Members of the Westerville North High School softball team said they were disappointed after falling short of their goals of winning OCC-Cardinal Division and Division I district championships.

Members of the Westerville North High School softball team said they were disappointed after falling short of their goals of winning OCC-Cardinal Division and Division I district championships.

But after the Warriors beat Olentangy 5-0 on May 19 to finish 20-8 overall for their first winning season in six years, coach Joe Francisco said the season was far from a disappointment.

"I know that the kids would like to still be playing in the tournament, but I think they understand that this was a very successful season," he said. "This is the first time we've won this many games in a long time, but that's not how I measure success as a coach. As I get older, I tend to look at where we were when we started and where we were when we ended, and I can see that this team never quit getting better and was much better at the end of the year."

The Warriors went 3-1 against the other Westerville teams. North beat Central 8-3 on April 9 and 10-0 in five innings April 24 and split with South, losing 2-1 on May 12 and winning 6-0 on May 15.

"It felt good to beat South after we lost to them earlier in the week," senior shortstop Alyssa Falcone said after the second South game. "But to not win the OCC is a disappointment."

North finished third in the OCC-Cardinal at 9-4 behind co-champions Marysville (11-3) and South (11-3) and ahead of Olentangy (9-5), Olentangy Liberty (7-7), Central (5-9), Dublin Scioto (2-12) and Dublin Jerome (1-12).

"Most of teams in the OCC-Cardinal were young, so it's going to be a good division once again next year," Francisco said.

The sixth-seeded Warriors opened the Division I district tournament play May 11 with an 18-0 win in five innings over Brookhaven, but then lost to eventual district champion Hilliard Darby 4-2 on May 14.

"We played well but we just ran into a very good Hilliard Darby team," Francisco said.

North will lose three seniors starters in Falcone, catcher Natalie Bagby and third baseman Lauren Swihart.

"Our seniors did a great job of leading in both practices and in games," Francisco said.

Seven players who started multiple games are expected to return including juniors Caitie Kilbaine (3B) and Brittany Weber (1B), sophomore Sarah Lawrence (CF) and freshmen Alli Rowland (P), Lisa Simmons (2B), Sami Dustman (LF) and Lilly Gresh (RF). Kilbaine hit four home runs. Rowland won 19 games as a starter, which is a program record for varsity pitching wins for a freshman.

"If everyone comes back and gets stronger we could be in for a good season," Francisco said. "But we've got to keep getting better because if you're not getting better, you're getting worse."

At a glance

•Record: 20-8 overall, 9-4 (third) in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Natalie Bagby, Alyssa Falcone and Lauren Swihart

•Key returnees: Caitie Kilbaine and Alli Rowland