Worthington Kilbourne High School softball coach Bob Lee had seen it happen before. He couldn't remember the exact season, but he hadn't forgotten the Wolves' winning streak that put them in a Division I district final.

Worthington Kilbourne High School softball coach Bob Lee had seen it happen before. He couldn't remember the exact season, but he hadn't forgotten the Wolves' winning streak that put them in a Division I district final.

He made sure this year's young team heard the story because those players, too, entered the postseason with a record near the .500 mark and nothing to lose.

"We talked about how the tournament could be a breath of fresh air and how it could be rewarding for a team who's hot and confident," Lee said. "The girls knew it was a wide-open new season. It was like, what they heck, let's see what we can do here."

Everything seemed to fall in place, from pitching to defense and hitting.

It enabled Kilbourne to pull off the biggest upset of the Division I district tournament as the Wolves shocked second-seeded Marysville 7-2 on May 19 in a semifinal at Pickerington Central.

The Wolves then took a 2-0 lead in the third inning against 13th-seeded Gahanna in a district final May 21, but the Lions scored four times in the sixth to take the championship with a 4-2 victory.

Kilbourne finished 14-13 overall, with other postseason victories over Lancaster 3-2 on May 12 and Watkins Memorial 6-0 on May 14.

"I thought we finished the season well, being a runner-up and considered one of the top six teams in this area," Lee said. "But we really wanted to win it all. Our defense was strong and hitting came on, but team chemistry really came along."

Lee regularly played as many as four freshmen, which made for a slow start.

At one point, the Wolves were 2-7 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division as coaches tried to find the right lineup.

Kilbourne at 5-5 in the league tied Mount Vernon for third place behind Westerville South (9-1) and Pickerington Central (7-3) and ahead of Dublin Jerome (2-8) and Olentangy (2-8).

"We had a number of girls who we were moving back and forth," Lee said. "Once the girls settled into their positions and Alexis Williams won the catching spot, that really helped us. About midway through the season we told the freshmen that they were no longer freshmen and I think they started believing in that concept."

Freshmen Jill Brandenburg and Lauren Rossi made significant contributions as starters. Brandenburg was 4-5 with a 4.10 ERA and 71 strikeouts during the regular season. Rossi, a second-team all-league outfielder, batted .306 with five RBI.

They're expected to return next season along with Jordan Brown and Taylor Lincicome, who were honorable mention all-league, Kelsey Koke, Noa Saunders and Williams.

Five seniors -- Chelsea Luttrell, Tara Montenaro, Maggie Novack, Jordan Strohl and Bryn Wilson -- were among the top offensive producers. Strohl (.320, 19 RBI), Wilson (.387), Brown (.271) and Luttrell (.270, 10 RBI) were among the top hitters. Luttrell was first-team all-OCC.

Montenaro (second-team all-league) was 7-7 during the regular season with a 2.33 ERA and 59 strikeouts as the top pitcher.

"Chelsea and Tara are very positive people and very team-oriented people," Lee said.

"I remember moving Chelsea to third and she said, 'Coach, I don't like it, but I'll play it.' Tara always wanted to hit, but we'd always used a (designated hitter) for her and she never complained. They showed how you do what's best for the team."

At a glance

•Record: 14-13 overall, 5-5 (tied for third) in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Chelsea Luttrell, Tara Montenaro, Maggie Novack, Jordan Strohl and Bryn Wilson

•Key returnees: Jill Brandenburg, Jordan Brown, Kelsey Koke, Taylor Lincicome, Lauren Rossi, Noa Saunders and Alexis Williams