Jack Staggs of the Whetstone baseball team takes off from third base as coach Tim Broskie looks on during a scrimmage against Johnstown on March 22. Staggs, a junior first baseman, is one of five returning starters for the Braves.

The Whetstone High School baseball team will be looking to extend its streak of City League championships to five this season.

The Whetstone High School baseball team will be looking to extend its streak of City League championships to five this season.

The Braves have returned five starters from last season, when they finished 20-7 overall, won the City League-North Division title and beat Briggs 8-6 in City League championship game.

According to 23rd-year coach Tim Broskie, Whetstone will need to develop pitching depth to continue the streak.

"We have a lot of players who can pitch," said Broskie, who entered the season 400-171 with the Braves. "None of them are dominating, but they all are very solid, although a lot of them lack varsity experience. We will have to throw strikes and hit spots, because we just don't have any dominant pitchers."

Seniors Nick Hall (4-1, 3.22 ERA in 37 innings) and Sam Price (2-4, 1 save, 3.43 ERA in 34 2/3 innings) are back after working the most innings for the Braves last season. Hall will play second base when not on the mound and Price will play shortstop. Both are returning starters.

Whetstone lost four key pitchers in 2015 graduates David Tucky (4-0, 1.69 ERA), David Stern (2-0, 3.32 ERA), Quentin Pruneau (4-1) and Eric Kavinsky (2-1), with all but Stern pitching 20-plus innings.

Pruneau (.435, 36 RBI, 31 runs scored) and Stern (.446, 17 RBI, 28 runs scored) both were named first-team all-league. Stern also was honorable mention all-district.

The Braves, who opened March 26 with a 10-0 win over Marion-Franklin, spent their spring break this week in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where they were scheduled to play four games. They open league play Monday, April 4, at home against East.

Whetstone and Centennial both went 11-1 in the City-North last season to tie for first, but the Braves defeated the Stars 7-6 in a one-game playoff to determine which of the two teams would represent the City-North in the City championship game. The Braves then beat Briggs 8-6 to win their fourth consecutive City title.

Whetstone and Centennial split their regular league games last season. The Braves won the first matchup 7-5, but the Stars won the second 14-13 in eight innings to snap Whetstone's 59-game winning streak against City opponents.

Other returning starters are seniors Zach Barnum (3B) and Dexter Kowalski (CF/P) and junior Jack Staggs (1B).

Price (.446, 19 RBI, 31 runs scored, 32 stolen bases) and Barnum (.422, 28 RBI, 33 runs scored, 26 stolen bases) were first-team all-league, Hall (.379, 33 runs scored, 26 stolen bases) made second team and Kowalski (.373) was honorable mention.

Senior Luke Green-Lauber (OF/P) and juniors Connor Flanagan (3B/OF/P), Justin McDaniel (3B/P/DH), Michael Ray (INF/P) and Stan Russ (C/OF) are other returning letterwinners.

Also on the team are sophomores Cameron Bragg (OF), Seth Bragg (OF/P), Taevion Brooks (OF), Jared Brown (2B/OF), Evan Cossin (DH/OF), Jacob Hochstetler (C/P), Davis Kleen (OF/P) and Quinn Tuttle (OF) and freshmen Jeffrey Golding (1B/P) and Jacob Price (INF/P).

Young softball team has experience

The softball team has returned its entire starting lineup from last season, when it finished 12-13 overall and went 12-2 in the City-North to place second to Centennial (13-0).

The Braves lost just one player from a year ago to graduation and have only one senior this season in center fielder Ila Boley.

"With such a young team, we have several challenges," said 10th-year coach Larry Peck, whose team opens Thursday, March 31, at home against Reynoldsburg. "We will need to understand the team concept and we are working on becoming 'best teammates forever.'

"We will need to be much stronger on defense and we need to work hard on fundamentals to prevent teams from getting extra outs. Finally, we need some consistent hitters to emerge to support (junior) Bailey (Waitkus). I am seeing some potential there, but they are young."

Waitkus (P/SS) batted .437 with 25 runs scored, 19 RBI and a .620 slugging percentage last season and was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Boley (CF) hit .370 with 21 runs scored and made first-team all-league.

"Waitkus and Boley have strong work ethics and are very committed to achieving a degree of excellence and success," said Peck, whose team opens league play Monday, April 4, at East. "Our greatest strength will be our versatility. Many of the girls can play multiple positions, which will allow me to juggle and adjust lineups throughout the year. We also should be a very fast team, and I am hoping we will be very aggressive in terms of baserunning."

Junior catcher Savannah Stuver, who batted .328, and junior first baseman Gwyn Armstrong, who hit .327 with two home runs and 21 runs scored, both made second-team all-league last season, while sophomore Heaven McWilliams (LF/3B) batted .390 with 18 RBI and was honorable mention all-league.

Sophomore Maeve Proto-Newton (2B) and juniors Deziray Segovia (2B) and Chelsea Harper (utility) also could see time in the circle.

Others vying for starting positions are juniors Lexi Spiropoulos (1B/2B), sophomore Kate Sperry (C/2B/3B) and freshmen Taylor Castle (SS/OF), Roz Hannah (SS/2B), Jolie Mason (1B/OF) and Gabby Thiede (OF).

Also looking to contribute are juniors Rahma Abdullahi, Sarah Alsaidi and Ally McKeel and sophomores Rosa Badillo, Kellie Rodriguez and Abbi Swank, although Peck wasn't certain of their positions.

Schedules

BASEBALL

March 26 -- at Deatsville (Ala.) Holtville (DH)

March 31 -- Pickerington Central at V.A. Memorial Stadium

April 2 -- at Watkins Memorial with Teays Valley

*April 4 -- at Thomas Worthington

*April 6 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*April 8 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*April 11 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*April 13 -- vs. Central Crossing

*April 15 -- at Central Crossing

April 16 -- vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius and Grove City

*April 18 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*April 20 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

*April 22 -- vs. Marysville

April 23 -- vs. Hilliard Darby and New Concord John Glenn

*April 25 -- at Marysville

*April 27 -- at Westland

April 28 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 29 -- vs. Westland

April 30 -- vs. Pickerington North

*May 2 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*May 4 -- at Dublin Coffman

May 7 -- Defiance at Defiance College

May 7 -- at Bryan

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

March 29 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

April 1 -- vs. North Union

*April 5 -- at Hilliard Darby

*April 7 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 12 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

April 13 -- vs. Olentangy

*April 14 -- at Thomas Worthington

April 15 -- at Dublin Scioto

April 18 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*April 19 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

*April 21 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

April 23 -- vs. Cincinnati Oak Hills and Gahanna

*April 26 -- at Hilliard Bradley

*April 28 -- at Dublin Coffman

April 29 -- at St. Charles

*May 3 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*May 5 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*League contest

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

BOYS LACROSSE

March 31 -- Home vs. St. Louis Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day

*April 6 -- At Hilliard Davidson

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 1 -- Home vs. Park Ridge (Ill.) Maine South

*April 5 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington

BOYS TENNIS

*March 31 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman

*April 5 -- At Thomas Worthington

*League contest