The Delaware Christian School softball team faces a difficult challenge in trying to match last year's success.

The Delaware Christian School softball team faces a difficult challenge in trying to match last year's success.

The Eagles lost four key players from a year ago, when they finished 15-11 overall, won the MOCAL championship and earned their first Division IV district title.

"We still feel like we can do some things," first-year coach Tom Morgan said. "We've got five returning starters, we've got good team speed and we have a tight-knit group of girls."

Returnees include seniors Emily Cornelius (SS) and Natalie Plotner (2B), juniors Brianna Kuykendall (LF) and Liz Sullivan (C) and sophomore Madie Morgan (1B/P), who is the coach's daughter.

Cornelius (.353 batting average, 10 runs, 15 RBI, 8 stolen bases) and Plotner (.329, 18 runs, 13 RBI) both were named first-team all-league last year. Sullivan (.283, 10 RBI) was honorable mention all-league.

Sullivan, who was an outfielder last season, has replaced Carmon Weldi behind the plate. Weldi was one of three starters from a year ago lost to graduation. The others were Katie Morgan (OF) and Kayla Zimmerman (3B).

Zimmerman led the team in hitting (.527), home runs (3), doubles (9), RBI (19) and stolen bases (15) last season. Morgan scored 11 runs and had 12 stolen bases, and Weldi scored six runs and had six RBI.

The other key loss was starting pitcher Ava Heidorn, who transferred to Worthington Christian for her sophomore year.

Heidorn was MOCAL Player of Year last season. She batted .413 and led the team in hits (33), runs (23) and triples (2) and struck out only twice in 80 at-bats. She also had seven doubles, 16 RBI and 10 stolen bases and, in the circle, was 12-11 with one save and a 3.20 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 132 2/3 innings.

"We're primarily going to use two pitchers this year," said coach Morgan, who replaced Matt Heidorn as coach. "(Freshman) Emily Parrish and (Madie Morgan) will both play first base and pitch. We've been getting good pitching early and we've played pretty tight defensively. (Senior) Rachel Kirkham has been great in center field and adds to the strength of our middle defense with Cornelius and Plotner."

Rounding out the roster are junior Skylin Martin (RF/2B) and freshmen Kara Haskins (3B) and Haley McKenzie (LF).

Delaware Christian is 1-1 overall and in the MOCAL entering its game at Gahanna Christian on Monday, April 13. The Eagles lost to Granville Christian 3-2 in their season opener March 30, but defeated Madison Christian 7-4 on March 31.

The Eagles' game against Marion Pleasant on April 2 was postponed and has been rescheduled for May 2.

Last season, Delaware Christian went 5-1 in the MOCAL to finish ahead of Madison Christian (4-2), Granville Christian (3-3) and Tree of Life (0-6).

In the postseason, the Eagles rallied from a 4-3 deficit to beat Berne Union 6-4 in a district final to win the school's first district championship in any sport. They then lost to South Charleston Southeastern 17-0 in five innings in a regional semifinal.

Baseball team returnsafter two-year hiatus

The baseball team has been revived after a two-year hiatus.

Delaware Christian, which last fielded a team in 2012, has 14 players, but five are unable to play for at least the first few weeks of the season.

Sophomore Adam Standley (P/1B/OF) and junior Andrew Standley (P/OF/1B) have attended Delaware Christian since starting high school. However, because the Eagles did not have a baseball team last year, the brothers played for Fairbanks a year ago and, thus, are ineligible to play the first half of this season due to the Ohio High School Athletic Association's transfer rules.

Delaware Christian has an appeal to the OHSAA pending, first-year coach Scott Manny said.

"We have several questions regarding the rule," Manny said. "(The) first is about us not having a program last year. Another is, what is considered half of the year in spring? Is it done by number of games or weeks? If it is done by games and we get all of this rain and can't get makeups in, that changes the number of games they have to sit out as the year progresses."

Another player affected by the transfer rules is junior Riley Michalak (P/C/INF), who attended Delaware Hayes last year.

In addition, the coach's son, freshman Ryan Manny (P/C/INF), is expected to miss the first few weeks with an injury, and Chris Art (3B/OF) -- one of three seniors -- is participating in a school play and won't join the team until later this month.

The Eagles have six freshmen who played at the middle school level last year and are being counted on to help fill the void.

The other seniors are Steven Church (utility) and D.J. Copley (P/1B), who played as a freshman.

Rounding out the roster are juniors Max McGrath (2B) and Gus Witt (OF) and freshmen Luke Bean (OF), Dirk Harris (C), Isaac Rindfuss (P/SS), Keenan Siebert (3B/OF) and Ryan Surowiec (C/OF).

"Our upperclassmen haven't played in three years, our freshmen are being asked to play at the varsity level and we're working on basic fundamentals early in the season," said Manny, who coached the middle school team last year. "So our goal this year is to develop players, especially pitchers, to go out and compete and show improvement throughout the season."

The Eagles were run-ruled in their first two games, losing to Granville Christian 13-0 in five innings March 30 and losing to Madison Christian 16-6 in five innings March 31. Both were MOCAL contests.

Delaware Christian's game against Liberty Christian on April 2 was postponed.

The Eagles return from spring break Monday, April 13, with a league game at home against Gahanna Christian.

Schedules BASEBALL

*March 30 -- vs. Granville Christian

*March 31 -- at Madison Christian

*April 13 -- vs. Gahanna Christian

April 14 -- vs. Fairbanks

*April 16 -- vs. Tree of Life

*April 20 -- at Granville Christian

April 21 -- at Fairfield Christian

April 23 -- vs. Africentric

April 25 -- vs. Liberty Christian

*April 27 -- vs. Madison Christian

April 28 -- at Shekinah Christian

*April 30 -- at Gahanna Christian

May 2 -- at Wellington

May 4 -- at Marion Pleasant

*May 5 -- at Tree of Life

May 7 -- vs. Shekinah Christian

May 8 -- vs. Cardington

SOFTBALL

*March 30 -- vs. Granville Christian

*March 31 -- at Madison Christian

*April 13 -- at Gahanna Christian

April 14 -- vs. Fairbanks

*April 16 -- vs. Tree of Life

*April 20 -- at Granville Christian

April 21 -- at Mount Gilead

April 23 -- vs. Africentric

April 25 -- vs. Wellington

*April 27 -- vs. Madison Christian

April 28 -- at Fairbanks

*April 30 -- vs. Gahanna Christian

May 2 -- vs. Marion Pleasant

May 4 -- vs. Mount Gilead

*May 5 -- at Tree of Life

May 7 -- at Buckeye Valley

May 9 -- at Danville (DH)

*League contest