Deana Bennett really didn't know what to expect in her first season as coach of the Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team.

Deana Bennett really didn't know what to expect in her first season as coach of the Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team.

Bennett was taking over a program that had reached a Division III district semifinal in its previous three seasons and a veteran team that had tasted success under coach Don Harvey.

What she got was unity and a team that reached its first district final before falling to defending state champion Lakewood 2-1 on May 21 at Pickerington Central.

"This season I came in on pins and needles due to the number of seniors that are on the roster," said Bennett, whose team finished 19-8 overall. "In past experiences, several seniors on a team have created a too many chiefs and not enough Indians vibe. I can say that this was not the case. Each player on the team realized her role and played it very well.

"These girls were not individually focused at all and I'm proud to have been affiliated with them."

The Johnnies will lose 10 seniors including Delaney Childers (P/OF), Hannah Davis (INF), Lauren Elkins (OF), Michelle Fairchild (SS), Katie Furr (OF), Candace Higgins (INF/OF), Brenna Hosey (1B/P), Emily Johnson (OF/3B), Katie Smith (3B) and Amber Young (P/OF).

Childers was honorable mention all-state and first-team all-district and was the MBC Player of the Year. Davis was second-team all-district and first-team all-MBC. Fairchild was first-team all-MBC, Young second-team all-MBC and Elkins was honorable mention all-MBC.

"This group of seniors meant a great deal to the program and the success we experienced this season," Bennett said. "These girls came everyday with desire and dedication to do better. Their work ethic is something I will always remember, and next year's team is going to be expected to work just as hard.

Expected to return are juniors Courtney Dingess (C), Amanda Kienzle (OF/P) and Kendra Wood (C/1B/OF), sophomore Brooke Ison (INF) and freshmen Taylor Branstool (C/OF), Kelci Spang (1B) and Meagan Yanczura (2B).

"Next year, we have Courtney Dingess and Kendra Wood returning and also have Amanda Kienzle and Kelci Spang coming up through the program showing a great deal of promise," Bennett said. "I am expecting great things from all four of these girls."

In the district tournament, the Johnnies opened with an 11-1 win May 12 over Northmor in six innings before beating Bloom-Carroll 7-0 on May 14.

In the district semifinal May 19 at Pickerington Central, Johnstown beat second-seeded Liberty Union 3-0 to reach the final against Lakewood.

Johnstown went 9-3 in the MBC to finish second to Loudonville at 12-0. The league schedule had only 12 games because Centerburg did not field a team.

"Losing 10 players from any softball program is hard to come back from," Bennett said. "I am looking to Amanda Kienzle and (junior varsity pitcher Carly Pickard) to step it up in the circle next year, as well as rebuild most of my infield and all of the outfield. So fielding a solid and hard-working team next year will be the first priority."

•The lacrosse team finished 4-10 overall and 2-7 in Division 2, Region 3 after falling to Wellington 12-10 on May 22 in a regular-season league game.

In a Division 2, Region 3 tournament play-in game, the Johnnies lost to Olentangy Orange 9-4 on May 21. The Pioneers won the regular-season meeting 8-5 on April 4.

"It was 12-10 against Wellington and we were getting off a lot of shots and really came together in that game and in out playoff game," first-year coach Tom Eckels said. "They started to understand how to play lacrosse and have come a long way from where Johnstown (lacrosse) has been over the past few years."

Seniors for the Johnnies include defender David Baur, midfielder Zach Beacom, attacker Brett Bohning, attacker Will Carter, defender Josh Hedrick, midfielder Mitchell Hendren, attacker Levi Jacob, midfielder Josh McClellan, defender Ben Schmidt, attack Kevin Stutz, midfielder Keith Tanner and defender Ben Tubbs.

Bohning led the team with 33 goals and five assists and Carter added 22 goals and 10 assists. Stutz had 12 goals and four assists and McClellan scored three times with nine assists.

"Lacrosse at Johnstown can be something for people stay in shape for football or for those who have a couple of friends on team or for others who don't make baseball team," said Eckels, who was assisted by Brian Ehlers. "We kind of had a hodgepodge of kids who came together and found out that lacrosse was a team sport at the highest level.

"We really improved with the concept of lacrosse. The kids made an extra effort to watch games on TV and watch opposing players during games. Instead of using a fast break like in basketball, they work to see how plays come together."

Expected to return are juniors Kyle Barclay (midfield), Riley Cannon (midfield), Brad Couts (goalkeeper), Reed Franklin (midfield) and Jake Kennedy (midfield) as well as sophomores Taylor Baughman (midfield), Frank Chambers (midfield) and Jacob Dassylva (midfield).

The freshmen were Sheay Holter (midfield), Sam Merriman (midfield) and Steve Smith (midfield).

Dassylva had five goals and three assists and Couts had 213 saves and a save percentage of .640.

"The stats don't do justify how well Brad played in goal for us," Eckels said. "We were working on our defense all year and I'd argue he probably had more shots taken on him than anyone else in the league. He really has the willpower to stand there and track the ball."