The Marysville High School softball team appears ready to challenge for another OCC-Cardinal Division title.

The Marysville High School softball team appears ready to challenge for another OCC-Cardinal Division title.

The Monarchs, however, are hoping to win the league title outright after sharing the championship the previous three seasons.

"We have a lot of potential," senior first baseman Laciee Broderick said. "I'm really excited about this year and what we have. Every year we've shared (the league title). This year we're going to win it and go even further in the district tournament."

Marysville opens Tuesday, March 27, at home against Hilliard Bradley and begins league play Wednesday, March 28, at home against Olentangy Liberty.

Last year, Marysville tied Westerville North for first in the OCC-Cardinal at 11-3. The Monarchs are seeking their first outright league title since 2008, when they finished 10-0 in the OCC-Central.

Marysville finished 15-8 overall last season after losing to Dresden Tri-Valley 13-1 in five innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament. Seeded seventh, the Monarchs had a first-round bye.

Senior Kasie Sepeda (OF) returns after being named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last season, when she hit .362 with nine RBI and a team-high 10 stolen bases.

Junior Kyleah Brey (2B/3B) was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district after leading the team in hitting (.448) and RBI (20).

Senior Olivia Kriel (C) was named special mention all-league after hitting .304 with 16 RBI.

Sophomore Cori Long (P) was honorable mention all-league. She had a 7-5 record with a 2.09 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 15 walks in 71 innings.

Long will take over the main pitching duties after the graduation of Kelsey Wirtz.

Other returning players are seniors Katie Haas (OF) and Arika Mowery (SS/2B), junior Taylor Hicks (OF) and sophomores Amanda King (INF/C/OF) and Maria Reed (1B/C).

Junior Alexis Foster, who played junior varsity last season, will back up Long in the circle.

Also on the team are senior Emily Pelfrey (1B/utility player) and freshman Riley Nelson (3B/OF).

The Monarchs lost two players to graduation in Wirtz and Rachael Mullaney.

Mullaney was first-team all-league and second-team all-district after hitting .394 with 18 RBI. Wirtz was second-team all-league after finishing with an 8-3 record and 1.51 ERA with 37 strikeouts and nine walks in 64 innings.

"We return all of our lettermen but two, so now it's just a matter of clicking and putting it on all cylinders," second-year coach Jennifer Segner-Maxwell said. "(Our) hitting needs to be better. Our defense is solid. We have above average (pitchers) who can place the ball where we ask them to place it. I like that. Our hitting is inconsistent and we need to work on that."

Last season in the OCC-Cardinal, Marysville and North finished ahead of Olentangy (9-5), Westerville Central (9-5), Olentangy Liberty (6-8), Westerville South (6-8), Dublin Scioto (2-12) and Dublin Jerome (1-13).

North swept the season series with Marysville, winning 2-0 and 4-1.

"It's going to be a tough league this year," Segner-Maxwell said. "Not too many teams had people who graduated. Westerville North is back."

Segner-Maxwell credits a program-wide effort for her team's success.

"Marysville has a strong tradition of softball, and no one takes it lightly," she said. "These girls work all year long to keep it where it needs to be and where it has been in the past. I credit summer ball coaches, those travel teams. You have good coaches in Marysville that coach these girls up, and that helps us from a high school standpoint."