The Grove City Christian School baseball team will have a new look as it aims for its fourth consecutive MOCAL title.

The Grove City Christian School baseball team will have a new look as it aims for its fourth consecutive MOCAL title.

The Eagles, who open Monday, March 28, at Central Crossing, finished 20-8 overall and 7-1 in the MOCAL last season. They reached a Division IV district final for the first time and lost to Newark Catholic 2-1 in nine innings.

Grove City Christian lost several players from last season, including senior Luke Smurthwaite who returned to Grove City High School. Smurthwaite transferred to Grove City Christian for his junior season after South-Western City Schools canceled sports in the fall of 2009 because of a levy failure.

Also gone are four-year starters Brice Bowman, Christopher Bowman and Zach Snider.

The only returning starters are senior Jacob Gloyd (P/C/OF) and junior Josh Zeller (P/SS). Zeller was second-team all-MOCAL and honorable mention all-district last season and Gloyd was honorable mention all-MOCAL.

Also back are seniors Sam Hatfield (1B/OF) and Andrew Paquin (OF), junior Casey Fisher (P/1B) and sophomore Ronnie Gallion (C/DH).

Gallion is expected to miss the first six weeks of the season as he recovers from a right elbow injury.

Rounding out the team are sophomore Mack Brunney (OF) and freshmen Tanner Buhrts (P/3B/C), Tyler Elgin (P/2B), Matt Fritz (P/C), Michael Howard (P/SS) and Casey Stauffer (3B/OF).

"We're very young and inexperienced, but I see a lot of potential with the underclassmen," sixth-year coach Steve Bowshier said. "We'll probably be starting four, maybe five freshmen. I've raised my expectations since watching the freshmen indoors this year. I've raised my goals a little bit."

Tree of Life finished second in the MOCAL last season at 6-2, followed by Gahanna Christian (3-5), Madison Christian (3-5) and Fairfield Christian (1-7).

•The softball team is looking to improve on last season when it finished 11-11 overall and 7-3 in the MOCAL to place second, behind Tree of Life (9-1) and ahead of Madison Christian (5-4), Gahanna Christian (4-5), Delaware Christian (3-6) and Fairfield Christian (2-7).

The Eagles lost to Worthington Christian 13-3 in five innings in the first round of the Division IV district tournament.

Grove City Christian, which opens Monday, March 28, at Reynoldsburg, lost a key player in 2010 graduate Kelsey Howard, who batted .524 last year and was named first-team all-MOCAL.

The Eagles should be led by senior catcher Brooke Warner, who hit .696 with five home runs and 48 RBI last year and was named MOCAL Player of the Year.

Also back are seniors Megan Keating (2B), Caitlyn Kennedy (SS/3B), Chelsea Peters (OF) and Ally Tiller (1B/OF) and juniors Emily Harper (OF), Lindsey Norbut (utility player), Sara Stiffler (utility player) and Sarah Varney (utility player).

Tiller hit .346 and was honorable mention all-MOCAL last year, and Keating hit .345 and was second-team all-MOCAL. Peters hit .351 and Kennedy led the pitching staff, going 9-7 with 49 strikeouts.

Junior Megan Creasap, a transfer from Central Crossing, is expected to be the team's No. 1 pitcher.

Sophomores Kirsten Folzenlogen (OF) and Katelyn Justice (P) and freshmen Nichelina Frank (1B/OF) and Katelyn Lauer (utility player) round out the team.

"I'm very excited about what the season looks like," seventh-year coach Lisa Horsley said. "We have a good opportunity to come out on top of our league this year. We have to be a sound, fundamental team. We have to do well defensively and when we step in the box we have to be lights out. Our girls worked really hard in the offseason in getting in batting cages whenever they could."