Just prior to the beginning of the season, Hilliard Bradley High School baseball coach Matt Gilkerson told his players that 15 wins would be a realistic goal.

Just prior to the beginning of the season, Hilliard Bradley High School baseball coach Matt Gilkerson told his players that 15 wins would be a realistic goal.

Junior infielder Luke Simeon wasn't so sure.

"I was sitting there thinking that would be really difficult considering the way we played in the scrimmages," Simeon said.

Based on the Jaguars' slow start in the preseason and an almost complete lack of varsity experience on their roster, their inaugural season is being hailed as a rousing success.

Bradley finished 17-10 overall and went 7-6 in the OCC-Capital Division to place fifth, behind Mount Vernon (13-1), Olentangy Orange (9-5), New Albany (9-5) and Watkins Memorial (9-5) and ahead of Delaware (6-7), Big Walnut (2-12) and Franklin Heights (0-14).

The Jaguars' league game against Delaware on April 30 was suspended because of darkness with Bradley leading 14-13 in the 10th inning. The contest will not be completed.

Seeded seventh in the Division II district tournament, Bradley had a first-round bye and beat Bexley 3-1 in the second round May 14 before losing to top-seeded Jonathan Alder 12-2 in six innings in a district semifinal on May 18. The Pioneers were undefeated and ranked first in the state poll last week.

"To get 17 wins, a top-eight seed in the district tournament and get to the district semifinals If you had asked me in February, I never would have thought it could happen," Gilkerson said.

The Jaguars managed just one hit off Jonathan Alder pitcher Tyler Miller. The loss highlighted the obstacle Bradley faced this spring.

"Before the game you saw the difference," said Gilkerson, who coached Jonathan Alder from 2005-09. "Alder has big kids: 6-foot-2, muscular. Then you take some our younger, skinny guys. Getting bigger and stronger is something we're going to have to work on for next year."

Bradley expects to return every member of its roster. Gilkerson did almost the same thing last season with Jonathan Alder, as the Pioneers returned all but one senior from the 2008 season. The result was three more wins and a trip to a district final.

"It's nice to know that you're building and getting better, not figuring out who goes where," he said.

Among those expected to return are Simeon (.387 batting average), juniors Evan Parris (.316) and Ken Reichle (.303), sophomores Dray Hall (33 hits, .392, 23 RBI) and Trey Welch (29 hits, .358, 21 RBI) and freshman Jackson Everman (5-3, 2.53 ERA).

Reichle also was a key pitcher, going 2-0 with two saves.

Hall and Simeon were named first-team all-OCC-Capital and special mention all-district.

Gilkerson said the keys to 2011 will be for the Jaguars to improve their strength and consistency.

"We played (games) where we didn't have an error and only walked one," he said. "Then we'd play (games) and have five errors in one inning. We need to work on getting that under control."

At a glance

•Record: 17-10 overall, 7-6 (fifth) in OCC-Capital •Seniors lost: None •Key returnees: Jackson Everman, Dray Hall, Luke Simeon and Trey Welch