If there was a season in which the DeSales High School baseball team was going to take a step back, this looked to be the one.

If there was a season in which the DeSales High School baseball team was going to take a step back, this looked to be the one.

The Stallions lost nearly all of their leadership and offensive power from a year ago. After opening 1-5, it appeared those things may not be coming back.

Then DeSales took a trip to Orlando during spring break and returned a different team. They have won 15 of their last 17 games since, including a 7-2 decision over eighth-seeded Jonathan Alder on May 20 as they won a second consecutive Division II district championship. The Stallions were the fifth seed.

"At first everyone was saying how we had to replace a lot of guys and how we're a young team," said Mitch Herbert, whose team is 20-8.

"(Winning a district title is) definitely a special feeling because we did what people thought we couldn't do. We won district. It felt like all bets were against us."

DeSales defeated Bexley 4-3 in the second round May 14 and New Albany 4-3 in a district semifinal four days later.

"I don't think we're the most talented team out there," Andrew Parise said. "We don't have the leadership that we did last year. We knew that we could do it. I don't think anybody else expected us to do this this year."

Today the Stallions will face Bellefontaine at Dayton in a regional semifinal.

Bellefontaine is 22-7 after defeating Cincinnati Wyoming 16-6 in five innings in a district final last Saturday.

The Chieftains have been using senior left-hander Zach Mosbarger at pitcher at any opportunity this postseason. He threw a complete game in a 5-0 win over Springfield Shawnee in the second round May 14 and started a 10-2 win over Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan in a district semifinal May 19.

Other top players are Mark Duffy and Brandon Winter.

The winner will play at 5 p.m. Friday at Dayton in a regional final against Cincinnati McNicholas or Franklin.

McNicholas defeated Monroe 5-4 in a district final last Friday to improve to 21-9. It is led by pitchers Mike Hain and Chris Linneman. Hain is 4-3 with a 2.78 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 55 1/ 3 innings and Linneman is 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. Senior catcher Dillon Sears in the team's top hitter (.472).

Franklin defeated Springfield Kenton Ridge 8-2 last Friday to improve to 22-5. The Wildcats are led by 6-foot-7 left-hander Kyle Blackford.

The regional champion will play at 7 p.m. June 4 at Huntington Park in a state semi-final against Bay Village Bay, Bellville Clear Fork, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit or Lima Shawnee.

Last season the Stallions defeated Batavia 3-2 in a regional semifinal before losing to Kenton Ridge 17-7 in a regional final.

•The boys and girls track and field teams qualified three to the Division I regional, which started last Wednesday and ends Saturday at Pickerington North.

The top four in each event will advance to the state meet June 5-6 at Ohio State.

The boys team finished 13th (18 points) in the district 2 meet last Saturday behind champion Hilliard Darby (111).

Vinny Balzano won the 800 meters (1 minute, 57.82 seconds) ahead of runner-up Joe Taranto (1:58.45) of Pickerington Central. Worried about getting boxed in, Balzano said the problem was he went out too fast and nearly gave out before the end of the race. The result was a time that was the slowest of the three district champions.

"I ran out of energy real quickly," said Balzano, who was sixth (1:52.8) in the state last year. "I was freaking out. I know I started feeling footsteps on that 100. I had to force myself. Luckily I came out on top. I should have probably worried more about my place than my time."

The girls team competed in the district 1 meet, finishing 12th (18) to champion New Albany (108.5).

Melissa Thompson was second in the 1,600 (5:20.5) to Dublin Scioto's Katie Papesh (5:18.8) to qualify to the regional meet. Liz Sunderman also advanced to the regional after finishing fourth (35 feet, 2 inches) in the shot put behind champion Ivanna Payne (39-0 1/2) of Grandview.

•The boys tennis team's season ended last Friday at Davidson as no one made it past the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Myles Harris beat Olentangy Liberty's Alexander Hathaway 6-4, 6-0 in the first round and lost to St. Charles' Kyle Gerber 6-4, 6-7, 6-0 in the second. John Acomb dropped his first-round match to Thomas Worthington's Casey Cempre 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In doubles Stephen Thorley and Paul Rosile lost in the first round to Worthington Kilbourne's Kevin Metka and Jonny Price 6-0, 6-1.

•The softball team lost to Canal Winchester 4-3 in a district semifinal May 19. The Stallions finished 14-7 overall. They were second in the CCL at 6-2 behind Ready (8-0).

•The boys lacrosse team, which beat Watterson 16-5 last Friday to improve to 13-3 as Mike Sarson scored seven goals, played fifth-seeded Gahanna in the first round of the Division II Region 3 tournament last Tuesday, with the winner to play today in a regional semifinal against top-seeded Granville or eighth-seeded Olentangy Orange. The higher-seeded team will be the home team.

The Stallions are the fourth seed.