With its starting lineup nearly intact, the Upper Arlington High School softball team is looking to build on last season.

With its starting lineup nearly intact, the Upper Arlington High School softball team is looking to build on last season.

In their first season under coach Todd DelBoccio, the Golden Bears finished 18-10 overall and went 6-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to place third behind Grove City (9-1) and Dublin Coffman (7-3) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (4-6), Reynoldsburg (2-8) and Westerville North (2-8).

Sixth-seeded UA defeated Walnut Ridge 15-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament and lost to Gahanna 2-1 in the second round.

"I thought we played extremely well last year," said DelBoccio, whose team opens Tuesday at home against Mount Vernon. "We learned how to compete. We've got everyone back. We're excited about this year."

UA returned 11 letterwinners in seniors Sarah Buffer (OF/1B), Courtney Gossman (OF), Cortney Linard (OF), Courtney Martin (1B), Hannah Mealer (OF/2B), Tabitha Shera (2B) and Megan Streng (3B) and juniors Katie Luciano (SS), Taylor Miley (OF), Audrey Plant (P) and Kasi Vazquez (C).

Buffer, Gossman, Luciano, Martin, Mealer, Plant, Streng and Vazquez were regular starters last season, and Shera split time at second base.

Streng (.410), Luciano (.364), Vazquez (.353) and Gossman (.306) were among the offensive leaders last year. Plant was the No. 1 pitcher, going 16-8 with a 1.00 ERA and 222 strikeouts and 29 walks in 188 2/3 innings.

Plant and Streng were first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Gossman and Vazquez were second-team all-league and Luciano received honorable mention.

Also on the team are juniors Jesse Barlow (3B/OF) and Kelsey Shalvoy (OF) and freshman Mandie Abbruzzesse (P/OF).

"There are a couple newcomers, but overall we're pretty much the same team," Plant said. "Coach constantly talks about how we have to step up."

UA averaged 4.3 runs last season, with single-game highs of 12, 15 and 17. Take those three games away and the average was 3.0.

The Bears lost six games by one run and eight by three or fewer.

"Our weakness last year was putting the ball in play and manufacturing runs," DelBoccio said. "We're hoping to jump that hurdle. With Audrey back and our defense intact, we have to figure out how to hit the ball and manufacture runs. If we do that, we feel we can compete with anybody on our schedule."

"We lost so many games last year because we were not putting the ball in play," Streng said. "A few extra hits could've made a huge difference. We have all the skills to do it. We just need a positive attitude."

UA is in the OCC-Central this season with Coffman, Davidson, Central Crossing, Hilliard Darby, Thomas Worthington, Westland and Worthington Kilbourne.

The Bears, who open league play Wednesday at home against Thomas, have not won an OCC title since 1994.

"I think we can do it," Streng said. "We just need to work as a team and stay focused."

At a glance

•Coach: Todd DelBoccio, second season

•Opener: Tuesday vs. Mount Vernon

•Key players: Courtney Gossman, Katie Luciano, Audrey Plant, Megan Streng and Kasi Vazquez