The Bexley High School softball team had only one senior -- Rachel Dingman -- and expected a rebuilding season.

The Bexley High School softball team had only one senior -- Rachel Dingman -- and expected a rebuilding season.

With five times as many freshmen as seniors, that's exactly what the Lions got. They lost to fifth-seeded Whitehall 3-0 on May 14 in the first round of the Division II district tournament to finish 2-21 overall, having lost their last 15 games. They also went 0-12 in the MSL-Ohio Division to finish last behind champion Lakewood (11-1).

"It wasn't a great season, but I think we improved a lot," junior Molly Morgan said.

In 2004, coach Bridget Ebenhack's first season, the Lions had only one senior and went 7-14. The next year Bexley won 13 games and advanced to a district final.

"Hopefully we'll be able to come in at the start with a more advanced group," Ebenhack said of next season. "With five freshmen there was a lot of learning in the beginning. We'll be able to come in and not have to teach some of the elementary things."

Of the 13 letterwinners expected back, eight were starters. Morgan was the top pitcher and in 111 innings had nearly three times as many strikeouts as walks.

The top two hitters, Jenna Brannan (.260) and Lauren Farley (.230) are also juniors.

Sophomore center-fielder Bess Schieber had 35 putouts and two outfield assists.

Rachel Hart should return to play first base with freshman Chelsea Gordo expected back at second. Bexley would like for sophomore Lily Watson to move from catcher to shortstop, so finding a catcher will be a priority.

The top five spots in the batting order should remain unchanged.

"It's a talented group," Ebenhack said. "If they get even a little bit of confidence we should be able to have a much better season next year."

Bexley plans to field teams for fall and winter leagues, something which did not happen last year. Morgan, who plays travel ball in the summer, said she thinks the pieces are in place for a run like the program had in 2005.

"We definitely have the potential to be good," she said. "We were a real young team and we learned a lot about how to play together. We've got the team mentality, it just didn't show on the field."

At a glance

•Record: 2-21 overall, 0-12 (seventh) in MSL-Ohio

•Seniors lost: Rachel Dingman

•Key returnees: Jenna Brannan, Lauren Farley, Chelsea Gordo, Rachel Hart, Molly Morgan, Bess Schieber and Lily Watson