Coach Chris Shirer was leaning forward in a folding chair as he watched the Marysville High School softball team take batting practice before a game last Wednesday against Olentangy Liberty.

Coach Chris Shirer was leaning forward in a folding chair as he watched the Marysville High School softball team take batting practice before a game last Wednesday against Olentangy Liberty.

"Our problem is right here," he said, pointing to the cage. "If we're hitting right now we're 11-0."

Instead, Marysville is around the .500 mark. As inconsistent as the offense has been, the pitching has not dropped off after the graduation of Holly Wood. Last season, Wood went 19-3 with a 1.25 ERA and was named first-team all-district in Division I and second-team all-state and was co-Player of the Year in the OCC-Central Division.

This season, the pitchers are juniors Dani Steepe and Chelsea Burns. Through 10 games the Monarchs had won four games, with three credited to Steepe and one to Burns.

"This year Chelsea and I have to step up as leaders of this team," Steepe said. "Coach always says it starts in the circle. Both of us are juniors so it is up to us to lead the team in the circle."

Two of Steepe's first three wins were shutouts. She beat Dublin Coffman 2-0 on April 4 as she struck out 14 and allowed two hits and she beat Ellicotville (N.Y.) 5-0 on April 8 as she struck out 14 and allowed one hit.

"We haven't had a pitcher since I've been here that is getting 13, 14 or 15 strikeouts a game," Shirer said. "Her ball moves like crazy. In fastpitch softball if your ball moves and you can change planes, you'll get people out."

Steepe admitted her mentality is to go for the strikeout. Burns' style is different.

"I'm a groundball pitcher," she said. "I keep it low and I like to get my defense involved."

Burns and Steepe find out who will be starting during warmups one hour before the game. Because of Steepe's ability to strike out hitters en masse, she is seeing more time in the circle.

"Dani is throwing the ball better right now," Shirer said. "When you're getting 13, 14 or 15 strikeouts a game, your defense is not going to make a lot of errors. Teams are not going to move the ball. You're going to play pretty good defense, too. We might be able to sit down a few players."

Steepe and Burns have welcomed the competition between them and the pressure that comes with pitching.

"You have to admit there is a little bit of competition," Burns said.

"There's always competition no matter where you are on the field," Steepe said. "You know you have to do your best. I like that standard. Marysville has a great tradition and I like carrying it on as a pitcher and as a player on this team. Everyone enjoys carrying on that tradition."

Last Wednesday, Steepe helped Marysville to a 7-1 win over Olentangy Liberty in the circle and at the plate. She allowed three hits and hit a solo home run in the fifth inning.

As the younger players get more experience, Shirer hopes hitting in the pressure situations increases.

"We're leaving runners on base," he said. "We got no-hit in one game down in South Carolina. We haven't been able to hit with two outs, the bases loaded or under pressure."

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Marysville baseball, boys tennis, softball and boys and girls track and field teams:

BASEBALL

*Last Monday --╩Game at Dublin Scioto postponed. It was rescheduled for May 5.

*Last Tuesday --╩Defeated Westerville South 4-0

*Last Wednesday -- Lost to Olentangy Liberty 10-9 in eight innings

*Last Friday --╩Played Olentangy

Last Saturday --╩Played Fairbanks and North Union in home Hays/Hoehn Tournament

*Monday --╩At Westerville Central

*Tuesday --╩Home vs. Westerville Central

*Wednesday --╩At Westerville South

*Thursday --╩Home vs. Dublin Jerome

*Friday --╩At Jerome

Of note: The Monarchs were 6-6 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Friday.

TENNIS

April 17 --╩Def. Westland 4-1 in the first round of OTCA Division I tournament

Last Monday -- Match vs. Big Walnut postponed. No makeup date has been announced.

Last Wednesday -- Def. Marion Harding 3-2

*Last Thursday --╩Lost to Jerome 5-0

Last Friday --╩Played Village Academy

*Tuesday --╩Home vs. Westerville North

*Wednesday --╩At Westerville South

Friday -- Home vs. Big Walnut

Of note: The Monarchs were 2-3 overall before last Friday and are 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.

SOFTBALL

*April 17 --╩Lost to Olentangy 2-1

*Last Wednesday --╩Def. Olentangy Liberty 7-1

*Last Thursday --╩Lost to Westerville South 2-1

*Last Friday --╩Played Olentangy; played Lakewood in Stellar Classic at Ohio State

Last Saturday -- Played Zanesville in Stellar Classic

*Monday --╩At Westerville Central

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Westerville North

*Wednesday --╩Home vs. Westerville South

*Thursday --╩Home vs. Jerome

*Friday --╩At Jerome

Of note: The Monarchs were 7-6 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Friday.

TRACK & FIELD

April 17 --╩Boys: Finished third (68) behind Kettering Fairmont (82) and Upper Arlington (75) in Bellefontaine Relays. The Monarchs won the high jump (18-0) and 1,600 (3:31.2) relays; Girls: Finished fourth (60) behind champion Fairmont (101) in Bellefontaine Relays.

Last Tuesday --╩Boys: Def. Westerville Central 66-62; Girls: Lost to Westerville Central 68-59

Last Saturday --╩Competed in Piqua Invitational

Tuesday --╩At Westerville South

*OCC-Cardinal contest