The Marysville High School baseball team entered the 2010 Division I district tournament expecting to make a deep run in the postseason.

The Marysville High School baseball team entered the 2010 Division I district tournament expecting to make a deep run in the postseason.

St. Charles, however, eliminated the Monarchs 5-1 in the first round.

The loss has provided extra incentive for this season as the Monarchs, with 11 seniors on the roster, hope to atone for last year's early postseason exit.

"I don't know if we overlooked St. Charles last year. I think we just got outplayed," fourth-year coach John Carder said. "I know (the players) were disappointed. I felt we were playing pretty well towards the end of the season and I think they felt things weren't done yet."

Marysville opens the season on Monday, March 28, against Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson at the Vero Beach Sports Village in Vero Beach, Fla., where the Monarchs will play six games in three days.

Last season, the Monarchs finished 15-12 overall and 7-7 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. They finished fifth in the league, behind tri-champions Dublin Jerome (10-4), Dublin Scioto (10-4) and Olentangy Liberty (10-4) and Westerville South (8-6), and ahead of Westerville North (5-9), Westerville Central (4-10) and Olentangy (2-12).

Marysville's returning players have caught the attention of other coaches in the league, including Jerome's Chris Huesman, who said he thinks the Monarchs will contend for the title.

"From top to bottom, this is a pretty balanced league," Carder said. "Our league is pretty tough."

Carder believes left-hander Matt Brown (OF/P) and right-hander Jay Sperry (1B/P), both seniors, will anchor the pitching staff. Sperry's pitches have been clocked at 85 to 87 mph, according to Carder.

"Jay throws harder than Matt does, but they both have different qualities," Carder said. "Matt is a little craftier. Jay throws harder. He's a little bit bigger guy. They both have their pluses and minuses, and on either day either one of those guys could be our ace."

Carder expects senior Kyle Nelson (SS/P) to join Brown and Sperry as starting pitchers.

"One of the areas that is going to be a question mark for us is going to be our pitching," Carder said. "We have some good arms, but we only have a couple guys that have experience in pitching in the tough, competitive league that we're in. That's going to be our primary question mark. We're not super deep. We do have some guys that will throw, but they don't have the game experience that our top guys have."

The other seniors are Troy Gase (P/OF), Nathan Hodnichak (3B/P), Mike Lewis (C), Alex Rodenhausen (OF), Matt Steele (3B), Evan Tutak (OF), Eric Wietzek (C) and Ethan Wirtz (OF).

Other players back from last season are junior Zach LaRoche (OF/1B) and sophomore Corey Gould (INF).

Junior Kori Mack (OF), sophomore Jordan Simmons (OF) and freshman Jarod Yoakam (INF) round out the team.

Hodnichak, who was special mention all-league last season, likes the Monarchs' team chemistry.

"Everybody is doing their job," he said. "Everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing and everybody is doing it. I've never really felt this way before about this team. Everybody on the team bonds well, and that's something else I've never felt on our high school team before."