After losing five players to graduation and having another key player transfer, the Worthington Christian High School baseball team is being led by its sophomore and junior classes.

The overall youth, though, might not be a bad thing.

"I think the fact that we're young makes them a coachable group," 14th-year coach Tim Kraynak said. "We have some upside."

The Warriors were 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before facing Grove City Christian on April 12. They opened league play with an 8-2 win over London on April 3 and beat Grandview 6-1 on April 5.

The only senior is Ry Nicholson (OF), who is new to the team.

Juniors Matt McCoy and Michael Rettstatt and sophomore Nathan Sewall are among the top pitchers, and all three also are corner infielders.

Juniors Grant Burt (2B), Josh Demarco (P/CF) and Danny Myers (C/RF) and sophomore Derek Fabian (C/P/3B/SS) are other key returnees.

Junior Alex Pope (OF), sophomore Nathaniel Elliott (LF/P) and freshmen Cooper Crawford (P/1B/SS/3B) and Jack Lockhart (P/2B/OF) are others who are looking to contribute.

Junior Conner Crawford (SS/P) is a transfer from Westerville North who must sit out the first 13 games because of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's transfer rule.

"We have fairly decent depth in our pitching staff," Kraynak said. "We have a lot of moving parts with guys who can play two spots."

Tennis team has
deeper talent pool

Not only does the boys tennis team have 11 returnees, but it also has added 11 players to its program.

Among the returnees are seniors Ben Kindberg and Chris Tsibouris. Both played singles most of last season before teaming up to reach the Division II district tournament, where they lost in the first round in doubles.

Worthington Christian opened April 4 by beating London 5-0 and had a match April 6 against Grandview postponed because of bad weather.

"We have a strong team this year, with a lot of new faces," fourth-year coach Justin Bays said. "Many of (the new players are) freshmen who will see some varsity playing time during this season, as well as some seniors who haven't played in a few years who will also see some time on varsity."

The other returnees who competed in the postseason last year are juniors Isaac Deskins and AjAi Smith, both of whom played doubles at sectional, and junior Cam Glassburn, who played singles.

The other senior returnees are Sam Homoelle and Cameron Prior.

Freshmen Tommy Robinson and Peter Tsibouris should be key players, according to Bays.

Other freshmen include Benjy Homoelle and Aaron Pettit.

Softball team
excited about season

In Matt Heidorn's first season as coach last spring, the softball team doubled its win total and reached a Division III district semifinal.

The Warriors have returned nearly their entire lineup after finishing 20-7 last season, including senior pitcher Ava Heidorn, the coach's daughter who was named first-team all-district a year ago.

The biggest potential obstacle could be the team's depth, or lack thereof. There are only 10 players in the program.

Worthington Christian was 4-2 after beating London 8-7 on April 3 in its MSL-Ohio Division opener and Grove City Christian 18-0 on April 8. Heidorn struck out 11 and tossed a no-hitter against Grove City Christian.

"We graduated our left fielder and our first baseman, but everyone else is back," coach Heidorn said. "We've got no depth with only 10 players. We've upgraded our schedule a lot this year."

Ava Heidorn, who has committed to play for the University of Louisiana Monroe, had 190 strikeouts, won a program-record 19 games and set the program record for RBI in a season with 44 last year while batting .474.

The other seniors are Breanna Abel (C), Kara Godsey (SS) and Lynsey Meeks (3B). Meeks, a James Madison commit, was named MSL-Ohio Player of the Year and set program records for home runs (6), runs scored (48), walks (28), doubles (11), triples (6) and on-base percentage (.728) last season.

The other returnees are juniors Caroline Cole (2B), Emma McIntosh (1B) and Avery Thompson (RF) and sophomores Sophia Hevel (LF) and Kate Tomallo (CF).

Freshman Natalie Opava (3B/OF) rounds out the roster.

Depth a strength
for track teams

Having 92 combined athletes, the boys and girls track and field teams should rival many Division III programs in terms of depth.

"We might have close to one-third of the school out for track," third-year coach Rod Zody said. "There's strength in numbers."

Junior Jordan Jackson is the top returnee for a boys team that is coming off an MSL-Ohio title. In the state meet last season, he finished sixth in the 400 meters (49.32 seconds) and was on the 1,600 relay that placed fourth (3:23.31). The relay also included junior Kyle Smith.

Other key sprinters include seniors Jacob Kuts, Emerson Patrick, Kyle Sanders, Alex Tucker, Reed Tucker, Jayden Turner and Isaac Wilson, junior Ethan Crary and sophomore Kanyin Olapejo-Lawal.

Senior Sammy Myers is the top hurdler.

