The Hilliard Bradley High School softball team has a lot to live up to after losing its first graduating class last spring.

The Hilliard Bradley High School softball team has a lot to live up to after losing its first graduating class last spring.

The Jaguars won the OCC-Capital Division in their inaugural season in 2010 before finishing second last year, and they were a Division II district runner-up last year after losing in a district semifinal in their first season.

"Our first senior class left a good legacy of hard work and started us in the right direction," said coach Kevin Moody, who is in his third season at Bradley and 27th overall in Hilliard City Schools. "They may have taken their pitching, hitting and defense with them, but they left their imprint here. The intangibles, the map - they left those here for us to build on."

Among the players lost to graduation was Kellie Roudabush, who was first-team all-state for the second consecutive season last year after being second-team all-state as a sophomore at Darby. She was 13-3 with a 1.95 ERA last season and batted .578 with 38 runs and 30 RBI. She also had 11 doubles and six home runs and was named OCC-Capital Player of the Year for the second season in a row.

The other graduates were outfielders Jordan Camp (.435, 25 runs, 25 RBI, second-team all-league) and Colleen O'Shea (16 runs, honorable mention all-league), first baseman Danielle Dunnagan and Tayler Young, who shared time in the circle with Roudabush.

Bradley finished 19-4 overall last season, losing to DeSales 2-0 in a district final.

This season, the Jaguars will have two first-year varsity pitchers in sophomore Lindsey Love and freshman Meredith Miller.

"Lindsey is a junk-baller with good placement on her drop and change-up," Moody said. "Meredith is more of a power pitcher who is working hard on her placement. I don't know how we'll use them just yet, but I do know that we have to rely on our defense and provide some strong offense to allow them to grow into varsity pitchers without all that added pressure. That's our challenge right now."

Bradley opened March 27 against Marysville and begins OCC-Capital play Monday, April 2, at home against New Albany. Last season, the Jaguars went 11-3 in the league to finish behind Delaware (14-0) and ahead of Olentangy Orange (8-6), Big Walnut (7-7), Mount Vernon (7-7), New Albany (5-9), Watkins Memorial (3-11) and Franklin Heights (1-13).

Bradley returns five starters in seniors Erin Banaag (2B) and Mikaela Smith (1B), juniors Christina Hammons (CF) and Caron Watkinson (3B) and sophomore Abi Groseclose (C). Last season, Smith started at catcher, with Groseclose at shortstop and Hammons in left field.

Groseclose hit .538 with 25 runs, 28 RBI, nine doubles and four home runs and was first-team all-league. Smith was special mention all-league, and Watkinson batted .380 with 18 runs and 23 RBI.

Freshman Alex Day will start at shortstop, while vying for corner outfield positions are senior Rachel Miller, juniors Jenna Bosch and Paige Wiley and sophomore Anna Locke.

"Right now, we're thinking of using Banaag and Hammons near the top of the lineup, with Watkinson, Groseclose, Smith and Day somewhere in the middle," Moody said. "Day has been doing very well on defense and at the plate and isn't afraid to play on the varsity level for a freshman. Our seniors and Hammons, who is a third-year starter, should provide strong leadership."

The Jaguars have six left-handed hitters in Banaag, Bosch, Day, Hammons, Watkinson and Wiley.

Wolfe, pitchers among key players for Davidson

Davidson, which also will be working with two pitchers new to varsity, returns fourth-year standout and third baseman Kayla Wolfe as it tries to improve on last season when it finished 12-13 overall.

The Wildcats lost to Newark 12-4 in the first round of the Division I district tournament and finished fourth in the OCC-Central at 7-7, behind Central Crossing (13-0), Thomas Worthington (10-3) and Worthington Kilbourne (10-4) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (5-8), Dublin Coffman (4-10), Upper Arlington (3-11) and Westland (2-11).

Wolfe was named honorable mention all-state and first-team all-district and all-league last year.

"Kayla is a special player, probably one of the best overall softball players I have coached in a long time," said 15th-year coach Angelo Forte, whose team opens Thursday, March 29, with a league game at home against Thomas.

Junior pitchers Taylor Moore and Hannah DePriest will split time in the circle. Moore threw a one-hitter late last season against New Albany.

"Our pitching staff has worked hard this offseason," Forte said. "Taylor and Hannah may be new to varsity pitching, but I am very excited about their upside."

Senior Anna Courter is expected to start at shortstop, with sophomore Charlee Clark at first base.

Competition is still taking place for second base, catcher and right field.

Sophomore Lauren Strausbaugh will be in center field and senior Alison Newton will start in left field.

Vying for playing time are seniors Courtney Schneider and Haley Westminster, junior Michaela Cunningham and sophomores Alex Ashley, Lizzy Doby, Ally Doty and Emily Shank.

"Thus far, I am very excited about the personality of this team," Forte said. "This team has worked hard and enjoys each other. We will need to score runs and play solid defense and improve each day. That's our main goal, to get better each day and to have an .800 on-base percentage. We need to improve in practice and execute in games."

Darby coach excited about young team

Darby returns two pitchers in senior Tara Woods and junior Savannah Pizzurro and five letterwinners from last season, when it finished 9-15 overall after losing to Westerville South 7-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

"Those two have worked real hard and both are stronger and sharper with their pitching skills," third-year coach Erin McClincy said of Woods and Pizzurro. "Tara is working on perfecting her junk pitches and Savannah has picked up speed and added pitches."

The Panthers won only three of their first 12 games last season, then went 5-2 in the middle of the season before winning just one of their final five games. They finished fifth in the OCC-Central.

Senior Angela Suttles returns at shortstop and classmate Heather Scott is back at first base. Also returning is junior outfielder Brittney Clarridge.

"Suttles is so consistent and an anchor of our infield," said McClincy, whose team opens Monday, April 2, with a league game at Kilbourne. "I'm confident in her ability to make the play every time the ball is hit her way."

Seven other players eligible to return did not, including three who are either injured or not playing for disciplinary reasons.

"I feel sad for those girls, but the team is beginning to jell even without them now," McClincy said. "It's turning out for the best. We've got a real young team, but the girls are enthusiastic and that's rejuvenating for me as a coach as well."

Vying for playing time are juniors Emily Ferry (utility player), Karleigh Johnson (3B/1B) and Stephanie McCullough (3B), sophomores Erika Boyd (2B/C) and Abby Schuster (C) and freshmen Lauren Buelow (OF/P) and Brittney Graessle (OF).

"Scott and Johnson have some power and we've got some young left-handed batters in Buelow and Graessle," McClincy said. "Plus, we have speed, which is new for us. So with two returning pitchers (and) some awesome leadership, I am excited about the season and the future. Our focus will be defense and our goal is to get better every day. The young girls are still learning the pace of the varsity game."