The DeSales High School softball team returns nearly intact from last season, which should be a good thing.

The DeSales High School softball team returns nearly intact from last season, which should be a good thing.

The Stallions were 21-9 overall and won the CCL at 8-0 last season. They beat Granville 3-2 in a Division II district final before losing to Clyde 2-1 in 11 innings in a regional semifinal.

"We have a great deal of experience returning this season," said coach Julie Barber, whose team opens Tuesday, March 29, at Pickerington Central. "One of our challenges as a coaching staff has been to provide new challenges for our players at each practice. We want them to continue to develop skills and not be comfortable with their level of play."

Leading the group of returnees is senior pitcher Kelsey Seeds, who is entering her fourth year as a starter and has pitched in two district finals. She was named first-team all-district last year.

The Stallions have been together for a while.

When the current senior class entered the program as freshmen in the spring of 2008, the Stallions were coming off a district championship. That 2007 team included 13 seniors. Seven freshmen were in the 2008 starting lineup, including third baseman Amanda Herron, who was named second-team all-district last season, and catcher Mary Wickert, who was honorable mention all-district a year ago.

There were no seniors in 2009 and last year's team only had one. The Stallions have five seniors this season. In addition to Herron, Seeds and Wickert, DeSales has seniors Aly McGinnis (OF) and Courtney Somers (SS), who started games as freshmen.

The juniors are second baseman Kelsey Albanese, catcher/first baseman Bryn Allen and outfielders Sarah Flint, Cassady Jenkins and Ninamarie Powell. Sophomore Anna Gentile (SS/2B) also is on the team.

According to Barber, the Stallions have done well moving on from their past success.

"We don't really talk about it," she said. "Our focus is more on process - play faster and stronger. I think our girls understand how competitive both our league and district are. They realize that they will need to play a sharper game this season."

DeSales won the CCL last year for the first time since 2001. The Stallions finished ahead of Ready (5-3) Watterson (4-4), Hartley (3-5) and Worthington Christian (0-8).

•The baseball team is coming off a third consecutive CCL championship and seeks a fourth with a roster that is largely inexperienced. The Stallions do not have a senior returning from last year's team that was 17-11 overall and 8-2 in the CCL.

The season ended with a 12-11 loss to Olentangy in a district semifinal. This season opens Monday, March 28, at Olentangy.

"It's an interesting year with a different dynamic," coach Tom Neubert said.

"The really good thing is the players are working hard to find where they fit in. The kids come out and right now they're kind of worried about themselves. They're trying to feel comfortable from a playing aspect. From the leadership aspect, the coaches have to kind of guide it."

Junior catcher Jack Miller has the most experience. He's in his third year as a starter and is the lone player left from the 2009 team that lost to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 2-0 in a Division II state semifinal.

Junior T.J. Alas will play either second or third base and junior Zak DeCamp will play first, third or the outfield.

The Stallions have several players vying for the outfield spots. At pitcher, no one enters the season as a dominant ace. Instead, the Stallions will look to a group that includes Alas, Miller and juniors Joe Chagnon, Nick Eltzroth, Ryan Maloney and Brennan Schlabig.

Also on the team are juniors Brad Bohus, Domenic Delmonte, Chris Kurek, Kaulton Nebraska, Mario Pollina and Derek Traini, sophomore Alex Perrine and freshmen Domenic Skunda and Bryan Stopar.

The Stallions won the CCL last year ahead of St. Charles (7-3), Watterson (6-4), Hartley (5-5), Worthington Christian (4-6) and Ready (0-10).

Hartley was a district runner-up last season. Worthington Christian is no longer in the CCL.

"Hartley returns the most and they were district runner-up last year," Neubert said. "They're pretty strong. St. Charles continues to keep getting better and with (Scott) Manahan back at Watterson, they're going to improve."