While other sports at Central Crossing and Grove City high schools have struggled to maintain a competitive nature after a turbulent offseason, the softball teams at both schools have thrived.

While other sports at Central Crossing and Grove City high schools have struggled to maintain a competitive nature after a turbulent offseason, the softball teams at both schools have thrived.

After a district-wide levy failed in May and August to cancel the sports season, many teams at Central Crossing and Grove City watched their key players leave the district.

Nearly all the softball players at Central Crossing and Grove City stuck around, taking a leap of faith that the levy would pass in November, which it did.

"The way I saw it, there was no other team that had the chemistry that we did," Grove City catcher Kelli Zuefle said. "There were no other teams worth playing for because everyone loves each other on this team. That kept me confident that the community would help us out and it turned out good."

Grove City returned all-Ohio pitcher Paige Myers as well as veteran fielders Taryn Allmon, Maci Haughn, Katie Yoho and Kelly Zuefle. They were all starters on the Division I state semifinalist team in 2008.

Central Crossing also had a nice nucleus returning. The year Grove City made it to the state tournament, the Comets started a building process with Lindsey Carmean, Dakota Pyles, Allissa Turkovich and Kendra Willis. Those four started as freshmen and are now part of a core group that last year added ace pitcher Savannah Dorsey and this year added all-Ohio catcher Kim Morgason, who played for Thomas Worthington the last two seasons.

The Comets had something special going, and when the levy failed a week before their season ended, there was a resounding sentiment to try to keep the team together.

"We had a strong core of girls together," Turkovich said. "We kind of got the missing pieces this year with new people coming in. It was important to stay together just to keep in the same place and see what would happen."

What happened for the Comets was a 12-2 start, including a 5-2 record in the OCC-Central Division. A team that a few years ago was simply surviving league play now has higher aspirations.

"I want to win state," Turkovich said. "It's crazy that we could be here (in a position to win a state title), but we have all of the strong components to get us there and this is our shot to show that Central Crossing actually has a good softball team."

The Comets haven't received the statewide recognition that the more established Grove City has. When the state poll was released on April 22, the Greyhounds were ranked No. 1. They also were the top-ranked team in the coaches poll on April 19.

Central Crossing was ranked third.

Grove City started the season 15-2 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division. Both of those losses were to out-of-state teams, including a 2-0 loss to Riverdale (Tenn.) on April 2. Riverdale was Tennessee's Class AAA state champion last year.

"I think that both schools are coming into their own a little bit," Grove City coach Ted Williams said. "Most of the kids are Grove City kids and there's a tradition that's kind of passed down. These kids know what they need to do."

Central Crossing's players have grown up in a community that has an established softball base, but at the high school level, the Comets have taken steps to establish tradition. On April 10, they held their first "opening ceremony" and more plans are being made for the senior night game against Franklin Heights on May 1.

"(The opening ceremony has) helped," Turkovich said. "I really liked it. Hopefully it sticks around."

Like the players did.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central Crossing and Grove City softball teams:

CENTRAL CROSSING

*April 19 - Defeated Westland 6-1

April 20 - Def. Hilliard Darby 2-1

*April 21 - Def. Dublin Coffman 9-2

Last Friday - Def. Centerville 9-2 at Stellar Classic

Last Saturday - Lost to Tipp City Tippecanoe and lost to Poland Seminary 1-0 at Stellar Classic

*Last Monday - Game against Hilliard Davidson postponed

*Last Wednesday - Played Upper Arlington

*Friday - At Worthington Kilbourne

Saturday - Home vs. Franklin Heights (DH)

*Monday - At Thomas Worthington. The Comets won 4-0 on April 13.

*Wednesday - At Westland

Of note: The Comets were 15-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Central before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Central game

GROVE CITY

*April 19 - Def. Pickerington North 4-3

*April 20 - Def. Reynoldsburg 9-0

*Last Friday - Def. Groveport 2-0

*Last Monday - Game against Lancaster postponed

*Last Wednesday - Played Newark

*Friday - Home vs. Gahanna. The Greyhounds won 5-0 on April 14

*Monday - At Pickerington Central

*Wednesday - Home vs. Pickerington North

Of note: The Greyhound were 16-2 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Ohio before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Ohio game