The pitching numbers posted by the Grove City High School baseball team convey a telling story.

The pitching numbers posted by the Grove City High School baseball team convey a telling story.

They also make a strong case for the Greyhounds being voted the No. 1 seed for the Division I district tournament by the time area coaches gather to draw up the brackets Sunday, April 29, at Pickerington Central.

"We are very deep when it comes to pitching," coach Ryan Alexander said. "We go eight deep, really, and one through five there's not a lot of difference. We can be confident no matter who we run out there.

"And when it comes to the tournament, pitching depth becomes even more important."

That isn't to say the Greyhounds, who were 15-1 overall and alone in first place in the OCC-Ohio Division at 7-0 before playing Groveport on April 24, are getting ahead of themselves. Alexander knows the race for the league title comes down to how they fare in the final three series, including two games each against preseason-favorite Central and defending-champion Pickerington North.

Grove City was in the thick of the chase last year until losing 3-2 to North and 17-3 in five innings to Gahanna during the first week of May. It settled for third place only to mount a postseason run that saw it win a district championship for the first time since 2000 and advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1983.

"It's going to be a grind to the end for sure," Alexander said.

That being said, Alexander has to feel better knowing the Greyhounds aren't going to run out of pitching, even if the fickle Ohio weather doesn't always cooperate and games back up.

Through 14 games, the Greyhounds had outscored opponents 128-37. The pitchers had thrown 800 strikes compared with 468 balls. They also had nearly a 2-to-1 ratio in strikeouts (55) to walks (28).

"I'm just throwing strikes and letting the defense play behind me," senior Mitchell Stephens said. "We don't make a lot of errors, and that gives us pitchers a lot of confidence out there."

Stephens had a 4-0 record through Grove City's first 15 games, while Kyle Bennett and Brandon Gooch both were 3-0. Bennett led the staff with 17 strikeouts and Gooch had 11. Seven pitchers had recorded victories.

"We've got a couple of left-handers (Bennett and Ben Myers) so we can give teams different looks," said Stephens, who won 10 games a year ago. "We can mix things up pretty good."

Drew Nankivell led the team in batting average (.486) through 15 games, while other offensive catalysts included Tyler Cowles (.429), Tyler Kent (.462) and Drew Artrip (.415), who is another starting pitcher. The RBI leaders were Kent (16), followed by Nankivell, Artrip and Nick Davis (11 each).

The pitchers have needed little in the way of run support much of the time, however.

"We've been able to keep our pitchers fresh," Alexander said. "And with the way we score runs, I like our chances against anyone."

The first game in the series with Central is Friday, April 27, at home. The rematch is Monday, April 30, at Central. The first game in the final league series is Wednesday, May 2, at North.

The Greyhounds also have to complete their series with Lancaster on Tuesday, May, 1, at home. They won the first game 17-6 on April 16, but the Golden Gales have had their moments as well. They included a 17-4 victory earlier this month over Central, which only recently had pitching ace and Kent State-recruit Nick Jensen-Clagg return to the lineup following off-field issues.

"Every game we play, people are trying to knock us out," Stephens said. "When you're rolling like we are and went to state last year, that's just the way it is. We have to bring our 'A' game every day and we know that."