John Carder didn't have much luck in his first 13 games as coach of the Marysville High School baseball team last season.

John Carder didn't have much luck in his first 13 games as coach of the Marysville High School baseball team last season.

The Monarchs won just one of those first 13 and finished 6-17 overall after losing to 12th-seeded Pickerington Central 4-3 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. In the OCC-Central, Marysville finished fifth at 2-8 behind Pickerington North (9-1), Delaware (7-3), Thomas Worthington (6-4) and Westerville Central (5-5) and ahead of Central Crossing (1-9).

Marysville returns seven of eight position players and the Monarchs are poised to avoid a repeat performance.

"Everyone is excited," senior and third-year starter Justin Hayes said. "Last year we struggled, but the seniors are hungry to win again."

Carder attributed the slow start to the coaching change and limited playing time in preseason. Carder took over from Ed Starling, who stepped down in 2007 after 27 years at the helm. Also, Marysville did not take a trip to Florida last year for the first time in 11 seasons.

"A lot of things contributed to that 1-12 start," Carder said. "As a team over that span we also hit .170. As time went on, we go a chance to bond and everyone got playing experience under their belt. It's been a total turnaround this season. We spent a lot of time in the offseason together and the mentality of the team is different compared to last year."

Joining Hayes (CF) as a returning starter are seniors Ian Hotham (C/P), Eric Spaulding (SS) and Jake Waters (1B), juniors Cameron Chambers (2B) and Brandon Wolfe (3B) and sophomore Nate Hodnichak (RF). Marysville lost five graduates.

Hotham emerged as No. 1 pitcher as he threw 28 innings against OCC competition and Spaulding threw 24. Rounding out the staff are Chambers, Hayes and sophomores Matt Brown, Kyle Nelson and Jay Sperry.

"I'm happy with our arms," Carder said. "We have a lot more depth than a lot of teams. We have plenty of arms that can get it done at the varsity level. That's tremendous for a high school team."

Senior Zach Bradford is a newcomer to the varsity and will play left field.

"This season we're more of a team," Hayes said. "We have a lot more team chemistry. Everyone gets along. The seniors get along with the sophomores and juniors get along with the seniors and sophomores. We haven't had that in the past, there's been some separation."

For all the lessons learned from Marysville's slow start in 2008, Carder does not want his current team focusing on those negatives.

"I haven't gotten a sense of urgency to vindicate last season," Carder said. "It's a completely new and different atmosphere. I don't anticipate us repeating last season.

"The guys are ready to go. They were a little disappointed with how things went last year, they weren't happy with our record and they are really eager to turn this ship around and make this year different."

Marysville will play at Marion Pleasant on Tuesday, at home against Delaware on Thursday and at Olentangy Liberty on Friday. It will leave for Cocoa, Fla., on Saturday and will return April 11.

"The most important thing is for us to get off to a good start and show the younger guys we can win and we are a good team," Hayes said. "We need to approach every game with the mentality that we are going to win."

At a glance

•Coach: John Carder, second season

•Opener: Monday at Urbana

•Key players: Justin Hayes, Ian Hotham, Eric Spaulding and Jake Waters