Mark Brunswick realized he was inheriting an established program when he took over the Marysville High School baseball team last August.
Fine-tuning has been an early goal for the first-year coach.
"There was a nice foundation built here," Brunswick said. "There are a couple kids here who can play a little bit. Some of the things that we have to do to get them to that next tier is just keep working on that baseball IQ."
Brunswick replaced John Carder, who resigned after last season to become an assistant principal at Marion Harding. Carder coached the Monarchs for six seasons, going 85-73 overall.
Last season, Marysville won 20 games for the first time since 1989 and captured its first district title since 1992, defeating Watkins Memorial 7-2 in a Division I final. The Monarchs finished 22-8 with a 10-1 loss to Gahanna in a regional semifinal.
Marysville opened by playing four games March 29 and Sunday, March 30, at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla.
The Monarchs return their top three pitchers from last season, including junior Aron Mowery, who got the win in all three of the team's postseason victories.
In 63 2/3 innings last spring, Mowery was 9-3 with a 2.53 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 13 walks. Also an infielder, he hit .320 with 15 RBI and 13 runs and was second-team all-OCC-Central Division.
"I hope to lead the staff this year with the older guys, and hopefully my experience pitching later in the tournament will help us prevail further along than we did last year," Mowery said.
The pitching staff also will feature seniors Jarod Yoakam (P/1B) and Matt Mulholland (CF/P). Last season, Mulholland was second-team all-league after hitting .396 with 21 RBI and 16 runs.
Senior Billy Kidd (3B) was first-team all-league and second-team all-district after hitting .398 with 29 runs, 22 RBI, 16 stolen bases and eight doubles.
Also back are seniors Noah Arbogast (1B/DH), Jacob McNabb (3B/P), Matt Reed (C/3B) and Sam Tse (OF), juniors Desmond Johnson (OF) and Greg Laurenson (P/OF) and sophomore Casey Gould (SS/P/2B).
Other players are senior Sam Ford (OF/P), junior Grant Howard (C/3B) and sophomore Mitchell Kelley (2B/3B/P).
"We have good leadership, a good senior class," Brunswick said. "We have guys that really love to play. They love to swing it and get after it and continue to practice."
Last season, the Monarchs went 9-5 in the OCC-Central to tie Olentangy Liberty for second behind champion Thomas Worthington (11-3).
They lost three players to graduation, including left fielder Kyle Hites, who was second-team all-league and honorable all-district after hitting .376 with 36 runs, 27 stolen bases, 14 RBI, nine doubles and six triples. Shortstop Corey Gould, also a 2013 graduate, was honorable mention all-league after hitting .313 with 26 RBI and 15 runs.
Brunswick is in his 20th year teaching social studies comprehension at Bellefontaine, where he was baseball coach for 16 years and assistant boys basketball coach for seven.
"He's had so much experience," Mulholland said. "You can tell that he knows everything about the game, so as long as we just listen to him and do everything he says we'll be fine."
Softball team looks to defend league title
The softball team entered the season looking to defend its share of the OCC-Central title.
The Monarchs and Liberty tied for first a year ago at 11-3. Marysville then finished 21-7, losing to eventual district champion Gahanna 9-2 in a Division I district semifinal.
"Our first goal is to win the OCC and our second goal is to get past districts," co-coach Jennifer Segner-Maxwell said. "We have team goals and individual goals, but we focus on one game at a time."
Senior pitcher Cori Long was second-team all-league last season after going 15-4 with a 1.94 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 20 walks in 123 1/3 innings. She was 8-1 with a 1.02 ERA in league play.
"I'm really looking forward to this season being a senior and all the incoming freshmen and the talent that we have," Long said. "We're kind of young, but we're going to have a good year."
Senior Maria Reed (1B) was second-team all-league after hitting .380 with 22 RBI, five doubles, three home runs and one triple.
Junior Riley Nelson (3B/OF) was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district after hitting .415 with eight doubles, four triples and two home runs.
Sophomore Madi Shelley (SS) was honorable mention all-league after hitting .355 with six doubles and a triple.
Junior pitcher Erin Unterbrink was 6-3 with a 1.87 ERA, 28 strikeouts and six walks in 61 2/3 innings.
"We have experience with our pitching," Segner-Maxwell said. "It starts in the circle."
Also back are senior Amanda King (C/OF), who had 10 doubles, and juniors Hunter Lobdell (2B) and Allanah Larriuz (OF/utility player).
Other players are junior Megan Loos (OF), sophomore Logan Carper (CF) and freshmen Summer Combs (P/utility player) and Katelynn Russell (C).
King, Long and Reed are captains.
"We have quite a bit of experience for a varsity team," Segner-Maxwell said.
The Monarchs lost five players to graduation, including third baseman Kyleah Brey, who was league co-Player of the Year and first-team all-district after hitting .405 with a team-high 25 RBI. She also had seven doubles and three home runs.
Another 2013 graduate, center fielder Taylor Hicks, was first-team all-league after hitting .414 with five doubles and a triple.
Segner-Maxwell said Chris Shirer, who previously coached the team for 12 seasons, will share head coaching duties this spring.
Under Shirer, the Monarchs went 270-78, won five OCC titles and five district championships and finished as regional runners-up three times. Shirer was an assistant coach at Ohio Dominican the past three seasons.
"It's like a lift off of my shoulders," Segner-Maxwell said. "We're considered co-coaches. We divided it pretty evenly."