For the second consecutive season, the Upper Arlington High School baseball team is trying to overcome a slow start.

For the second consecutive season, the Upper Arlington High School baseball team is trying to overcome a slow start.

Last year, the Golden Bears lost eight of their first nine games but rallied to finish 13-14.

They lost seven of their first eight this season, but after beating Hilliard Darby 6-4 last Monday the Golden Bears had won four of six, which they hope is a sign that history will repeat itself and that they are on their way to another strong finish.

"A lot of people have already said that, and I hope it does (repeat itself)," coach Barry Keith said. "We are playing much better. We're learning what we have to do to compete. A lot of people, including myself, are very upbeat about the rest of the season."

"This is how it kind of felt last year," catcher Jamie Arkin said.

UA defeated Thomas Worthington 5-4 in eight innings on April 22 and beat Worthington Kilbourne 7-0 on April 24 behind a three-hitter by Robbie Brewer.

The performances provide evidence that the Bears are improving given the fact that they had lost to both opponents in the first round of OCC-Central Division play, falling 10-5 to the Cardinals on April 16 and 7-4 to the Wolves on April 18.

"We're definitely heading in the right direction," Arkin said. "We didn't want to start out like (last season), with all those losses. We all knew we were capable of much more, but I think we were putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. There was so much tension when we were losing and not playing well. We decided to loosen up, relax, and go out and play the best we can. I think that helped us out a lot."

Pitching has been one of the keys to the Bears' recent success. Keith said that the members of the pitching staff, particularly Brewer, Scott Schubert and Brandon Sega, have elevated their games in recent outings.

"A lot of it is our senior-heavy pitching staff is starting to pitch well now," Keith said. "We were walking a lot of people. But (last) week, the pitching staff did not walk people."

The Bears have shown improvement in the other facets of the game as well. Keith said the team has committed fewer errors in recent games and that the team's batting average is on the rise. Among the team's leading hitters are first baseman Matt Gibbs (.500) and second baseman Wes Cannell (.394).

"Everything is starting to change," Keith said.

"We took it upon ourselves to make sure that everyone is doing their job," Arkin said.

Although UA has improved, its work is far from over.

"The coaches remind us to keep improving every day so that we can play great baseball once the (Division I district) tournament comes around," Arkin said.

The tournament draw will be held Sunday, with first-round games being played May 11.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Upper Arlington baseball team:

*April 21 -- Game against Central Crossing suspended (completed last Wednesday)

*April 22 -- Defeated Thomas Worthington 5-4 (eight innings)

*April 23 -- Def. Westland 7-2

*Last Friday -- Def. Worthington Kilbourne 7-0

Last Saturday -- Lost to Pickerington North 8-1 and 9-5

*Last Monday -- Def. Hilliard Darby 6-4

*Last Wednesday -- Played Central Crossing

*Today -- At Dublin Coffman

*Friday -- Home vs. Westland

*Monday -- At Hilliard Davidson

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Coffman

Of note: The Bears were 5-9 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Central before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Central game