The Westerville North High School softball team put runners on base in the top of the second, fourth and seventh innings against Grove City in a Division I district semifinal May 18 at Pickerington Central.

The Westerville North High School softball team put runners on base in the top of the second, fourth and seventh innings against Grove City in a Division I district semifinal May 18 at Pickerington Central.

But the Warriors stranded four en route to a 4-1 loss to the top-seeded Greyhounds.

"We did a lot of things right to keep the game close, but Grove City took advantage of every situation in their favor, and that's what good teams do," coach Joe Francisco said. "They executed when they had people in scoring position and we didn't take advantage of all of our opportunities."

With North trailing 4-0 in the top of the seventh, senior third baseman Caitie Kilbane drew a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a double by sophomore right-fielder Lilly Gresh.

But the Warriors ended the game with back-to-back fly outs to strand runners at first and second.

"We didn't start hitting until the seventh inning, which is typical for us," sophomore second baseman Sami Dustman said. "We almost came back, but we couldn't get that one last hit that we needed."

North finished fourth in the OCC-Cardinal Division at 7-7, behind co-champions Marysville and Olentangy Liberty (11-3) and Westerville Central (10-4), and ahead of Olentangy (6-8), Dublin Scioto (5-9), Westerville South (5-9) and Dublin Jerome (1-13).

But the Warriors went 3-1 against the other Westerville teams. North swept South, winning 4-3 on April 14 and 2-1 on April 30, and split with Central, winning 2-1 on April 2 and losing 5-4 on April 23.

The Warriors also beat Marysville 4-2 on May 3.

Despite ending its regular season on a five-game losing streak, North bounced back to beat Whetstone 14-1 in five innings in its district opener on May 10 and defeat Delaware 5-1 in the second round May 13.

"Beating South twice and beating Marysville were the highlights of our season, because South is a big rival and Marysville is a good team," Dustman said.

North will lose two starters to graduation in Kilbane and Brittany Weber (1B).

Eight players who started multiple games are expected to return in juniors Emily Bennett (C/DH) and Sarah Lawrence (CF) and sophomores Alex Brooker (1B), Alli Rowland (P), Lisa Simmons (SS), Dustman (2B), Gresh (RF) and Tory Speakman (C/DH).

"We were a young team, and kids tend to get stronger between their sophomore and junior years, which allows them to do things they aren't able to do when they're younger," Francisco said. "Hopefully, our turn will be next year."