The Grove City Christian School baseball team has won the MOCAL championship the past two seasons. Coach Steve Bowshier's team opens the season today at Central Crossing.

The Grove City Christian School baseball team has won the MOCAL championship the past two seasons. Coach Steve Bowshier's team opens the season today at Central Crossing.

The Eagles return a solid nucleus from a squad that finished 15-6 overall and 6-2 in the MOCAL. They lost to third-seeded Fisher Catholic 10-4 in the second round of the Division IV district tournament.

Grove City Christian features three seniors who played major roles in the previous three successful seasons.

Back are Zach Snider and twin brothers Brice and Christopher Bowman.

Snider, a pitcher and infielder, led the team in batting average (.516), home runs (5) and RBI (34) last season. On the mound, he had a 2.92 ERA and was named first-team all-MOCAL and all-district.

Outfielder Brice Bowman batted .396 and was first-team all-MOCAL and honorable mention all-district. A pitcher and second baseman, Christopher Bowman was second-team all-MOCAL.

Other seniors are Dakota Buhrts (C, honorable mention all-MOCAL), Tyler Williams (SS/P/OF) and Jacob Maynard (OF).

Junior Luke Smurthwaite (P/1B), a transfer from Grove City, is expected to contribute. Other juniors are Jacob Gloyd (OF/P, honorable mention all-MOCAL), Sam Hatfield (1B/OF), Jordan Keaton (OF) and Aaron Werts (OF).

Sophomore infielder Josh Zeller, who was second-team all-MOCAL last season, returns. Sophomores Casey Fisher (1B), Justin Dreier (1B) and Connor Lucas (2B/C), and freshman Ronnie Gallion (C) round out the roster.

"We're an all-around good team," Bowshier said. "We have solid pitching depth this year."

Bowshier expects a tight battle in the MOCAL.

"We can't assume that we're going to win it for a third time," he said. "We can't overlook our league opponents like we have a tendency to do."

•The softball team didn't lose any seniors from a team that finished 15-9 overall and 7-3 in the MOCAL. It tied Tree of Life for second behind first-place Fairfield Christian (8-2).

Grove City Christian won the previous two MOCAL championships.

The Eagles open the season Saturday at Northland.

Last season, Grove City Christian lost to Danville 10-0 in the second round of the district tournament.

Leading the charge should be senior Aricka Clark (SS/CF), senior Kelsey Howard (1B/P) and junior Brooke Warner (C), who were all first-team all-MOCAL and second-team all-district last season.

Clark batted .481 with 36 RBI, eight triples and two home runs. Howard hit .471 with 31 RBI and 10 doubles. Warner hit .463 with 30 RBI, five triples and 29 stolen bases in 31 attempts.

Other starters who return from last season include senior Kara Bowling (3B/P) and juniors Megan Keating (2B/C), Caitlin Kennedy (P) and Ali Tiller (OF/1B). Kennedy is again expected to be the ace of the pitching staff.

Senior Carlota Ciudad (OF), a foreign exchange student from Spain, junior Chelsea Peters (OF) and sophomores Emily Harper (OF), Lindsey Norbut (OF), Sara Stiffler and Sarah Varney complete the roster.

Coach Lisa Horsley noted that Stiffler and Varney will see action at the varsity and junior varsity levels.

"We have to play all nine positions and all nine spots in the batting order," Horsley said. "We can't have a weakness in any area and I don't think we do. We have a strong field and I think we have a strong batting lineup. I'm excited to get out there."

•The track and field program begins its third season with a roster dominated with underclassmen.

Under second-year coach Doug Boggs, the Eagles have just one senior, Justin Davis, who is in his first year with the team.

Junior distance runner Derek Vacha should lead the way this season after qualifying for the Division III regional in the 1,600 meters last season (11th, 4:43.03).

"Derek should return to the regional," Boggs said. "We're looking to get him in the state meet this year."

Also back is sophomore David Pashovich, a district finalist in the 400 last season (fifth, 55.38).

Boggs also expects contributions from junior sprinter Jaymie Barns, a district finalist in the 200 last season (sixth, 24.50) and sophomore sprinter Nate Holt.

Junior Christian Smurthwaite, a transfer from Grove City, will see action in the throws and long jump.

The remaining boys are relatively new to the program but should provide solid depth.

Last season, the boys placed ninth at district (35 points) and 31st at regional (5).

On the girls side, the lone returning athletes are junior thrower Ashley Sterling and sophomore sprinter Brittany Barton.

The girls did not score at district last season.

The Eagles will compete Saturday in the Raider Relays at London.

"I have to figure out where these new kids are going to fit and what's their best event," Boggs said. "The challenge is figuring out what they want to do, what they're excited about."

At a glance

Baseball

•Coach: Steve Bowshier, fifth season

•Opener: Today at Central Crossing

•Key players: Brice Bowman, Christopher Bowman and Zach Snider

schedule

April 1 at Central Crossing

April 3 vs. Ridgedale (DH)

*April 6 vs. Tree of Life

April 9 at Worthington Christian

April 10 Grove City Christian Classic

*April 12 at Fairfield Christian

*April 15 at Madison Christian

April 17 at Xenia Christian (DH)

April 20 at Grandview Heights

April 22 at Gahanna Christian

April 24 at Northside Classic

*April 26 at Tree of Life

*April 29 vs. Fairfield Christian

May 1 at Marion Franklin (DH)

*May 3 vs. Madison Christian

May 4 vs. Walnut Ridge

*May 6 vs. Gahanna Christian

May 8 vs. Westfall (DH)

Softball

•Coach: Lisa Horsley, sixth season

•Opener: Saturday at Northland

•Key players: Aricka Clark, Kelsey Howard and Brooke Warner

schedule

April 3 at Northland

*April 6 vs. Tree of Life

April 9 vs. Wellington

April 10 at Worthington Christian (DH)

*April 12 at Fairfield Christian

April 13 vs. Fisher Catholic

*April 15 at Madison Christian

*April 16 vs. Fairfield Christian

April 17 at Millersport with Bexley

*April 19 vs. Delaware Christian

April 20 at London

*April 22 at Gahanna Christian

April 24 vs. Ridgedale (DH)

*April 26 at Tree of Life

April 27 at Fisher Catholic

May 1 at Grandview Heights (DH)

*May 3 vs. Madison Christian

*May 4 vs. Gahanna Christian

*May 7 at Delaware Christian

May 8 at Granville (DH)

*MOCAL game

Track & field

•Coach: Doug Boggs, second season

•Next meet: Saturday in Raider Relays at London

•Key athletes: Boys -- Nate Holt, David Pashovich and Derek Vacha; Girls -- Brittany Barton and Ashley Sterling

schedule

March 27 Hornet Relays at Licking Heights

April 3 Red Raider Relays at London

April 9 Westfall Invitational

April 13 MOCAL meet at Grove City

April 16 Ashville Kiwanis Invitational at Teays Valley

April 23 Cavalier Club Invitational at Chillicothe

April 27 MOCAL meet at Grove City

May 1 Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington

May 4 MOCAL Championships at Grove City

May 8 Teays Valley Invitational