Senior Jonathan Davis and junior Jake Bertelsen lead a distance and middle-distance corps that also includes senior John Billy, junior Luke Smith and sophomore Taylor Vallangeon.

Other key athletes include seniors Coty Michael and Ben Morrow, juniors Grant Mudge and Seth Parsell and sophomore Luke Sharp in the throwing events, Reed Tucker and sophomore Grant Ostermyer in the long jump and junior Collin Kimbrough in the high jump.

Senior Bridgette Rettstatt, who placed third at state in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches) last year after finishing fourth as a sophomore, is the top returnee for the girls team.

Juniors Emily Hall and Emma Kasich both ran on the 400 relay that finished 11th (51.32) and on the 800 relay that was 11th (1:47.69) at state last year.

The other seniors are Sarah Foor and Olivia Sciulli in the sprints and Katie Smith in the throws.

Other key athletes include juniors Jennifer Davis (middle distance), Alex Evans (sprints, middle distance), Jenna Lake (hurdles, high jump) and Ellie Myers (sprints, middle distance), sophomores Shantel Cox (middle distance) and Caroline Mouse (sprints, middle distance) and freshmen Grace Chong (sprints, hurdles), Maiya Davis (throws), Ashley Hall (sprints), Mianna Hartings (sprints), Ayannah Mabry (throws) and Madelyn Patrick (middle distance).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

BASEBALL

March 27 -- Winnetka (Ill.) North Shore Country Day at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

March 28 -- Elgin (Ill.) at Ripken Experience

March 29 -- Kingsport (Tenn.) Sullivan North at Ripken Experience

March 30 -- Queensbury (N.Y.) at Ripken Experience

March 31 -- North Shore Country Day in Myrtle Beach

*April 3 -- at London

April 4 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy

*April 5 -- vs. Grandview

April 6 -- vs. Fairfield Union

*April 7 -- at Columbus Academy

April 8 -- vs. Shekinah Christian (DH)

April 10 -- vs. Madison Christian

April 12 -- vs. Grove City Christian

April 13 -- vs. Fairbanks

April 15 -- vs. Madison Plains (DH)

*April 17 -- at Whitehall

*April 18 -- vs. Bexley

*April 19 -- vs. West Jefferson

April 22 -- vs. Wellington (DH)

*April 24 -- at Grandview

*April 26 -- vs. Columbus Academy

*April 28 -- at Bexley

May 1 -- vs. Galion Northmor

*May 2 -- at London

*May 3 -- vs. Whitehall

*May 5 -- at West Jefferson

SOFTBALL

March 27 -- Rome (Pa.) Northeast Bradford at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

March 28 -- Baxter (Ky.) Harlan County at Ripken Experience

March 31 -- Tallmadge at Ripken Experience

April 1 -- Sharpsville (Pa.) at Ripken Experience

*April 3 -- at London

*April 5 -- vs. Grandview

April 6 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

April 8 -- vs. Grove City Christian

April 11 -- at Ready

April 13 -- at North Union

*April 15 -- vs. Bexley

*April 17 -- at Whitehall

April 18 -- at Briggs

*April 19 -- vs. West Jefferson

April 20 -- vs. Liberty Union

*April 21 -- vs. London

*April 24 -- at Grandview

April 25 -- at Thomas Worthington

April 27 -- vs. Johnstown

*April 28 -- at Bexley

April 29 -- vs. Watterson

May 2 -- vs. Fairfield Christian

*May 3 -- vs. Whitehall

May 4 -- vs. Fredericktown

*May 5 -- at West Jefferson

BOYS TENNIS

*April 4 -- vs. London

*April 6 -- at Grandview

*April 12 -- vs. Columbus Academy

*April 13 -- at Bexley

April 17 -- vs. Village Academy

April 18 -- vs. Columbus West

*April 20 -- vs. Whitehall

April 21 -- vs. Marysville

*April 25 -- vs. West Jefferson

April 27 -- vs. Granville

April 29 -- MSL tournament at TBA

May 1 -- at Buckeye Valley

May 5 -- vs. Big Walnut

May 8 -- vs. DeSales

TRACK & FIELD

April 3 -- vs. Columbus Academy, Grandview, Newark Catholic and Northside Christian

April 7 -- at Buckeye Valley

April 18 -- at Westerville Central

April 21 -- Pat McMillan Invitational at Whitehall

April 22 -- Bloom-Carroll Invitational

April 24 -- vs. Fairbanks, Horizon Science, Northside Christian and Sparta Highland

April 28 -- Olentangy Invitational

May 2 -- at Olentangy Liberty

May 9 -- at Whitehall

May 12 -- MSL meet at Whitehall

*League contest