helped Gahanna make up for the loss of six players from last year's regular lineup.
"We're hitting the ball," coach Mike Shade said. "I like what we're doing right now. We're moving the baseball. Our guys are squaring up the ball and hitting the ball hard. They're being patient at the plate. I like the feel of this lineup."
Gahanna, which beat Newark 3-0 on April 17 and non-league Bellevue 19-0 and 11-6 in a doubleheader April 19, lost to Reynoldsburg 4-3 on April 21 and was 8-4 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Lancaster on April 23.
The Lions beat the Raiders 8-6 on April 16, handing Reynoldsburg senior pitcher Alex Core his first loss. Core entered the game with a 3-0 record but gave up five runs over three innings and was replaced in the fourth when Gahanna added two more runs.
Gahanna opened league play with two wins over Groveport (7-2 on April 8 and 11-1 on April 9) and also beat Newark 11-2 on April 11.
In the second win over Groveport, Baumann had two doubles and three RBI while batting leadoff.
White, who is hitting third after batting in the same position last season, had two doubles in the first win over Groveport.
"It's definitely nice because guys have just relaxed a little bit," said White, who originally committed to Kent State but signed with Kentucky, where he'll likely play first base or outfield. "We definitely have a lot of young guys, so it's definitely nice to have a couple guys with experience. It's nice to see the progress we're making."
While Baumann and White are the most experienced returnees to the lineup, junior Bradley Hull is batting second and playing shortstop after batting little a year ago.
Sophomore Doland Martin and senior Kain Lager-Lowe, who are splitting time at catcher and designated hitter, also are taking on key roles in the offense.
Junior outfielder Blake Baker had a two-run home run during the second win over Groveport.
Other key hitters have included juniors Cole Carey (3B) and Loie Greenwood (2B).
"Last year we had 11 seniors, so it was hard losing all of them," Baumann said. "But we've all been bonding. We've got a lot of potential. We've gotten to know each other's skills and weaknesses."
Junior Mason Daniels was the winning pitcher in the first win over Groveport and in the first game against Reynoldsburg.
Junior Cole Gibson and senior Boomer Lowe also likely will pitch in league games throughout the rest of the season. Baker and junior Tim Eidens are contributing in relief.
The Lions have their eye on winning their first league championship since 2005.
Gahanna plays its second game against Lancaster on Friday, April 25, and has league games Monday, April 28, at home against Grove City and Wednesday, April 30, at Grove City.
The Greyhounds were 5-1 in the league before playing Pickerington Central on April 23.
"We definitely want to see another long tournament run, and we haven't won an OCC title in 10 years," White said.