Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Alec Tuohy has found his comfort zone.

Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Alec Tuohy has found his comfort zone.

As a sophomore whose main role was being the baseball team's No. 3 starting pitcher, Tuohy burst into prominence by throwing a complete game to lead the Lions past Dublin Coffman 5-1 in a Division I district final.

A year ago, he struck out 12 but was the losing pitcher when Gahanna fell to Olentangy 5-3 in a district final.

Now in his second season as the team's No. 1 starter and its starting shortstop when he's not pitching, Tuohy struck out 14 -- a program-record for seven innings -- in his last start, as the sixth-seeded Lions beat 26th-seeded Upper Arlington 7-2 in a district semifinal May 20 at Grove City.

He's expected to be on the mound for the Lions' regional semifinal against Marysville at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Coffman.

"All around, things have come together for me this year," Tuohy said. "Last year was a struggle being the No. 1 starter and starting at shortstop after being just a pitcher my sophomore year. This year I've found the happy medium between the two."

Gahanna is 20-9 and Marysville is 21-7. The winner plays Thomas Worthington or Hilliard Darby in a regional final at 5 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Coffman.

The regional champion will play in a state semifinal against Toledo St. Francis, Perrysburg, Avon Lake or Cleveland St. Ignatius at 7 p.m. June 7 in Huntington Park. The state final is 7 p.m. June 8 at the same site.

The Lions beat Marysville 12-2 on April 1 as Trent Champlin pitched the first four innings for the victory and Tuohy hit a two-run home run.

Tuohy, who has signed to play for Buffalo and, according to coach Mike Shade, recently was named the district's Player of the Year, did not pitch as Gahanna scored five runs in the first inning and blew past second-seeded Olentangy Orange 15-8 in a district final May 22 at Ohio Dominican.

Instead, sophomore Mason Daniels went the first five innings to help the Lions earn their fourth district title in six seasons.

Zach Baumann (RF), Christian Chiero (3B), Evan White (1B), Alex Delp (DP) and Tuohy (SS) began the game with consecutive hits and each scored.

Tuohy and Shawn Martin (2B) had RBI singles in the fifth as Gahanna took a 9-5 lead, and Peyton Ross (LF) hit a three-run triple during a six-run sixth.

Ross and White both finished with four RBI.

"We all were hitting the ball well," Ross said. "When one guy starts off the game well, it brings a lot of confidence into the dugout."

After Tuohy pitched the Lions to a 6-3 win over Westland on May 15 in the second round of the district tournament, there was no talk, according to Shade, of holding him back for the district final.

"Absolutely none," Shade said. "You have to win the district semifinal to get there, and Mason had thrown well all year. You've got to win one game at a time."

Similarly to its final two games of the district tournament, Gahanna is expected to start Tuohy in the regional semifinal and use an all-hands-on-deck approach on the mound if it advances to a regional final.

Marysville was seeded 14th for the district tournament but upset third-seeded Watkins Memorial 7-2 in a district final May 23 at Ohio Dominican.

Darby, despite being seeded 13th, defeated top-seeded Pickerington North 2-0 in a district final May 22 at Otterbein. Gahanna beat Darby 7-3 on April 30.

Thomas, which was the fourth seed, beat seventh-seeded Grove City 8-2 in a district final May 24 at Otterbein.

Darby is 19-9 and Thomas is 24-6 entering their regional semifinal.

After an eight-game stretch from April 22 through May 6 in which they were held to two runs or fewer six times and went 3-5, the Lions closed the regular season with an 8-7 win over Pickerington Central on May 8.

Shade believes his team's offense is peaking at the right time.

"This is as well as we've hit the ball all year," he said. "(Orange starting pitcher) Paul Trick is a big-time Division I pitcher whose only really been hit once this year, so we just said, 'Take what he gives you and take swings on him.' Orange has a great baseball team and a great record. We just had timely hitting, and with runners on third we were able to hit groundballs and get outs that were productive."