Reynoldsburg High School baseball coach Rob Gravatt expects his team's lineup to look considerably different by season's end compared to the ones he's using during a five-game, spring-break trip that began April 1 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
It's all part of a process to help the Raiders return to the level of success that they experienced in 2010 and '11 when they were Division I district runners-up.
Last season, Reynoldsburg lost six of its first seven games and finished 10-14 overall.
"Based on what we had last year and what we lost, we are asking some underclassmen to step up," said Gravatt, who is in his fourth season leading the program. "We definitely are going to be more competitive. You start off with a lineup at the beginning of the year and have a completely different one by the end of the year, and that's when we play our best baseball."
The top seniors are Nick Hedrick (C), Tre Rowe (OF), Kevin Schultz (OF/P), Elliott Ladowitz (INF/P) and Colton McCroskey (DH/1B/3B/C). Rounding out the senior class is Jeremy Williams (OF/P).
Juniors Alex Core (P/OF) and Hunter Steele (P/INF) should be key pitchers.
Also on the team are juniors Hayden Bowen (OF), Brandon Coble (INF), Joey Fee (3B/P), Isaiah Joseph (OF/P) Tyler McKean (1B), Davis Otani (2B), Zach Ruschill (P) and Josh Turner (INF), sophomores Eric Duncan (1B/P), John Monsour (1B) and Tanner Thomas (OF) and freshmen Shayne Lyons (P), Nick McPommell (C/3B/P) and Connor Richardson (SS/P).
Thomas is a returning starter who hit .379 last season.
Reynoldsburg opens OCC-Ohio Division play Monday, April 8, at Grove City.
Last season, the Raiders went 5-9 in the league to place fifth, behind Grove City (11-0), Gahanna (10-4), Pickerington Central (9-4) and Pickerington North (9-4) and ahead of Lancaster (4-8), Newark (4-9) and Groveport (0-14).
Reynoldsburg lost to 12th-seeded Westerville Central 6-0 in the second round of the district tournament after beating Briggs 10-0 in five innings in the first round.
The Raiders lost key players in Ryan Shaw (SS/P), Kody Herring (P), Owen McCloskey (P), Devin Royer (P), Justin McCroskey (DH) and John Melzer (OF) to graduation. Shaw pitched a no-hitter against Briggs.
Also gone is 2012 graduate Jeff Murray, who drove in a program-record 50 runs in 2010 and had 26 RBI in 2011 but was limited to 18 at-bats last spring because of an injury. He is playing for the University of Cincinnati.
"We've got a lot of young talent and some older kids with the talent as well," Gravatt said. "We made it to the district championship my first two years and I feel with the returners we have that we're obviously going to be stronger. Hedrick's got three years under his belt and we're looking to have a more competitive team than last year. I'm really excited going into this year. I like the team morale."
Raglin expected to lead tennis team
The boys tennis team returns a Division I state qualifier and four others after going 20-3 overall a year ago.
Still, 31st-year coach Mark Mathias is hoping a void can be filled in the area of leadership over the coming weeks.
The Raiders opened April 2 against Fisher Catholic and begin OCC-Ohio play Tuesday, April 9, at Grove City.
"We're going to be hard-pressed to keep up with last year's 20-3 record," Mathias said. "We're a pretty talented team, but we don't have the vocal leadership we've had in the past. The potential is there. We just need people to step up."
Last season, sophomore Cameron Raglin became the program's first state qualifier since 2005. He lost to eventual champion Colton Buffington of Westlake 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match at state to finish 24-3.
Also back are senior Brandon Person and juniors Zach Kahl, Isaac Kahn and Yosef Maher. Last year, Person played third singles and first doubles, Maher saw action at third singles and Kahl and Kahn each played doubles.
Juniors Bryn Bell, Harrison Moshier, Michael Robinson and Raymond Troung and sophomore Nick Seal are others looking to contribute.
Last season, the Raiders went 6-1 in OCC-Ohio dual matches and finished the league tournament with 60 points to place second, behind Pickerington North (63, 7-0) and ahead of Gahanna (47, 5-2), Grove City (32, 4-3), Pickerington Central (29, 3-4), Lancaster (18, 2-5), Groveport (16, 1-6) and Newark (3, 0-7).
Raglin won the league title at first singles and Maher won the third-singles championship.
Placing second were 2012 graduate Adam Edwards at second singles and Khan and Pope Lake at second doubles. Person and 2012 graduate Sai Korada placed third at first doubles.
Lake is not back with the team this season.
The Raiders reached the district final of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament for the first time since 2005, losing to eventual champion Upper Arlington 5-0.
At district, Raglin went 3-1 and placed third and the doubles team of Korada and Lake lost in the first round.
"Cameron Raglin made it to state as a freshman and he's put a lot of hard work in over the winter," Mathias said. "We have a real good core back."