Four members of the Westerville North High School baseball team were a part of the boys basketball team which went 13-10 and advanced to a district final after finishing 3-18 and losing in the first round each of the previous two seasons.

Four members of the Westerville North High School baseball team were a part of the boys basketball team which went 13-10 and advanced to a district final after finishing 3-18 and losing in the first round each of the previous two seasons.

Senior catcher Keegan Hale said he and his teammates who are coming over from basketball are optimistic that they can help inject that same winning attitude into the baseball team, which has had three consecutive losing seasons.

The Warriors finished 8-14 overall last year after losing to third-seeded Pickerington North 11-5 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

North, which beat Independence 8-7 in the first round of the tournament, will open Monday at Watterson.

"We've had some tough seasons in the past, but we've learned how to win again and we're hoping that will translate into our baseball season as well," Hale said. "We used to press a lot because we wanted to win so bad and we didn't know how. But the general feel of this team is we're a lot more loose because we want to enjoy ourselves and win games, and we've got confidence that we can do both. I think we're ready to put Westerville North baseball back on the map."

North returns eight players who started one or more games last year, including seniors Kiley Guessner (LF), Hale (C), Josh Hood (2B), Brandon Natale (1B), Jacob Thuman (SS) and Jeff Warbritton (RF) and juniors Joey Detty (CF) and Andrew Forrest (P).

Last season, North batted .267 with Thuman (.424, 15 RBI, 15 runs) and Hood (.316, 4 RBI, 12 runs) helping to lead the way.

Starting at third base will be senior Tyler Antonides. Juniors D.J. Tretter and Wyatt Tucker will split starts at designated hitter.

Rounding out the lineup are juniors Joe Silva, Chris Williams and Kyle Workman. The starting pitchers are Forrest, Antonides, Natale and Hale. Last season, Forrest was 2-5, Hale was 2-1 and Thuman was 2-2.

"Out of 14 guys, 13 of them can pitch, so our biggest problem will be getting all of them the innings they deserve," coach Jim Bernowski said. "The beauty of this team is they're interchangeable at several different positions, where last year our seniors were locked into certain positions. I think we're going to have good pitching and be strong defensively. The key is finding the right combination of guys who can hit the ball."

The Warriors finished 4-6 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to tie Reynoldsburg for fourth place behind Dublin Coffman (7-3), Hilliard Davidson (7-3) and Grove City (6-4) and ahead of Upper Arlington (2-8).

North will compete in the OCC-Cardinal this season with Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Marysville, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Westerville Central and Westerville South.

"I don't think most people want to give us much credit, so we're looking to surprise them in the OCC," Hale said. "Everyone's looking at the Dublins and the Olentangys and expecting us to finish behind them, but our team's had a storied history and I think we've got as good a shot as anyone to win the OCC. I think we're going to be a better-hitting team than we were last year, so we're looking to make this a special season."

At a glance

•Coach: Jim Bernowski, second season

•Opener: Monday at Watterson

•Key players: Josh Hood and Jacob Thuman