Seeking senior leadership was a season-long problem confronting Johnstown-Monroe High School softball coach Don Harvey.

Seeking senior leadership was a season-long problem confronting Johnstown-Monroe High School softball coach Don Harvey.

Not that his request fell on deaf ears, but it was a simple fact that the Johnnies played without the benefit of any fourth-year athletes. That problem should prove to be a strength for next year's team, considering Johnstown expects to return its entire lineup, including all nine starters.

Despite the void, the Johnnies enjoyed one of their finest seasons, filled with many highs and a few lows. They finished 22-6 after losing to top-seeded Lakewood 10-0 last Tuesday in a Division III district semifinal and won the MBC championship at 13-1.

"I still think it was successful," junior Chelsea Cannon said. "I can say everyone left it out on the field. We have no seniors so we know we can improve next year. Our junior class has a lot of good leaders. Some are vocal and some lead by example. We've been playing together since our freshmen year."

High points included the 22 victories and MBC title along with a 14-game winning streak. Low points were a pair of losses to Lakewood, including the finale.

"I asked the girls as we were standing in the outfield after the loss to remember how they felt at that moment and know in their heart that was a feeling they did not want on the softball field in the future," Harvey said. "If we are to become a premier softball program we have to work harder and not be satisfied to be 22-6 unless that 22nd win came in the state tournament final game. We have a lot of work ahead of us."

Juniors Delaney Childers, Brenna Hosey and Amber Young expect to compete for innings at pitcher next year. The right-handed Young proved to be the ace of the staff, going 13-2 with a 1.16 ERA, 138 strikeouts and three no-hitters. Childers, a left-hander, was 6-3 with a 2.46 ERA and 97 strikeouts. Childers also threw one no-hitter.

Hosey posted a 3-1 record with a 2.55 ERA.

Childers led the team in batting at .494 with a team-high 27 RBI. Other top hitters included Courtney Dingess (.375), Hannah Davis (.367), Hosey (.341, 25 RBI), Michelle Fairchild (.321), Laura Elkins (.307, 18 stolen bases) and Cannon (.306).

Other letterwinners expected back are juniors Kylie Davis, Katie Furr, Candace Higgins, Emily Johnson and Alyssa Lamer and sophomore Kendra Wood.

•Northridge had modest goals and achieved them, showing improvement throughout the season as it finished 16-11 overall after losing to Mount Gilead 10-0 on May 13 in the first round of the Division III district tournament. It also went 6-8 in the MBC.

"I felt our team got better quite a bit from day one until the season ended," coach Dave Gunn said. "The one thing they learned was how to win. They went from winning four games last year to 16 this year. Also, everyone improved their individual skill sets."

The team also doubled its MBC win total. The Vikings will lose seniors Jordyn Reynolds, Kayln Schoolcraft and Emily Wilson. Reynolds was a four-year starter at catcher and was among the team's leading hitters.

The top expected returnees are juniors Britini Goodman (3B) and Kayleigh Williams (C), both three-year letterwinners. Goodman was the team's top batter.

Also expected back are juniors Annie Kibel (SS), Lindsey Rennard and Lindsay Rose (2B) and sophomore Sarah Verhovic (OF).

Pitchers expected back include sophomore Sarah Heiman and junior Fallon Warner. Heiman threw a two-hitter in a 4-3 win over Fredericktown on April 8 and Warner threw a one-hitter in a 9-0 win over Briggs on April 3 and a three-hitter in a 13-0 win over Worthington Christian on April 17.

"Our entire program seems to be on an upswing," Gunn said. The seventh grade only lost a couple, the eighth grade only lost two and won the Licking Valley eighth-grade tournament and the junior varsity won 10 of 16. We graduate three seniors, two of whom were starters. We feel that we can be equally successful, if not even more so. We are going to try to beef the schedule up a bit so that we are more competitive against the better teams in central Ohio."