All the Worthington Kilbourne High School softball team wanted to do was to hit a little bit better.

All the Worthington Kilbourne High School softball team wanted to do was to hit a little bit better.

The hope was to reverse the outcome of some one- and two-run losses last year. If the Wolves were able to do that, they thought they had a good shot at finishing better than .500.

Kilbourne accomplished those goals and more. The Wolves won their first eight games on the way to a 19-6 overall record, including 10-4 in the OCC-Central Division.

"We had several goals this season and one was to get over the .500 mark," coach John Warinner said. "We're making progress. We had a lot of good pitching and a lot of good hitting and carried that through the season. We had good senior leadership."

The season ended on May 19 with a 4-2 loss to Delaware in a Division I district semifinal. That was the final game for seniors Sarah Bear, Jill Brandenburg, Mollie Jeck, Lauren Rossi and Alexis Williams.

It was an experienced senior class that led a talented group of underclassmen. Rossi, a four-year starter at shortstop, was named first-team all-OCC-Central and first-team all-district as well as honorable mention all-state. She'll continue her softball career at Mercyhurst after batting .462 with 22 RBI. She scored 38 runs and had 17 extra-base hits.

Williams, who batted .341 with 20 RBI, was second-team all-OCC-Central and honorable mention all-district.

Leading the group of expected returnees is sophomore pitcher Sara Adams, who batted .440 with a team-best 35 RBI and was 14-4 with a 1.57 ERA and 185 strikeouts. She was first-team all-OCC-Central and second-team all-district.

Junior Lizzi Cherry, who batted .426 and was honorable mention all-OCC-Central, also is expected back as well as junior outfielder Steph Keller (.391) and freshmen first basemen Manda Cash (.371, 25 RBI). Cash was special mention all-OCC-Central. Also expected back are juniors Emily Row and Dani Mahaffey.

"We finished last in the OCC the last two years," Warinner said.

"We wanted to not finish last again. We swept (Hilliard) Darby and (Hilliard) Davidson all four games and we beat Upper Arlington twice. We beat Thomas for the first time in awhile. Those were all highlights."

Kilbourne was third in the OCC-Central at 10-4 behind Central Crossing (13-0) and Thomas (10-3). Davidson was fourth at 7-7, followed by Darby (5-8), Dublin Coffman (4-10), Upper Arlington (3-11) and Westland (2-11).

Central Crossing and Thomas never made up a game that was postponed on May 4. While Thomas has ended its season, Central Crossing plays in a regional semifinal on Thursday, May 26. According to Thomas coach Tom Gianas, that remaining game could go down as a forfeit, but there has been no official ruling by the OHSAA. Darby and Westland also never played a rematch.

Thomas also finished 19-6 overall, losing to Dresden Tri-Valley 1-0 in a district semifinal.

"I'm pretty pleased with the season," Gianas said.

"We turned around and started winning the close games that we weren't able to win before. We won almost all of our OCC games. I'm really looking forward to this group coming back next year."

Thomas, whose starting lineup was dominated by underclassmen, will lose seniors Sally Nichols, Paige Conant, Caroline Kissel and Kathleen Reid. Nichols, a two-year starter, was 16-3 with a 1.25 ERA.

Junior Zoe Myers and sophomore Megan McLaughlin are expected to assume the pitching duties next season. Myers missed most of the season with a broken finger, but before she was injured she was among the team's top hitters.

The Cardinals are expected to return an experienced infield led by juniors Kim Hoerauf (SS), Emily Hofacre (2B), Kenzi Hannum (3B) and Abby Zofchak (C/3B).

Also expected to return are sophomores Tori Chirdon (C/RF), Rachel Garris (CF), Katie Holman (utility), Sarah Samuels (utility) and Clare Janowski (C).

Zofchak was Thomas' top offensive performer, batting .485 with 24 RBI and a program-record tying seven home runs. Hoerauf batted .482 with 15 RBI and two home runs. Garris (.315, 13 RBI) and Hofacre (.365) were among the Cardinals' other top hitters.

Thomas had several players earn postseason honors, Gianas said. However, he doesn't plan to release specifics until the team's awards banquet on Tuesday, May 31.