A strong senior class will be the nucleus leading the Hilliard Davidson High School softball team this season as the Wildcats aim to advance beyond a district final.

A strong senior class will be the nucleus leading the Hilliard Davidson High School softball team this season as the Wildcats aim to advance beyond a district final.

Davidson finished 23-7 overall last season after losing to top-seeded Grove City 1-0 in a Division I district championship.

Back from that team are four seniors in pitcher Sam Smith, catcher Zoe Allegretti, shortstop Mallory Sodders and second baseman Tessa Kilgore as well as junior third baseman Kayla Wolfe.

"We have experience in key positions and I like our youthful energy," said coach Angelo Forte, in his 14th season leading the program. "We just have to try to stay consistent. If we're not consistent, it will be hard to win in our tough schedule and difficult league."

The Wildcats finished third in the OCC-Central Division last season at 10-4 behind Upper Arlington (12-2) and Central Crossing (11-3) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (7-7), Thomas Worthington (6-8), Dublin Coffman (4-10) and both Westland and Worthington Kilbourne (3-11).

Smith was 22-7 with one save and a 0.94 ERA in 194 innings. The right-hander had 142 strikeouts and 22 walks while holding hitters to a .183 average.

The Wildcats had a team batting average of .322, led by Wolfe at .565 with 26 hits, 14 runs, two triples, 21 walks, one home run, 17 RBI, a slugging percentage of .717 and an on-base percentage of .706.

Allegretti hit .402 with 37 hits, 26 runs, two doubles, two triples and one homer, and Sodders batted .354 with 23 hits, 22 runs, two doubles, one triple, three homers and 10 RBI.

No outfielders are back from last season.

Competing for the three positions are juniors Allison Newton and Courtney Schneider, sophomore Taylor Moore and freshmen Lizzy Doby and Lauren Strausbaugh.

Junior Rachel Felicitty and freshman Charlee Clark are vying to play first base. Junior Haley Westminster will play in the outfield and serve as the utility infielder.

"One of my concerns is how well the freshmen will jell with the team and that they won't get overwhelmed on varsity," Forte said. "But we (didn't) have a scrimmage (scheduled) until (March 23) at Canal Winchester and you don't know how they will react until you get in a game-type situation."

The Wildcats open Tuesday, March 29, at Hartley and play a second non-league game March 31 at New Albany. They open league play April 4 at home against Westland.