The spring season, already the shortest of the three during the school year, has gotten even shorter for the Grandview Heights High School baseball team.

The spring season, already the shortest of the three during the school year, has gotten even shorter for the Grandview Heights High School baseball team.

Because of the boys basketball team's run to a Division III regional final, baseball coach Craig Kyle didn't get to have his full team at practice until last Monday, one week before the opener at Johnstown.

The players from the basketball team will have just seven weeks from the time they began baseball practice until the Divi-sion III district tournament begins.

"It's kind of been a struggle because certain kids are there and certain kids are not there," Kyle said.

"The kids that have been there are obviously working very hard. Things are looking up as best they can without those kids there. You try to put in a lot of your stuff, and you look around and your entire infield hasn't been there, other than one kid."

Senior Johnathan Ray played basketball. He said the transition between sports won't be easy, but he's hoping the offseason work they were able to put in will pay dividends.

"We all did little stuff in the offseason, like hitting on Sundays and other small stuff," Ray said. "We try to do it the best we can."

The Bobcats are looking to maintain the success they have had in Kyle's first two seasons. Last season, Grandview finished 19-9 overall and cruised to the MSL-Cardinal Division title at 14-0, well ahead of second-place Fisher Catholic (11-3).

In the last two years, Grandview has gone 39-16 overall, but it is looking to improve on its district performance this year. Last season, Grandview lost to Caledonia River Valley 5-4 in a district semifinal.

This year's team will need to rely on its pitching staff after losing several of last season's top offensive players.

"We lost like 80-some RBI out of our lineup, and you're not going to just replace 80 RBI really quickly," Kyle said. "But pitching is the No. 1 key in high school baseball. If you don't have any pitching, you're not going to be very good no matter how many runs you score."

Junior Tyler Fitzgerald is expected to be the top pitcher, and he likely will bat second and play a variety of positions when not pitching. Senior Garrett Griffin is expected to be the No. 2 pitcher and also start at second base.

Others expected to contribute on the mound are seniors Casey Rouch and Chaz Hahn, juniors Michael LaMonte and Conrad Knapp, sophomore A.J. Finlay and freshman Oliver Rouch.

Ray returns as the starter at third base and will hit fourth. Senior Philip Elking is expected to start again at shortstop and hit third, and Rouch is the projected starter at first base.

Sophomore Nate Webb is expected to start at catcher.

LaMonte, the leadoff hitter for the past two seasons, will start in center field and bat leadoff again. The other two starting outfield spots are undecided. Among those who could see time in the outfield are Fitzgerald, Hahn, LaMonte, Knapp, Finlay, Oliver Rouch and senior Michael Elting.

At a glance

•Coach: Craig Kyle, third season

•Opener: Monday at Johnstown

•Key returnees: Phillip Elking, Tyler Fitzgerald, Garrett Griffin, Michael LaMonte, Johnathan Ray and Casey Rouch