The Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team may have a new coach, but the Johnnies continue to have high expectations with 10 seniors returning.

The Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team may have a new coach, but the Johnnies continue to have high expectations with 10 seniors returning.

Johnstown finished 22-6 last season after losing to eventual state champion Lakewood 10-0 in a Division III district semifinal. Coach Don Harvey left the program last fall and has been replaced by Deana Bennett, who was known as Deana McKee when she graduated from Lakewood in 2000. She was all-state in softball in high school and later was a standout player for Capital.

"One thing about this team is that the chemistry is great," said Bennett, who is taking over a team that won the MBC at 13-1 last year. "They all are really good friends and they have high GPAs. They work hard in both the classroom and on the field and their success in both places comes from their work ethic."

The Johnnies, who will open Monday at Cardington, have three senior pitchers in Delaney Childers, Brenna Hosey and Amber Young. The right-handed Young was 13-2 last season with a 1.16 ERA, 138 strikeouts and three no-hitters. Childers, a left-hander, was 6-3 with a 2.46 ERA, 97 strikeouts and one no-hitter and the right-handed Hosey was 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA.

"I would say it would depend on what day it was as to who our No. 1 was," Bennett said. "They all work so hard and have good consistency with their pitches. And they all have a different pitch that they use for outs. I think any of the three could go to most of the teams I the area and be their No. 1. They're that good."

There are 10 seniors and two juniors -- both catchers in Courtney Dingess and Kendra Wood -- on the roster. The other seven seniors are Hannah Davis (2B), Lauren Elkins (CF/3B), Michelle Fairchild (SS), Katie Furr (LF), Candace Higgins (2B), Emily Johnson (RF/3B) and Katie Smith (3B).

Childers led the team in batting average (.494) and RBI (27) last year. Dingess hit .375 followed by Davis (.367), Hosey (.341, 25 RBI), Fairchild (.321) and Elkins (.307, 18 stolen bases).

The Johnnies will open league play April 6 against visiting Utica.

"I'm new coaching in the league, but I know Utica, Danville and Loudonville should all be good teams," Bennett said. "They have good youth programs and that's what it takes to be good at the high-school level."

•The boys lacrosse team has 22 players, and first-year coach Tom Eckels is impressed with the work ethic of those players.

"That's a strength we have, their head-down, work-hard attitude," said Eckels, whose team was 5-11 overall last season. "And they have a strong desire to win. They have been grinding at it for four years and have been beaten up, but now they really want to win."

The Johnnies return their three leading scorers on the attack. Senior Will Carter had 20 goals and 16 assists, senior Bret Bohning had 15 goals and 11 assists and senior Levi Jacob had 14 goals and eight assists.

"Attack is purely an offensive position and we like our attackers to have a bit of a swagger on the field," Eckels said. "We want them to have that competitive edge."

Also back is junior Brad Couts in goal, who had a save percentage of had one of .668. Returnees in the midfield include seniors Zach Beacom, Mitchell Hendren and Josh McClellan and sophomore Jacob Dassylva. Seniors Ben Tubbs and Ben Schmidt are back on defense.

Also on the roster are seniors David Baur (defender), Josh Hedrick (defender) and Keith Tanner (midfielder), juniors Kyle Barclay (midfielder), Riley Cannon (midfielder), Reed Franklin (midfielder) and Jake Kennedy (midfielder), sophomores Taylor Baughman (midfielder) and Frank Chambers (midfielder) and freshmen Sheay Holter (midfielder), Sam Merriman (midfielder), Steve Smith (midfielder).

"One thing we need to work on is stick skills with our non-dominant hand, which is the left hand for most people," Eckels said. "But we have athletes out there. They're in shape, so now we're getting back to basics by working on stick skills and fundamentals."

The Johnnies open Friday at home against DeSales.

"A lot of people may have never seen lacrosse before in Johnstown and this is a chance for them to do that," Eckels said of the opener. "In some respects, lacrosse is better than football because there is zero stopping. It's always moving. It's a great way to spend a Friday night with the family."

At a glance

Below are the coming schedules for the Johnstown-Monroe baseball, boys lacrosse, softball and boys and girls track and field teams:

BASEBALL

Monday -- Home vs. Grandview in opener

Wednesday -- At Granville

Friday -- At Lakewood

Saturday -- At Heath (doubleheader)

*April 6 -- Home vs. Utica

LACROSSE

Friday -- Home vs. DeSales in opener

Saturday -- At Olentangy Orange

April 7 -- Home vs. Watterson

SOFTBALL

Monday -- At Cardington in opener

Wednesday -- At Canal Winchester

Thursday -- Home vs. Northmor

Saturday -- At Hilliard Davidson vs. Davidson and Teays Valley

*April 6 -- Home vs. Utica

TRACK & FIELD

Last Saturday -- Competed in Icebreaker Invitational at Watkins Memorial

*Thursday -- Home vs. Danville

April 11 -- At Granville Invitational

*MBC contest