The outlook for the Worthington Kilbourne High School baseball team is far from perfect as last year's OCC-Cardinal Division co-champion looks to replace a number of veterans.

The outlook for the Worthington Kilbourne High School baseball team is far from perfect as last year's OCC-Cardinal Division co-champion looks to replace a number of veterans.

Still, coach Mario Paliotto doesn't appear to be in a panic, considering the Wolves might have one of the deepest pitching staffs in the district.

"We feel like we've got about six guys who can contribute this year, and with our league we're going to need them," he said. "We're going to be playing three league games a week, and with doubleheaders on some Saturdays it's going to make it tough."

Kilbourne, which finished 19-8 overall a year ago, moves to the OCC-Central, a division that's loaded with winning programs in Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Davidson, Hilliard Darby and Upper Arlington.

Last year, the fourth-seeded Wolves shared the OCC-Cardinal championship with Pickerington Central at 7-3, ahead of Dublin Jerome (4-6), Westerville South (4-6), Mount Vernon (4-6) and Olentangy (4-6).

A 5-4 loss to Dublin Scioto in 11 innings in the tournament opener ended the season.

It was an offensive struggle during the final three weeks of the season as Kilbourne batted .279 as a team.

"Pitching is what carried us last year, and I think that's going to be our strong point this year," said senior first baseman Mike Johnson, who's recovering from a football injury to his right knee.

The statistics are hard to argue. Senior Aaron Kingcade (first-team all-league, second-team all-district) was 5-2 with a 1.08 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. Kilbourne must replace graduate Kyle Lindquist (6-1, 2.38 ERA, 64 strikeouts, 53 innings), a first-team all-league and first-team all-district selection. The addition of coach Paliotto's son, Marck, should help. Marck, an Ohio University recruit and Watterson transfer, is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and left-handed. At Watterson he was a three-year letterwinner and last year led the team in innings pitched and strikeouts as he was second-team all-CCL.

"Before he decided to come over to Kilbourne, I think we had a solid lineup," Kingcade said. "With him, it's just a bonus. Now we have four solid pitchers throwing in the 80s. He's a tall lefty with some tail on the ball."

Others expected to see a number of innings include seniors Chris Gall, who missed much of last season with an injury, and Chris Jarvis and sophomore Dan Eurich.

Kingcade also returns as the team's top hitter (.378, 10 doubles, three triples, 2 home runs, 22 RBI). Johnson hit .272 with seven doubles and 10 RBI.

Coach Paliotto will be counting on seniors Gage Daniel (C), Jack Lawson (OF) and Ryan Erwin (DH), junior John Jacob (SS) and sophomore Will Meador (2B) to help fill out his lineup.

"This is the first year in a long time that we have a good mixture of youth and experience," he said. "It probably goes back to 2006. We had some sophomores that started for us with that group and this year it'll be the same way along with some juniors."

That was the last year the Wolves won a district title.