Following a season in which underclassmen filled its lineup and wins were difficult to come by, the Wellington School baseball team spent the offseason trying to mature in numerous ways.

The Jaguars, according to 13th-year coach Craig Jones, "became mentally and physically fatigued" in the middle of some games last season.

"We're determined to improve on last year's 4-14 season," Jones said. "Competing for a full seven innings is key for us. Many of the players spent the fall and winter improving their physical and mental toughness (and) we (saw) improvements (during the) preseason."

Wellington, which played a pair of scrimmages on a preseason trip to Florida in late March, had its March 29 opener at Liberty Christian postponed. Then on March 31, the Jaguars traveled to London and lost to Northland 15-2 and to the host Red Raiders 6-2.

On April 2, the Jaguars beat Harvest Prep 16-1 in the first MSL-Cardinal Division game in program history. Wellington, which previously competed as an independent, is one of eight teams in the league.

"A lot of guys have been putting in a lot of work during the offseason and I think we can do really well this year," said Trevor McCraw, who is part of a six-member junior class. "We had a lot of new guys last year."

McCraw (P/C/INF) batted .378 with a team-best 12 RBI last season. He also was 1-3 while leading the Jaguars with a 3.91 ERA.

Ian Frim (CF/INF/P), Andrew Haraburda (OF/P), Ryan Ouellette (P/1B/OF) and William Roy (INF/DH) are other key juniors. Ouellette had nine RBI and went 2-4 on the mound last season.

Malcolm Banks (OF/utility) and Max Wing (OF/C/P) are key returning members of a senior class that also features Luke Flynn (INF/OF) and Adam Teller (INF).

Sophomore Josh Wooddell (INF/P) is another key returnee.

Also looking to contribute are junior Jack Haney (1B/OF/ P), sophomores Vince Hall (utility) and Ryan Ray (INF/C) and freshmen Ryan O'Sullivan (utility), Declan Unverferth (utility/OF) and Scout Zaas (1B/OF/P). Haney and Zaas are left-handed.

"This is our first year competing in league play," Jones said. "While the division includes some of the top teams in Division IV, we're confident that we'll be a competitive addition to the league. This is a mature team with 11 out of 15 players returning and most of them saw significant innings last season. All of our starting pitchers are returning."

Softball team hopes to contend for title

After previously competing as an independent, the softball team isn't planning to be overwhelmed as MSL-Cardinal competition heats up.

The Jaguars were scheduled to open March 29 against Fairfield Christian in a league game but the game was postponed. They then lost to Harvest Prep 12-8 on April 2 before playing Grove City Christian on April 3 in MSL-Cardinal action.

"I'm excited about this season and these girls," seventh-year coach Me-Chelle Burkhalter said.

"We're entering into the MSL, and I believe that we will be a force that teams will have to recognize. Our goals include an all-out battle for the MSL title and districts."

The Jaguars went 8-7 last season but 23 of 26 players were freshmen or sophomores.

Senior Jakaysha Williams (LF) and juniors Aquila Simmons (C/1B), Camille Simpson (P/1B) and Soleil Tibbets-Barnes (CF) are the top players.

Junior Sophie Haskett (3B) and sophomores Rosemary Haskett (SS), Lexi Horan (2B) and Megan Leino (OF/C) are other key returnees.

Freshmen Lu Godfrey (INF/OF), Angelina Grohovsky (C/INF) and Lola Perez (INF) are expected to make an immediate impact.

Also on the roster are seniors Meghana Menta (OF) and Isabella Reardon-Ramos (OF), juniors Shaina Belford (OF), Jaedyn Gaines (OF), Megan Johnson (INF), Rose Nandor (INF), Skyler Perry (OF) and Veronica Poster (INF), sophomores Emma Bond (3B) and Kate Hans (P) and freshmen Sydney Belford (2B/C) and Taylor Vargo (INF).

The Jaguars also played scrimmages in Florida in late March.

"The team-building and growth opportunities were phenomenal," Burkhalter said. "We practiced and scrimmaged while in Orlando. It was a wonderful experience and will help our development tremendously."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

BASEBALL

March 31 -- at London with Northland

*April 2 -- vs. Harvest Prep

*April 3 -- at Grove City Christian

April 4 -- vs. Ready

*April 6 -- vs. Millersport

April 7 -- vs. Morral Ridgedale (DH)

*April 9 -- vs. Fisher Catholic

*April 11 -- vs. Zanesville Rosecrans

*April 13 -- vs. Berne Union

April 14 -- vs. Mount Gilead (DH)

*April 16 -- vs. Fairfield Christian

*April 18 -- at Harvest Prep

*April 20 -- vs. Grove City Christian

April 21 -- vs. Columbus East (DH)

*April 23 -- at Millersport

*April 24 -- vs. Fairfield Christian

*April 25 -- at Fisher Catholic

*April 27 -- at Zanesville Rosecrans

April 28 -- vs. Danville (DH)

*April 30 -- at Berne Union

May 3 -- at Utica

SOFTBALL

*March 29 -- vs. Fairfield Christian

*April 2 -- vs. Harvest Prep

*April 3 -- at Grove City Christian

*April 6 -- vs. Millersport

*April 9 -- at Fisher Catholic

April 10 -- vs. Walnut Ridge

April 12 -- vs. Tree of Life

*April 13 -- vs. Berne Union

April 14 -- at Gahanna Christian

*April 16 -- at Fairfield Christian

April 17 -- vs. Gahanna Christian

*April 18 -- at Harvest Prep

*April 20 -- vs. Grove City Christian

*April 23 -- at Millersport

*April 25 -- vs. Fisher Catholic

April2 6 -- vs. Granville Christian

April 27 -- at Tree of Life

April 28 -- vs. Shekinah Christian

*April 30 -- at Berne Union

May 1 -- vs. Delaware Christian

May 3 -- at Walnut Ridge

May 7 -- vs. Cristo Rey

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Wellington boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and boys tennis teams:

BOYS LACROSSE

April 10 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder

GIRLS LACROSSE

*April 10 -- Home vs. Hartley

BOYS TENNIS

*April 10 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian

*League contest