The Newark High School baseball team won a Division I district championship in coach Kyle Walters' first season before finishing 6-15 overall a year ago in his second.

The Newark High School baseball team won a Division I district championship in coach Kyle Walters' first season before finishing 6-15 overall a year ago in his second.

Which way the Wildcats will go this spring remains to be seen, but Walters believes the prevailing attitude he saw throughout the preseason definitely is a step in the right direction.

"We have a bunch of coachable kids," he said.

"They're willing to listen and they're willing to put in the extra time. They show up early and some stay late. I really like this group."

The Wildcats, who open Tuesday at Watkins Memorial, are led by five seniors.

They include Garrett Williams, who is expected to anchor the pitching staff after classmate Michael Boichan opted not to return, and Zeb Winkelman, who returns to play second base. Williams, a likely hockey player in college, earned honorable mention all-OCC-Ohio Division. Eventual state runner-up Pickerington North went 13-1 to win the title. Third baseman Fred Sheets will have a bigger role, and the other seniors are outfielders Connor Mitchell and Mason Romine.

Junior Taylor Amacher is expected to be the No. 2 starting pitcher, and 6-foot-4 classmate Tyler King looks to be a promising first baseman.

Ditto for sophomores Daniel Logan at shortstop and Scott Dawson at catcher.

Others to look for include juniors Brad Woolard, Bret Woolard, James Hall, Adam Hynes and John Valdez.

"Our league's going to be a real bear again," said Walters, who is 22-29 entering his third season.

"Gahanna went to the regional (semi)final last year before losing to North 3-1, and I think Lancaster's got its top pitcher back. And (Pickerington) Central might even be the favorite ahead of North. I know since I got this job we haven't been able to take a day off."