Members of the Grove City High School baseball team have fond memories of last year's postseason run.

Members of the Grove City High School baseball team have fond memories of last year's postseason run.

The Greyhounds hope to create similar memories this season.

Grove City reached a 2011 Division I state semifinal, where it lost to Liberty Township Lakota East 7-2 at Huntington Park.

The Thunderhawks went on to win the state title by beating Perrysburg 7-2 in the final.

Grove City finished 22-11 overall and 9-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division. Its postseason run included winning the program's first district title since 2000 and playing in the state tournament for the first time since 1983.

"For us to be happy, we definitely want to get an OCC championship and we definitely want to get a district championship," said coach Ryan Alexander, who is in his fourth season. "To win a district (title) in central Ohio, that's saying a lot, and anything after that is almost like bonus."

Grove City opens Monday, March 26, by playing host to Hilliard Davidson and begins league play April 2 at home against Reynoldsburg.

Grove City returns several key players, including senior Drew Artrip (P/INF), who was 5-1 with a 1.96 ERA. He hit .388 with 27 RBI and was first-team all-league and all-district.

Senior Mitchell Stephens (P/INF) emerged as one of the team's top pitchers last season, going 10-5 with a 4.79 ERA. Stephens hit .359 and was honorable mention all-league.

"Our whole pitching staff is back, healthy and ready to go," Alexander said.

Senior shortstop Jimmy Gravett was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district after hitting .343 last season.

Senior Tyler Kent, who was first-team all-league and second-team all-district, anchored the team's outfield in center and hit .418.

Also back is junior Drew Nankivell (C/INF), who hit .467.

Other returnees are seniors Dan Cronin (INF), Nick Davis (INF/C/OF), Brandon Gooch (P/INF/OF) and Nick Mara (P/OF), junior Kyle Bennett (P/INF) and sophomore Ben Myers (P/OF).

Also on the team are juniors Dallas Allen (P/INF), Dan Ankrum (INF), Hunter Christopherson (INF/OF), Austin DeVore (OF/P), Tyler Gaitten (OF) and Brian Stith (P/OF) and sophomores Dominic Cooper (INF), Tyler Cowles (OF) and Josh Schaffer (P/OF).

Alexander said Schaffer's pitches reach 84 mph and he should help the staff.

"We're really liking what we're seeing out of our juniors and seniors, and we have three or four sophomores who are great players coming up," Alexander said.

Last season, Grove City tied Reynoldsburg for third in the OCC-Ohio behind Pickerington North (12-2) and Gahanna (10-4) and ahead of Pickerington Central (8-6), Groveport and Newark (3-11) and Lancaster (2-12).

"I thought we were capable of putting that kind of a (postseason) run together with the team that we had," Alexander said. "I'm sure a lot of other people didn't think that. Everybody is still picking Pickerington Central this year to win it. We still have a lot to prove and it only goes to show how competitive our league is as well with Pick North, Pick Central, Reynoldsburg and Gahanna."

Comets look to build from last season's unity

Central Crossing opens Tuesday, March 27, by playing host to Madison Plains.

The Comets closed last season by winning five of their last seven games to finish 8-17 overall and 2-12 in the OCC-Central.

After defeating Marion-Franklin 8-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament, Central Crossing lost to fifth-seeded Gahanna 7-6. The Lions rallied from a 6-3 deficit.

"The growth that we had from the beginning and building a team, and the cohesiveness of the players coming together, believing in each other and believing in the system, they had a really tight bond that we're hoping carries over into this year," 10th-year coach Scott Todd said.

Against Marion-Franklin, senior Jason Dickey (OF/P) pitched a no-hitter while striking out 15 and walking one. However, Dickey's status early in the season is unclear after he was injured in a car accident March 9.

Todd said Dickey will return to the team after being cleared by doctors.

Sophomore Marc Russell (SS/P) was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district after hitting .367 last season.

Junior Will Bohne (2B), who led the team in hitting at .389, was honorable mention all-league.

Senior Zak Ogilbee (C) hit .380, sophomore Connor Coup (1B) hit .351 and senior Devin Doudna (3B/SS/P) hit .316.

Coup led the team with 18 RBI, followed by Bohne and Ogilbee with 17 apiece.

Other players are seniors Donnell Concepcion (2B), Ricky Morgan (P/OF) and Justin Witteman (3B) and juniors D.J. Popielarz (3B/P), Shawn Seigneur (1B/P) and Tony Ward (OF/P).

Last season, Central Crossing finished seventh in the OCC-Central behind Dublin Coffman (13-1), Hilliard Davidson (10-4), Worthington Kilbourne (10-4), Thomas Worthington (7-7), Hilliard Darby (7-7) and Upper Arlington (6-8) and ahead of Westland (1-13).