The Central Crossing High School softball team only lost two graduates from last year's team, but the Comets still are young.

The Central Crossing High School softball team only lost two graduates from last year's team, but the Comets still are young.

Last year Central Crossing tied the program mark for wins as it finished 14-10, doing so with five freshman starters. They returned and will be joined by three seniors.

The Comets will be led by senior Whitney Fullen, a three-year starter, and a pair of two-year starters in seniors Allison Householder and Autumn O'Linn.

"We're trying to build off some of the skills we worked on last year," said coach Lori Fullen, whose team opens Monday at home against Whitehall and plays Wednesday at Watterson. "We're working on situations more this year rather than just the individual skills like fielding ground balls."

Coach Fullen has taken over as coach for Rick Wemlinger, who had guided the Comets for the past two seasons. Fullen, an assistant under Wemlinger, was not going to finalize positions until after the team played a scrimmage against Centennial last Tuesday.

Players were shuffled around a lot last year after a rash of injuries hit the Comets midway through the season. Central Crossing started 7-2 and limped to the finish as they had to increasingly rely on junior varsity players to move up and fill voids.

"With the injuries, we didn't have a solid rotation," Whitney Fullen said. "We started well and we never really got a flow back (after the injuries)."

The Comets defeated West 12-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament before being eliminated in the second round by losing to Westerville South 3-0.

The sophomores who returned after starting regularly last year are Lindsey Carmean, Taylor Matthews, Dakota Pyles, Alyssa Turkovich and Kendra Willis.

Although there were some questions as to where everyone would play, Willis was already penciled in as the starting catcher.

"We're starting to come together," Householder said. "(The way last season finished) is just going to push us more. That's going to motivate us."

The Comets will have to make up for the loss of pitcher Carolyne McIntosh, a two-year starter who has the program record for strikeouts in a season with 156. Central Crossing will turn to freshmen Megan Cresap and Savannah Dorsey to fill that void.

Also on the team are junior Ashley Senter, sophomore Sky Dorsey and freshmen Emily Holbrook and Paige Rhodes.

The Comets tied Delaware and Pickerington North for third in the OCC-Central last year at 4-6 behind Marysville champion at 10-0 and Thomas Worthington at 6-4.

They finished ahead of Westerville Central at 2-8.

Thomas will join Central Crossing in the OCC-Central this year along with Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Upper Arlington, Worthington Kilbourne and Westland. Darby was a district champion last year.

At a glance

•Coach: Lori Fullen, first season

•Opener: Monday vs. Whitehall

•Key returnees: Whitney Fullen, Allison Householder and Autumn O'Linn