Rich Hogle likes what he has seen from his players so far in his first season as coach of the Reynoldsburg High School softball team.

Rich Hogle likes what he has seen from his players so far in his first season as coach of the Reynoldsburg High School softball team.

Last season, the Raiders finished 4-17 overall and went 0-14 in the OCC-Ohio Division, finishing behind Groveport (13-1), Gahanna (11-3), Pickerington Central (10-4), Grove City (8-6), Pickerington North (6-8), Lancaster (4-10) and Newark (4-10).

Reynoldsburg lost to Delaware 10-0 in six innings in the opening round of the Division I district tournament.

The Raiders opened the season on March 28 by playing host to Zanesville before beginning OCC-Ohio play Monday, April 2, at Grove City.

Reynoldsburg has lost 34 consecutive league games, with its last league victory being a 2-0 win over Lancaster on April 29, 2009.

"I've seen a lot of improvement from the kids," said Hogle, a former Otterbein University softball coach who was approved by the school board on March 20 and replaces Shannon Brown, who coached the Raiders the past two seasons. "We are just very young with just two seniors and three juniors. The kids have been practicing hard and we've seen a lot of improvements with the kids."

Junior pitcher Jess Alianiello returns for her third season as the Raiders' No. 1 pitcher. Sophomore Hannah Pearson and freshman Sydney Brown also are expected to see time in the circle.

Junior Danielle Woolever and sophomore Marissa Andrews both could see time at catcher and junior Shanise Davidson will play third base. Alianiello and Brown will play shortstop depending on who is pitching.

Senior Kayleigh Pope and sophomores Savannah Hinkle and Hannah Pearson are vying for playing time at second base and Andrews and sophomore Kaitlyn Cress both could see time at first base.

In the mix for playing time in the outfield are senior Mariah Clark, junior Cierra Tuff, sophomore Kelley Alianiello and freshman Cheyenne Turner. Kelley Alianiello currently is recovering from an appendectomy.

The Raiders lost four starters from a year ago to graduation, including catcher Tiffany Ricks, who is playing at the University of Dayton.

"The defense is coming along. We've made a lot of improvement in practice," Jess Alianiello said. "Our offensive game has also been a big focus in practice - hitting live pitching and getting everybody more confident at the plate. "We may not be measured in wins and losses, but by our growth from now to the end of the season.

"We are a close-knit team and need to stay that way and keep the drama to a minimum."

Hogle said the Raiders scrimmaged teams such as Watterson during the preseason to measure themselves against high-level competition.

"(Watterson is) good. That's the only way to get better," he said.

"We have practiced hard, and the girls have bought into what we've been teaching them. I think they feel better about themselves and there is more desire (to win)."

The Raiders will play home games at the Baldwin Road Junior High field to start the season.

They will play at the new field at the Summit Road High School campus when it is complete later this spring.