The Olentangy High School softball team lost its final four games, but still produced its first winning season since 2005.

The Olentangy High School softball team lost its final four games, but still produced its first winning season since 2005.

The Braves finished 16-10 after a 5-0 loss to Westerville North on May 19. It was their their highest victory total since 2004 when they finished 17-8 overall and 9-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Olentangy was fourth at 9-5 in the OCC-Cardinal behind Marysville (11-3), Westerville South (11-3) and Westerville North (9-4) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (7-7), Westerville Central (5-9), Dublin Scioto (2-12) and Dublin Jerome (1-12). A game between North and Jerome was canceled.

Olentangy defeated Lancaster 8-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 11, earning its second postseason win in the last five seasons. The 11th-seeded Braves lost to Watterson 11-5 in the second round May 14.

"We had a very good year, especially given where everyone thought we would be," coach Marty Mearhoff said. "Not us, but other people didn't give us a chance to be where we are. I think we have come a long way."

Olentangy will lose two seniors in Suzy May (CF) and Cera Schulze (OF), but only May was a regular starter.

Expected to return are juniors Ally Bayless (SS), Lauren Bayless (LF), Amanda Graham (P) and Kaeli Weaver (3B), sophomores Morgan Johnson (OF), Shannon Schneider (C/OF), Lindsey Stanley (C/1B) and Kelsey Wruble (RF) and freshmen Haleigh Breuer (P/1B) and Amanda Wojta (2B).

"We have a young team and many of the girls were playing a position for the first time," Mearhoff said.

"This year was a learning experience for them and, for the most part, they responded well. They got better each and every game. I'm looking forward to next year."

•Liberty finished 13-10 overall after a 2-0 loss to top-seeded Grove City in a district semifinal May 18.

The Patriots had defeated Whetstone 10-0 in five innings in the first round May 11 behind a no-hitter by junior pitcher Cara Hunsinger and Watkins Memorial 7-4 in the second round May 14.

It was only the second time Liberty advanced past the second round. The first time was 2006, when the Patriots lost to Hilliard Davidson 4-1 in 22 innings in a district final.

"It's kind of like icing on, not a disappointing year, but an up-and-down year," assistant Angie Thompson said moments after the loss to Grove City, which was ranked third in the final state poll.

"It was nice to get here, but I don't think they're satisfied with just getting here. By the fifth inning, they were thinking, 'Man, we can beat this team. We belong here.' I'm very proud of the girls."

Liberty will lose two seniors in Maria Fortunato (LF) and Nikki Muntean (DP), but only Fortunato was a regular starter.

Expected to return are Hunsinger, juniors Kristina Campbell (1B), Kirstie Fehrenbach (SS), Amanda Hatfield (3B), Lillie Norris (CF) and Kristen Wisecarver (OF) and sophomores Caitlin Adkins (2B), Jessica DeWulf (C), Tara Rissmeyer (OF), Dani Rivington (RF) and Allyson VanGundy (DP).

"We've got to replace that leadership (provided by the seniors), but I'm very confident in the group that we have coming back," Thompson said. "There's a lot to look forward to."

"We're already pretty excited about next year, but we're really going to miss our two seniors," Fehrenbach said. "They're a really big part of our team."

At a glance

LIBERTY

•Record: 13-13 overall, 7-7 (fifth) in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Maria Fortunato and Nikki Muntean

•Key returnees: Caitlin Adkins, Kirstie Fehrenbach, Amanda Hatfield, Cara Hunsinger, Lillie Norris and Allyson VanGundy

OLENTANGY

•Record: 16-10 overall, 9-5 (fourth) in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Suzy May and Cera Schulze

•Key returnees: Ally Bayless, Lauren Bayless, Haleigh Breuer, Amanda Graham, Lindsey Stanley and Kaeli Weaver