Grove City High School softball coach Ted Williams admits he sometimes glances at the outfield fence at Hutcheson Field, where the years the program has won league and postseason titles are listed.
The Greyhounds, who have won 18 OCC titles and six regional championships in addition to the Division I state title in 1983, will look to add another year to the fence this season.
"It's nice to see from what coach Hutch (Ron Hutcheson) has done here and what these girls have done since I've been here," said Williams, who is in his 14th season. "It's kind of nice to see the number of league championships that's been won by softball."
Hutcheson, who was elected to the OCC Hall of Fame last year, was 417-129 in 23 seasons at Grove City. He now is the school's athletics supervisor.
Grove City opens Saturday, March 29, at Mason and begins OCC-Ohio Division play Monday, March 31, at Newark.
Last season, the Greyhounds finished 27-5, losing to eventual state champion North Canton Hoover 4-1 in a Division I regional final. Grove City was ranked fourth in the final state poll.
The Greyhounds return 12 players with varsity experience, including their top three pitchers.
Senior Emma Cornell was 17-5 last season. She was named OCC-Ohio Player of the Year as well as first-team all-state and all-district.
Senior pitcher/designated player Jordan Kennaw was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
"I'm blessed to be a part of such a big program, something so much bigger than just one person," Kennaw said. "I'm just so excited for this season. I have a (good) feeling about this season."
Senior Bree Kilgus is the other pitcher. She also is an outfielder.
Junior catcher Kennedy Beach was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and junior first baseman Kara Warren and junior shortstop Destini Ewing were special mention all-league.
Also back are seniors Rachael Ash (3B), Lynsey Long (OF) and Delaney Mixer (2B), juniors Ricki Asher (2B) and Katlyn Gleich (CF) and sophomore Mara Kilmurry (OF).
Last season, the Greyhounds went 13-1 in the OCC-Ohio to win their second consecutive league title, finishing ahead of runner-up Gahanna (11-3).
Grove City lost three players to graduation, including center fielder and leadoff batter Ashton Salyers, who was first-team all-league and all-district and honorable mention all-state. Salyers is playing at Wright State.
Natalie Mabry is playing at Capital and Haylea Garner is playing at Muskingum. Garner was honorable mention all-league last season.
"We lost three kids and two starters (Garner and Salyers)," Williams said. "We have some kids that can fill the spots. We've been lucky enough over the years to have a number of kids that come up and fill in what's needed wherever."
Comets look to improve on 2013
Central Crossing coach Rona Dorsey expects her team to improve on last season's 12-14 record.
After defeating Pickerington North 10-6 in the first round of the Division I district tournament, the Comets lost to Olentangy Liberty 2-1 in the second round.
"I'm excited for the season," said Dorsey, who is in her fifth season. "There's great energy with the girls and they're all excited. I have that strong class of seniors coming back and they have a good attitude. They're ready to set the tone and lead some of the younger kids and let them know what a winning tradition is."
Central Crossing opens Saturday, March 29, against host Liberty Union and Ready. The Comets' OCC-Central opener is April 7 at Liberty.
Senior shortstop/third baseman Michaela Dorsey hit .373 last season. Despite missing eight games with a sprained left ankle, she was named first-team all-district and second-team all-league.
"We're a lot better than what our record showed last year," said Dorsey, the coach's daughter, who has verbally committed to Ohio University. "We just got in a little slump and this year we're going to figure out how to get out of it, and we're going to start fresh and do really well."
Dorsey's sister, Savannah, is a sophomore pitcher at Ohio.
Senior Abby Rhodes (2B) was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district after hitting .307 a year ago.
Senior Jackie Fowler (3B/SS) was special mention all-league.
The Comets return their top two pitchers in sophomores Cassady Coukart and Ally Gruen. Both also play first base.
Coukart was honorable mention all-league after hitting .349 with 21 RBI last year. She also was 8-10 with a 2.96 ERA, 79 strikeouts and 20 walks in 108 2/3 innings.
Gruen led the team in batting average (.388) and RBI (23) last season. She also was 4-4 with a 4.37 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 18 walks in 65 2/3 innings.
Also back are seniors Alison Amos (CF), Jane Pyles (OF), Courtney Ringhiser (C/1B) and Hunter Taylor (C) and sophomore Sydney Humphrey (P).
Other players are juniors Brandee Denney (OF), LeAnn Edgar (1B), Kaylee French (OF) and Brooklyn McCue (OF/1B) and sophomore Karolyne Jordan (OF).
Last season, the Comets went 7-7 in the OCC-Central to finish fifth behind co-champions Liberty (11-3) and Marysville (11-3).