Despite having a 10-member senior class that included a major college signee, the Hartley High School baseball team didn't have the type of success it had anticipated last season.
The motivation from a 12-12 overall finish that included a second-round Division II district tournament loss, combined with what third-year coach Chris Sawyer believes is a youthful exuberance, has created a positive atmosphere as the Hawks seek to reach the same level of success as their 2016 and 2015 squads.
Hartley was a Division III district runner-up in 2015 and then went 19-10 in 2016 when it reached a Division II district semifinal.
"A lot of young players are stepping up big," senior first baseman Luke Rawlins said. "Last year, we lost in the second round of the playoffs, so this year we hope we can make it at least to district, win the CCL and have a great overall season."
Rawlins is among the top returnees after hitting .423 with 13 RBI last season.
Senior Anthony Whitney (OF), juniors Phillip Cole (OF/2B/P), Jacob Culbertson (P/OF/1B), Thomas Mayhan (SS/P), Adam McVicker (OF/1B/P) and Josh Moore (2B/P) and sophomore Mason Sawyer (C/OF) also are key returnees.
Mayhan is in his third season as a starter.
Last season, Sawyer hit .338 with 11 RBI and Cole had 12 RBI, 17 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.
Culbertson went 2-3 on the mound last season and figures to take on the role of No. 1 starter for the Hawks, who opened March 26 at home against Bloom-Carroll and begin CCL play April 11 at home against Ready.
"Obviously, we were just a little disappointed (with last season)," said coach Sawyer, whose team went 4-4 in the CCL last year to tie DeSales for third behind co-champions St. Charles and Watterson (both 6-2). "We had a tough schedule, but that's not an excuse. It was real up and down. This team's a little different. It's a real hard-working team and I'm real proud of our work ethic.
"We're a little younger and we'll be good. I just don't know how quickly. Hopefully, we'll keep building throughout the season, and if we can keep them working as hard as they are now, I feel really good about it."
Sophomore James Farrel is expected to play third base and freshman Jake Skelly likely will be the designated hitter.
Other key pitchers should include Moore and sophomore Matthew McElligott.
Also on the roster are seniors Peyton Eads (INF/OF), Ryan Herbert (P/3B) and Frank Milliken (OF) and sophomores Kylan Kortokrax (3B/P) and Patrick Page (3B/1B).
The biggest loss to graduation was center fielder Jake Ruby, who is now playing for Ohio State.
"We have a lot of talented players," coach Sawyer said. "I don't know what that translates into. We've got a ton of kids. It's going to take some time. The two things we kind of build our team around is selfishness and relentless, just give effort all the team."
Girls lacrosse team to lean on seniors
There are 47 athletes in the girls lacrosse program, including 11 seniors.
The Hawks are hoping those positive numbers will create depth as well as more victories after finishing 7-10-1 overall last season.
Hartley opened March 22 with a 13-9 loss to Dublin Coffman. The Hawks begin Central Independent League play April 10 at Wellington and open CCL action April 17 at DeSales.
"We've got a big junior class and a big sophomore class," eighth-year coach Molly Gilbert said. "It's been going really well. We're in pretty good shape, we're pretty speedy and our stick skills are pretty good, so we should move and pass in transition pretty well. Our shooting's great and our stick skills on the attacking end are going to be good. We're going to be fast and have a very athletic midfield that's strong. We should be good all around."
Hartley endured an offseason setback when senior midfielder Maria Evans suffered a knee injury that likely will sideline her for the entire season. She scored 47 goals last season.
Expected to lead the way are seniors Abigail Bergman (midfielder), Taylour Golden (defender), Luci Kanowsky (attacker), Jordan Kaylor (defender), Hannah McFeeters (midfielder), Hannah Murphy (defender) and Killian Sweeney (attacker). McFeeters has committed to play for Walsh.
Sienna Caridi (midfielder) leads the junior class.
Freshmen Sydney Onega (midfielder) and Sidney Sheridan (goalkeeper) are expected to be immediate contributors, while sophomore Emma Ramsey enters the regular season as the No. 2 goalie.
Others looking to contribute include seniors Jennifer Eberly (defender), Rachel Hernon (attacker), Shelly McBrown (defender), Anna Nash (attacker) and Killian Sweeney (attacker), juniors Sienna Caridi (defender), Tommie Lipp (attacker), McKenna Maloney (midfielder), Sarah Oboy (defender) and Judy Zang (defender) and freshman Annie Reis (midfielder). Hernon has committed to Ohio Wesleyan.
Against Coffman, McFeeters and Kanowsky both scored three goals and Onega scored two while Sheridan made seven saves.
"We've fallen behind (in the CCL) the past couple years, but we hope to get back up there this year," Gilbert said. "There are some games we lost last year that I'm hoping to win or come a little closer in this season."
March 26 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll
March 27 -- vs. Bexley
March 28 -- vs. Whitehall
April 3 -- at Centennial
April 4 -- vs. Centennial
April 5 -- at Canal Winchester
April 7 -- at Columbus Academy (DH)
April 10 -- at Dublin Jerome
*April 11 -- vs. Ready
*April 13 -- vs. St. Charles
April 14 -- vs. Groveport (DH)
*April 18 -- at DeSales
*April 20 -- at Watterson
April 21 -- at Johnstown (DH)
*April 23 -- at Ready
April 24 -- vs. Hamilton Township
*April 25 -- at St. Charles
April 28 -- vs. Worthington Christian (DH)
*April 30 -- vs. DeSales
*May 2 -- vs. Watterson
May 3 -- at Pickerington North
May 5 -- vs. Granville
March 22 -- at Dublin Coffman
March 28 -- vs. Centennial
April 3 -- vs. Westerville Central
*April 10 -- at Wellington
*April 12 -- vs. Columbus Academy
April 14 -- vs. Cincinnati Wyoming
*April 17 -- at DeSales
*April 26 -- at Granville
April 27 -- at Olentangy Orange
April 30 -- at Whetstone
*May 1 -- vs. Bexley
*May 3 -- at Watterson
May 7 -- vs. Delaware
*May 10 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Below are the coming schedules for the Hartley softball and track & field teams:
April 3 -- At Reynoldsburg
April 4 -- At New Albany
TRACK & FIELD
March 31 -- Zuber Relays at Amanda-Clearcreek