Watkins Memorial High baseball coach Don Schone knows pitching depth will be vital if his team is to build on last season.

Watkins Memorial High baseball coach Don Schone knows pitching depth will be vital if his team is to build on last season.

The Warriors had depth on the mound last season when they finished 22-7 overall, placed second (11-3) in the OCC-Capital Division behind Olentangy Orange (12-2) and fell one win shy of a Division I district championship.

However, left-handed standout pitchers Tony Winters and Dan Sexton and right-hander Charlie Schmidt were among 10 players who were lost to graduation. Winters now plays at Ohio University and Sexton is playing at Tiffin.

Expected to lead the Warriors' pitching staff this season is junior right-hander Chandler Day, who was 5-2 with a 1.28 ERA in 43 2/3 innings last season. According to Prep Baseball Report, Day, who committed to Vanderbilt in November, has a fastball that ranges between 88 and 93 mph, a curveball that has been clocked at 78 mph and a changeup that has been clocked at 80 mph.

"Chandler's ability was well known through his summer ball (Ohio Elite), but he really opened some eyes locally (last season) and he has a bright future," Schone said. "We've got others to go around him like (senior) Rickie Frey, who we didn't use much last year. We've also got some young guys ready to step in and take their turn."

Sexton finished 10-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 74 2/3 innings and Winters was 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. Both were named first-team all-district and all-league.

Day was second-team all-district and all-league for the Warriors, who lost to Marysville 7-2 in a Division I district final last season.

Watkins Memorial, which is now in the LCL, opens Monday, March 31, with a league game at home against Lakewood.

Frey, who also will see time in the outfield and batted .236 last season, pitched in only two games a year ago. The only other pitcher with varsity experience is senior Preston Jenkins, who appeared in three games last year.

Expected to see time on the mound this season are juniors Kyle Gannon, Doug Connor, Eric Spencer and Jake Chenault, each of whom played junior varsity a year ago. Gannon (1.89 ERA in 37 innings) got the most work, followed by Connor (2.38 ERA in 35 innings), Spencer (1.05 ERA in 26 innings) and Chenault (2.86 ERA in 22 innings).

Among the Warriors' 10 seniors is Steven Asbury (3B/C/P), who is the top returning hitter (.365) after leading the team in RBI (23), doubles (10) and home runs (4) last year.

Other returnees are seniors Seth Casto (1B/C), Zach Lescalleet (1B/3B) Ben Shroyer (INF) and Justin Treinish (C/OF). Completing the senior class are Drew Christian (utility), Mitch Coyle (OF/P) and Nick Smith (INF).

Rounding out the roster is junior Mike Ford (OF).

"We have a number of guys who can lead," Schone said. "Steven Asbury has results from last year in the hitting area while most people know of Chandler Day on the mound. We are slowly seeing good leadership qualities out of Kyle Gannon, Justin Treinish, Rickie Frey and Mike Ford.

"This team has a strong work ethic. We will have to improve in all areas. The small things in baseball are the areas we need to focus on -- bunting and preventing the bunt. We have to avoid allowing free bases and all the little things."

Softball team beingled by new coach

The softball team, which lost just one player from last season to graduation, has eight seniors on its roster in its first season under coach Michael Jellison.

Jellison has taken over the program from Tammy Ulrich, who stepped down after four seasons.

The Warriors, who finished 4-23 overall and 2-12 in the OCC-Capital last season, return six starters in seniors Shanna Cashdollar (P), Allison Dzierwa (RF) and Kaitlyn Snider (C), junior Devon Atchison (2B) and sophomores Sarah Beach (CF) and Kim Romshe (LF).

Cashdollar and Snider are third-year varsity players.

"Snider is adapting very well to the change in coaching style and philosophy and is excited by the improvement being seen, and Shanna is continually working hard and has developed her changeup," said Jellison, who was an assistant baseball coach at Watkins Memorial the past four seasons. "Hopefully, she will continue to be able to change pitch speeds to keep batters off balance.

"Kim Romshe, Sarah Beach and Allison Dzierwa comprise an outfield that can get to any ball that is hit. Their speed gives them a chance to catch every ball in the outfield. It is really fun to watch these girls hustle after the ball."

Also on the team are seniors Brianna King (P) and Renee Theibert (INF), junior Anna Shroyer (3B) and sophomores Jayden Johnson (SS) and Brooke Schindler (1B/P). King is expected to challenge Cashdollar for time in the circle.

"Brianna is constantly working hard to perfect her pitching and even on the off days she is asking if she can go up to the field and work on her pitching and hitting," Jellison said. "Our pitchers will have to continue to be able to hit spots and make batters hit their pitch.

"We will need to find a few more girls who can put the bat on the ball and get on base. We could use a few more solid bats in our lineup, but we are going to play really good defense and we will run the bases really well."

Watkins Memorial, which is now in the LCL opens Monday, March 31, with a league game at home against Lakewood.