Managing expectations might be the biggest issue for the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team this spring.

Managing expectations might be the biggest issue for the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team this spring.

The Lions have returned all but two key players from a team that won the 12th Division I district championship in program history and lost 11-10 in eight innings to Teays Valley in a regional final. They have five players who have committed to play collegiately.

Gahanna, which went 23-9 overall last season, had a doubleheader March 28 in a showcase at Georgetown, S.C., against the host squad and Kingstree (S.C.) Williamsburg Academy postponed because of bad weather.

"A lot of it is going to come down to when you've got that many people who have already committed (to play in college), I'm not sure where their heads are going to be," 16th-year coach Jim Campolo said. "Sometimes kids take it for granted and don't realize that they've got a bull's-eye on their back. People are just looking to take you out.

"The biggest thing is how much do you improve from today to the tournament. We've always been a good tournament team and we prepare ourselves for the tournament. Hopefully we'll get a little bit better as the year goes along."

The top two returning hitters are juniors Lauren Woodward (CF) and Aly Harrell (1B). Woodward, a Penn State commit, was second-team all-district and second-team all-OCC-Ohio Division last season after hitting .409 with 20 RBI and scoring 37 runs. She'll likely bat leadoff.

Harrell should bat in the middle of the lineup after making first-team all-league and all-district and batting .560 with six home runs and 54 RBI. She also set the program record for doubles in a season with 18 and has committed to Marshall.

Senior Alexis McDaniel (LF) and juniors MacKenzie Soma (2B) and Kristen Zink (RF) are other returning starters. Zink was special mention all-league and Soma was honorable mention all-league.

Junior Emma Spinney, who batted .375, will split with senior Victoria Nye at both catcher and designated player.

Taking over at shortstop is Molly Troutman, who has committed to Ohio University despite being a freshman.

Sophomore Addie Kittel, who has committed to Lehigh, and senior Kaitlyn Klink are at third base.

Expected to split time at pitcher are senior Amber Hargis and junior Faith Bogard. Hargis, who has committed to Slippery Rock, went 10-4 with a 3.37 ERA last season, while Bogard was 10-2 with a 2.39 ERA.

Senior Torey Katzmeyer is out with an injury but should provide depth at pitcher and first base when she returns later this season.

Senior Melissa Sheets (utility), sophomore Maddie Webb (utility) and freshman Lauren Ringhiser (2B/SS) are others looking to contribute.

The only players not back are Brittany Oldaker (3B) and Alyson Shaw (SS). Oldaker is now at Eastern Kentucky after leaving the program as its all-time leader in six statistical categories, including home runs (33), and was second-team all-state last season. Shaw set a program record with 115 at-bats last spring and now is playing for Otterbein.

Baseball team to lean on pitchers, Baker

Over the past five seasons, the baseball team has won three Division I district titles, had two district runner-up finishes and made two state tournament appearances.

The Lions' hopes of continuing that run stem from a group of young players taking on key roles for the first time and a strong returning pitching staff.

They lost 13 players to graduation.

Gahanna, which was a district runner-up last season when it went 19-9 overall,opened March 28 by beating Perrysburg 13-1 as part of a six-game slate in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

"Things are up in the air a little bit," said coach Mike Shade, who picked up his 400th career victory against Perrysburg. "We've got a lot of new faces this year. Obviously our goals always stay the same. We want to win OCC and district championships, but the guys are going to have to step up and play at that level."

The lone returning starting position player is junior catcher Cael Baker, who hit .338 with a team-best 27 RBI last season. Senior Doland Martin, who has been a key player at catcher and in the outfield the last two seasons, is not playing because of a torn labrum.

Junior left-hander Jackson Wolf, who went 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA and two saves in 26 1/3 innings last season, is the top returning pitcher. He'll likely receive starts along with seniors Camaron Cheeseman, Tom Eidens and Tony Lind and junior Major Belli. Junior Josh Oddi and sophomores Austin Burchfield, Mitchell Megias and Jonathon Novenic should provide pitching depth.

When they're not pitching, Belli should be at shortstop while Lind should see time at third base with Oddi and junior J.J. Smith.

Seniors Zach McDougle (CF) and Carl Turner (RF) and sophomore Devon Lee (LF) are projected outfield starters, with senior Branton Cummins and freshman Talon Galbraith also in the mix.

Sophomore Jarrod White, who is the brother of 2014 graduate and former district co-Player of the Year Evan White, is expected to play first base.

Other middle infielders include junior Nick Van Moegan (2B), sophomore Mason Coleman (2B) and freshman Noah Laurent (SS).

Girls lacrosse team also has new look

After improving by three wins a year ago, the girls lacrosse team isn't planning to take a step back this spring.

