This is the season for which the Dublin Scioto High School baseball team has been building.

This is the season for which the Dublin Scioto High School baseball team has been building.

Two years ago the Irish had to make up for the graduation of all but two starters, and coach Scott Marple's plan was to fill those voids with a core of sophomores and freshmen knowing that they had the potential to play as many as three seasons together.

The Irish now have eight seniors, including Eric Stamets, who will be in his fourth year as a starter when the Irish open Monday at home against Groveport. He'll also be the anchor of a pitching staff that Marple said appears to be deeper than in years past.

The Irish expect to have seven players enter the opener as third- or fourth-year starters. It is a group that also includes seniors Patrick Hart (1B/OF/P), Mike Henderson (OF/P) and David McKinley (OF) and juniors Seth Eller (1B/P), Matt Martin (INF/OF/P) and Charlie Suich (C/P/3B).

"It's definitely a more focused group," said Hart, whose team also plays Tuesday at Westerville Central and Wednesday at home against Centerburg. "The demographics of the season, we understand there'll be ups and downs, and we won't let it bother us."

The rest of the seniors are Troy Hervey, Josh Neace, Jerod Nawrocki and Andy Shumaker. Neace, Nawrocki and Shumaker played enough to letter last year on a team that finished 14-11 after losing to Newark 5-0 in a Division I district final.

The Irish entered the tournament unseeded. After a 12-2 win over Northland in the first round, they defeated fourth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 5-4 in the second round and Teays Valley 8-7 in eight innings in a district semifinal.

"Getting to the district final showed our potential," Hart said. "And it showed us we didn't play consistent during the season."

Also on the roster are juniors Nick Gastaldo (OF), Thomas Hayes (INF/P), Robert Janice (1B/P), Zach Kivior (OF) and Brandon Marker (C/P).

In the OCC-Capital Division last year, Scioto tied Olentangy Liberty for third at 6-4. New Albany and Watkins Memorial shared the title at 8-2, Franklin Heights was fifth at 2-8 and Big Walnut was 0-10.

This season the Irish are in the OCC-Cardinal with Dublin Jerome, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy, Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South. Scioto is the only one in the league to make it as far as a district final last year, but in order to get back Marple has continued to preach consistency.

"The way they grew up last year and came together as a unit will help us," he said. "I don't think there's any question there are going to be heightened expectations. One of the things that we expect to do is go out and compete every game. The guys have developed an attitude of knowing what they need to do to compete."

At a glance

•Coach: Scott Marple, third season

•Opener: Monday vs. Groveport

•Key players: Seth Eller, Patrick Hart, Mike Henderson, Matt Martin, David McKinley and Charlie Suich