The Reynoldsburg High School baseball team believes it is a much-improved unit from the one that went 11-17 a year ago, and the season's first two weeks back up that assertion.
The first place to look for verification might be the Raiders' No. 1 pitcher, senior Alex Core.
A year ago, Reynoldsburg lost its first 10 OCC-Ohio Division games, including 10-0 to Grove City in its league opener as Core was replaced on the mound in the third inning.
The Raiders won their final four league games last season. They lost to Grove City 9-4 in this year's league opener April 8, but won the rematch 8-0 on April 9 behind a shutout from Core.
"It really means a lot (to start out the season well) because it's my senior year," Core said.
Reynoldsburg was 5-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Gahanna on April 16. Its game April 14 against Pickerington Central was postponed.
The Raiders beat Teays Valley 3-1 on April 10 but lost to Pickerington Central 4-1 on April 11 in a league game and fell to New Albany 21-2 and 16-14 in a doubleheader April 12.
Proceeds from the Raiders' games April 12 went to the organization Donate Life in recognition of April being National Donate Life Month.
Core, who pitched his first varsity shutout last May when the Raiders beat Newark 1-0, gave up four hits in the win over Grove City to improve to 3-0.
Core pitched all five innings, giving up two runs on four hits, as the Raiders beat Worthington Kilbourne 12-1 in their opener April 1.
Then on April 5, Reynoldsburg swept a doubleheader from Dresden Tri-Valley, winning 9-3 and 7-5, with Core earning the win in the first game.
In addition, Core had three hits against Kilbourne and went 2-for-5 in the win over Grove City.
Core, who starts in the outfield when he's not pitching, is a captain along with senior Hayden Bowen (OF) and junior Tanner Thomas (OF).
There are seven seniors in the program.
"The seniors all have been excellent leaders," coach Rob Gravatt said.
"It's just been a family-type of atmosphere this year. I've had teams with good team chemistry before, but this team, you walk into the dugout and it's just amazing."
Other offensive standouts, according to Gravatt, have been seniors Davis Otani (2B) and Hunter Steele (3B/P) and sophomores Parker Facemyrer (OF), Shane Lyons (1B), Nick McPommell (C) and Connor Richardson (SS).
Senior Joey Fee, who has seen action at first base, second base, third base, outfield and pitcher, has impressed Gravatt with his versatility.
Also in the win over Grove City, Otani had three hits, Steele went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Bowen added two runs and an RBI.
"We've definitely found more of our strengths," Core said. "Last year was more of a molding season. There really wasn't that big of a change (in our roster)."
Proceeds from the Raiders' game April 12 went to the organization Donate Life in recognition of April being National Donate Life Month.
According to Gravatt, among the biggest supporters of the Reynoldsburg baseball program are residents Mike and Sue Murphy. Their son, Jason Murphy, died June 30, 2003, but was an organ donor.
In addition, the proceeds from Reynoldsburg's game May 6 against Canal Winchester will be given to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer.
"It means a lot (to have the two donation games)," Core said.