The Thomas Worthington High School softball team entered this season not wanting to shake up too much of what had been working in the six seasons before Tom Gianas became coach.

The Thomas Worthington High School softball team entered this season not wanting to shake up too much of what had been working in the six seasons before Tom Gianas became coach.

During that time, Gianas was an assistant for former coach Joe Abraham and the Cardinals had the program's best success.

Gianas may not have wanted to shake things up much, especially with an infield that had returning letterwinners at every spot, but as the team struggled at the start of the year, a shake-up was in order.

Several defensive positions were shuffled and players new to the varsity were worked in the mix. With a little more than two weeks left in the season, the Cardinals started rolling.

"The young girls finally settled in and we finally decided what positions they were in," said Gianas, whose team finished 18-9 overall and 7-7 in the OCC-Central Division. "They knew their roles. We had a lot of stuff going on and I think we finally jelled."

They eventually lost to OCC-Central Division rival Dublin Coffman 5-2 in a Division I district semifinal May 17 at Pickerington Central. The strength of the OCC-Central turned out to be Thomas' undoing and five of the 13 teams in the Cardinals' district tournament bracket were OCC-Central teams.

"All the teams (that reached a district semifinal in the Pickerington 3 bracket) were from the OCC-Central and that says a lot," Gianas said. "We had eight losses this year (in the regular season), seven of them were against OCC-Central teams. We would have dominated anywhere until we got into the OCC-Central teams."

Thomas tied Westland for third in the OCC-Central, finishing behind Upper Arlington (13-1) and Hilliard Darby (11-3) and ahead of Central Crossing (5-8), Dublin Coffman (5-9) and Kilbourne (1-12).

Things started to click during a 1-0 win over Westland on April 29. Thomas scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning. After that the Cardinals started getting into the rematch portion of their league schedule and started winning games.

"We hadn't seen a pitcher liker (Westland's Brandi Rees) before," senior Gillian McCarthy said. "She was mainly an outside pitcher and, when the umpire is calling it, it's tough to hit. People adjusted and we strung that last run across."

The Cardinals won eight of their next nine games, primarily by adjusting to the pitchers in the league, McCarthy said.

In the district tournament, Thomas beat Independence 13-0 in the first round May 11. Three days later they won 2-1 over seventh-seeded Central Crossing, a team they lost to 3-2 in league play April 18 when they led 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Cardinals will lose six seniors in Alexis Allen, Jen Horton, McCarthy, Miriam Said, Paige Stewart and Sarah Stimpert.

Kim Morgason was the team's lone junior on the roster. She was an important cog, solidifying the catcher spot after starting the season at third base.

The rest of the returnees include sophomores Paige Conant, Sally Nichols and Kathleen Reid and freshmen Kenzi Hannum, Kim Hoerauf and Zoe Myers.

At a glance

•Record: 18-9 overall, 7-7 (tied for third) in OCC-Central

•Seniors lost: Alexis Allen, Jen Horton, Gillian McCarthy, Kayla McPeek, Miriam Said, Paige Stewart and Sarah Stimpert

•Key returnees: Kim Morgason and Sally Nichols