The Whetstone High School baseball team is hoping the beat goes on this season.

The Braves return six all-league players from last season when they finished 20-9 overall and won their sixth consecutive City League championship.

"We return three really good hitters and three pitchers who have big-game experience and a lot of innings under their belt," said 25th-year coach Tim Broskie, who entered the season with a 444-194 career record. "We should be very versatile this season, with a number of players who can play a number of positions without any major dropoff.

"Our first goal will be to continue our record run of City League championships and I have every reason to believe that this group can do that, if they play to their potential."

Whetstone extended its City championship run last season by beating Briggs 2-0 in the title game after going 10-2 in the City League-North Division to tie Centennial for first place. The Braves advanced to the title game by beating the Stars 5-4 in a playoff game.

Under Broskie, Whetstone has won 12 City championships and 15 City-North titles and has a 306-42 league record.

Before the Braves' City championship streak, the longest run of league titles was four, shared by East (1902-05) and West (1942-45).

"The amazing thing about the streak is that all six championships have had a different starting and winning pitcher, which shows the development and depth we usually have," said Broskie, whose team opened March 26 with a league game at East.

If the Braves extend their streak, they will have a seventh pitcher starting on the mound, as 2017 graduate Seth Bragg threw a no-hitter in last year's championship game.

Returning after earning all-league honors last year are seniors Cameron Bragg (CF), Evan Cossin (C), Dalton Daugherty (LF), Jacob Hochstetler (3B) and Davis Kleen (OF/P) and junior Jacob Price (SS/3B/P).

Last season, Bragg batted .421 with 26 runs scored, 14 RBI, 19 walks and 33 stolen bases, Hochstetler hit .421 with 24 runs, 19 RBI and 15 stolen bases despite missing the last eight games with an injury and Cossin batted .286 with 15 runs and 17 RBI and threw out 16 baserunners attempting to steal. All three were first-team all-league.

Daugherty (.380, 19 runs, 19 RBI, 13 stolen bases) and Kleen (4-2 in seven starts, 2.27 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 37 innings) were second-team all-league and Price (3-1, 1 save, 2.37 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings) was honorable mention.

"Jacob Hochstetler, Cameron Bragg and Dalton Daugherty have a ton of varsity experience and should be good hitters again this year," Broskie said. "The rest of the hitters are all solid but need to continue to get better and improve in situational hitting."

Also returning are senior Quinn Blosser (OF) and junior Jeffery Golding (1B/P/OF).

Newcomers include junior Tyler Coleman (P/INF), sophomores Spencer Ball (OF/P), Johnny Kincaid (OF), Ben Paugh (3B/SS/P), Aidan Stephens (1B/P/OF) and Alex Timmons (1B/P/OF) and freshman Dominic Panzo (C/P).

"Davis Kleen, Jeffery Golding and Jacob Price should lead us on the mound and the three sophomore pitchers -- Paugh, Timmons and Stephens -- have the capability of being very good and special," Broskie said. "I like the makeup of this team, but we have to continue to get better.

"We have always been a small-ball team, but last year for some reason we really struggled in that area. We really need to do a better job of bunting. Once we get the bunts down, it just always seems to ignite us. We also really need to do a better job this season of scoring runs with runners on base and less than two outs."

Softball team seeks to fill infield spots

The softball team must replace most of last year's starting infield after finishing 18-8 overall and 13-1 in the City-North to share the league title with Centennial.

The Braves lost to the Stars 7-6 in a playoff game to miss advancing to the City championship game.

"We lost starters everywhere in the infield with (2017 graduates) Lexi Spiropoulos at first base, Deziray Segovia at second base, Gwyn Armstrong at third base, Bailey Waitkus at pitcher and Jeena Snyder and Savannah Stuver at catcher," 12th-year coach Larry Peck said. "Those girls were also our top hitters.

"We are extremely young and could have three or four freshmen in the (starting) lineup. I will say that I like our versatility as many of these girls can play multiple positions."

Among the returnees are senior Heaven McWilliams (OF/C), juniors Roz Hannah (SS), Jolie Mason (1B/OF) and Gabby Thiede (2B) and sophomores Lauren Armstrong (1B/OF), Dahlia Kleen (3B/OF) and Anna Mary Absalom (P).

In addition, senior Maeve Proto-Newton (P) returns after sitting out last year.

"I expect Heaven, Roz, Jolie, Anna Mary and Dahlia to lead us in hitting and Maeve was a solid hitter two years ago, so she should be OK after shaking off some rust," Peck said.

Newcomers include sophomores Abby Allen (C) and Kassidy Keegan (C) and freshmen Grace Briegle (SS/OF/C), Sadie Hannah (2B/SS/3B/OF/P), Meghan Harrison (OF/P) and Amelia Morris (OF).

"Obviously, most of the girls returning will be in new positions this year and we will need some of our freshmen to become acclimated to high school pitching quickly," said Peck, whose team opened March 26 with a league game at East. "They all show great potential and will be very solid players, but at this point, it's a matter of how quickly they become very solid.

"Our team speed is good, which should help us defensively. We need to minimize errors and throw strikes and we are going to have to figure out who gives us the best look defensively at catcher. I think our speed will definitely help us offensively, but we still have to be smart in trying to take extra bases."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

BASEBALL

*March 26 -- at East

*March 28 -- at Mifflin

March 29 -- at Walnut Ridge

March 31 -- Russell Springs (Ky.) Russell County and Clifton Springs (N.Y.) Midlakes at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

April 2 -- Middlesboro (Ky.) and Ashland (Ky.) Paul Blazer at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach

April 3 -- Louisa (Ky.) Lawrence County at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach

April 5 -- at Ready

*April 9 -- vs. Northland

*April 11 -- at Beechcroft

April 12 -- at Columbus Academy

*April 16 -- vs. Linden-McKinley

April 17 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy

*April 18 -- vs. Centennial

*April 20 -- vs. East

April 21 -- at London with Buckeye Valley

*April 23 -- vs. Mifflin

*April 25 -- at Northland

*April 27 -- vs. Beechcroft

April 28 -- at Galion Northmor with Northridge

*May 2 -- at Linden-McKinley

*May 3 -- at Centennial

SOFTBALL

*March 26 -- at East

March 27 -- at Bexley

*March 28 -- at Mifflin

March 29 -- vs. Franklin Heights

April 4 -- at Centerburg

April 5 -- at Grandview

April 7 -- at Hamilton Township (DH)

*April 9 -- vs. Northland

*April 11 -- at Beechcroft

April 12 -- vs. Fairfield Christian

*April 13 -- at International

*April 16 -- vs. Linden-McKinley

April 17 -- at Dublin Scioto

*April 18 -- vs. Centennial

*April 20 -- vs. East

*April 23 -- vs. Mifflin

April 24 -- at Big Walnut

*April 25 -- at Northland

*April 27 -- vs. Beechcroft

April 28 -- at Worthington Kilbourne (DH)

*April 30 -- vs. International

*May 2 -- at Linden-McKinley

*May 3 -- at Centennial

*League contest

Below is the coming schedule for the Whetstone boys volleyball team:

March 29 -- At Eastmoor Academy