There are many distractions for high school seniors this time of year.

There are many distractions for high school seniors this time of year.

Fortunately for Delaware Christian School softball coach Bill Ferrigno, his seniors have looked forward to this season for several years.

"With prom, graduation, a senior trip and making college plans, this is a real busy time for seniors and they can lose focus," Ferrigno said. "But we've got five seniors who have played together for years. They got run-ruled most games as freshmen and sophomores and have stuck it out.

"Even last year when we thought we'd have a breakout season, we never got in a flow with the bad weather. But right now, everything is going right and the seniors have stayed focused and led us."

The seniors - first baseman Wendy Ferrigno (coach's daughter), second baseman Sarah Harp, shortstop Haley Kirby, outfielder Jennah Malisiak and catcher Liz Roden - helped lead the Eagles to a 10-0 start. They were 8-0 in the MOCAL after defeating Grove City Christian 8-7 on April 19.

As good as the seniors have been, coach Ferrigno credits junior pitcher Jessica Kapraly for helping the Eagles turn things around after finishing 5-10 overall last season.

"She has really matured and all of her hard work is paying off," he said. "She's been a big asset and the team has rallied behind her. She fields her position well after letting the ball loose. What's most impressive is that she spends 30 minutes after the game trying to tweak something she may not have done well during the game. She is always looking to make corrections and her desire to improve is contagious."

Kapraly hits second behind Harp. Both are fast and run the bases well, setting the table for Roden, Kirby and Ferrigno.

Another newcomer, freshman third baseman Emily Cornelius, has been key to the strong start for the Eagles, who were ranked seventh in the Division IV area coaches poll when they beat sixth-ranked Tree of Life 7-5 on April 17.

"(Cornelius) is the only non-senior in the infield and she has been very, very good," coach Ferrigno said. "She's listening, adapting and learning, and she has a great arm. Plus, she's found her stick at the plate lately with triples in three (recent) games. Emily and (junior right fielder) Holly Bach are stepping up behind the seniors in the lineup."

The Eagles are trying to keep their focus in their quest for a league championship.

"We are keeping our vision short," coach Ferrigno said. "We aren't playing for a record or for a league championship in every game. We want to focus on one game.

"We want to focus on our basic skills and hope that if we concentrate on fielding, big sticks and aggressive baserunning on each and every play that at the end of the day that will give us a win for that day. Then we want to repeat that the next day."

Last season, the Eagles finished fourth (5-5) in the MOCAL behind Grove City Christian (9-0), Madison Christian (7-3) and Tree of Life (5-4).

"We've already beaten Grove City Christian and Madison Christian, which this group of girls hadn't done," coach Ferrigno said. "It's fun to see these girls confident. It's a different attitude, a totally different feeling."

•Athletics can teach life lessons, and the Eagles baseball team can attest to that.

Junior catcher Carl Stover broke a bone in his hand in the third game of the season, a 27-3 loss to Tree of Life on April 9. The Eagles had recruited two seniors and three freshmen to play for the first time just to boost the roster to 11 players and give them enough to field a team.

However, the only other player who had put on catcher's gear before was senior Jeffrey Copley, who also is the team's only true pitcher. Stover was honorable mention all-league last season and Copley was second team all-league.

"A lot of people told us we should just quit and give up the season," co-coach Sharon Copley said. "But I don't think that's fair to the young kids who are just gaining some experience. It's also not fair for the older guys who have experience and enjoy the game.

"The truth of the matter is it's tough on all of them to take the field knowing that they're going to play a lot of three-hour, five-inning games. Nobody likes getting beaten like that. But it's a life lesson. You persevere. There are things in life that are going to be a whole lot tougher than losing a game. You don't want to quit. You want to keep the team going and give the young guys a chance to learn and to improve so they won't be starting over from scratch again next year."

Delaware Christian postponed games against Fairfield Christian on April 12 and Madison Christian on April 13 because previous engagements left them with too few players.

Sophomore Matt Gray volunteered to catch when Copley pitches.

"I can't say enough about Matt Gray," coach Copley said. "He's been pitching and catching, and those are both new to him. He's so coachable and a good athlete with a lot of heart. Sophomore Matt Gessner is hitting much better than last season and senior Ryan Zinn is really hitting quite well.

"We're struggling defensively, so Jeffrey Copley is pushing himself to try to strike out a lot of guys. But he's also playing well and doing a good job catching."