A strong junior class is the Lions' biggest reason for optimism in that regard.

Gahanna, which went 7-10 overall last season, opened with a 15-5 loss to Watterson on March 21 but bounced back to beat Chillicothe 19-6 the next day.

"We did graduate eight seniors so we lost a lot, but we still have some solid players," second-year coach Shelley Huffman said. "Although it's a growing year, it shouldn't be a setback year."

The top returnee is junior midfielder Emily Sloan, who had 22 goals, 98 groundballs, 62 draw controls and 13 interceptions last season. She scored four goals in the Lions' 17-10 loss to Hilliard Bradley in the first round of the Division I South/Central Region tournament.

Also back are seniors Faith Meads (attacker) and Jasmine Price (defender) and juniors Katherine Belz (defender) and Emily Ryan (goalkeeper).

The other seniors are Emily Bartels (goalie), Kassie Frasher (attacker) and Ellen Slavik (attacker).

Junior Alex Churchill (attacker) is serving as a captain along with Meads and Sloan.

Also looking to contribute are juniors Alexis Adkinson (defender) and Brooklyn Ballenger (midfielder), sophomores Natalie Chen (attacker), Anna Inman (defender), Amanda Olsen (goalie), Sam Stafford (defender) and Lauren Teutsch (defender) and freshman Sydney Ankrim (midfielder).

The biggest loss to graduation was Erica Rapelje, who finished with 53 goals and is playing for DePauw University.

Schedules

BASEBALL

March 28 -- Perrysburg in Cocoa Beach (Fla.)

March 29 -- Poland Seminary and Novi (Mich.) Franklin Road Christian in Cocoa Beach (Fla.)

March 30 -- Uniontown Green in Cocoa Beach (Fla.)

March 31 -- Northbrook (Ill.) Glenbrook North and Sylvania Southview in Cocoa Beach (Fla.)

*April 4 -- at Groveport

April 5 -- at Johnstown

*April 6 -- vs. Groveport

*April 8 -- vs. Newark

*April 11 -- at Newark

*April 13 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

April 14 -- vs. Westerville Central

*April 15 -- at Reynoldsburg

*April 18 -- at Lancaster

April 19 -- at Newark Catholic

*April 20 -- vs. Lancaster

*April 22 -- vs. Grove City

*April 25 -- at Grove City

*April 27 -- vs. Pickerington North

*April 29 -- at Pickerington North

*May 2 -- at Pickerington Central

May 3 -- vs. Watkins Memorial

*May 4 -- vs. Pickerington Central

May 5 -- at Dublin Coffman

GIRLS LACROSSE

March 21 -- vs. Watterson

March 22 -- vs. Chillicothe

March 24 -- vs. Big Walnut

April 5 -- at Marysville

*April 7 -- at Westerville North

*April 8 -- at Pickerington Central

April 12 -- at Dublin Jerome

April 14 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

*April 19 -- vs. Westerville Central

April 21 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls

*April 23 -- vs. Pickerington North

April 26 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

*April 28 -- vs. Westerville South

May 5 -- at Wellington

May 7 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

SOFTBALL

March 28 -- at Georgetown (S.C.) with Kingstree (S.C.) Williamsburg Academy

March 29 -- Due West (S.C.) Dixie and Andrews (S.C.) at Georgetown (S.C.)

*April 4 -- at Groveport

*April 6 -- vs. Newark

*April 8 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

*April 11 -- at Lancaster

*April 13 -- vs. Grove City

*April 15 -- vs. Pickerington North

*April 18 -- at Pickerington Central

*April 20 -- vs. Groveport

April 22 -- Russell (Ky.) in Valley of Thunder at Willow Wood Symmes Valley

April 23 -- Reedsville Eastern and Ripley (W.Va.) in Valley of Thunder

*April 25 -- at Reynoldsburg

*April 26 -- at Newark

*April 27- vs. Lancaster

*April 28 -- at Grove City

April 29 -- North Canton Hoover in Prebis Memorial at LaGrange Keystone

April 30 -- Canton GlenOak and Avon in Prebis Memorial at LaGrange Keystone

*May 2 -- at Pickerington North

*May 4 -- vs. Pickerington Central

May 7 -- Tipp City Tippecanoe and North Union in Gahanna Showcase

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln boys lacrosse, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:

BOYS LACROSSE

*April 4 -- At Dublin Scioto

BOYS TENNIS

*April 4 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

*April 5 -- Home vs. Groveport

April 6 -- At Olentangy

TRACK & FIELD

April 2 -- Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

April 1 -- At St. Charles

*April 5 -- At Mount Vernon

*League contest