When senior Ashton Salyers of the Grove City High School softball team transferred from Lexington (Ky.) Paul Laurence Dunbar during her sophomore year, she quickly sensed a family atmosphere within the program.

When senior Ashton Salyers of the Grove City High School softball team transferred from Lexington (Ky.) Paul Laurence Dunbar during her sophomore year, she quickly sensed a family atmosphere within the program.

The center fielder believes that close bond helped the Greyhounds win their second consecutive Division I district title.

Seeded second of 42 teams, Grove City defeated ninth-seeded Watterson 9-1 in a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central to improve to 25-4. The Greyhounds faced Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal May 29 at Ohio State, with the winner playing Gahanna or two-time defending state champion North Canton Hoover in a regional final Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.

"We're a family," Salyers said. "I know a lot of teams say that, but if you look around, we're with each other 24-7. That's a choice. You don't have to be with each other. You can leave after practice and do whatever you want, but we stay with each other all the time and it shows on the field, too. We're a family, we're emotional and it all comes down to heart and every single one of us has so much of that."

Grove City swept Pickerington Central in OCC-Ohio Division play, winning 16-3 in five innings April 15 and 15-5 in five innings May 1. It split its two league games against Gahanna, losing 4-1 on April 17 and winning 9-0 on May 3.

The Greyhounds have not played Hoover this season but lost to the Vikings 3-1 in a regional semifinal last year. Hoover defeated Lebanon 2-0 in the state final last season after beating Gahanna 4-2 in the final in 2011.

The regional champion will play Austintown-Fitch, Medina, Mentor or Solon in a state semifinal June 6 at Firestone Stadium in Akron. The state final will be played June 8 at Firestone Stadium.

"Everybody knows their role and does a real nice job with that," coach Ted Williams said. "We don't have the egos on the team."

Grove City took a 2-0 lead against Watterson in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Salyers led off with a walk and scored on a double by sophomore catcher Kennedy Beach, who later scored on a groundout by junior designated player Jordan Kennaw.

"That was the best feeling in the world," Beach said of the quick start. "Everything was a team effort and everyone got one hit after the other. Ashton and I started it off and it just kept going from there."

Watterson first baseman Katie Manahan hit a home run in the second to make it 2-1, but that would be as close as the Eagles would get.

Grove City sent 10 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring five runs to build a 7-1 lead. Beach hit a two-run double and sophomore shortstop Destini Ewing and senior second baseman Haylea Garner each drove in a run with successful squeeze bunts.

Salyers walked and scored on a single by third baseman Rachel Ash in the sixth inning and Ash doubled and scored on a single by Kennaw in the seventh.

"Kennedy Beach got her three hits and Ashton gets on base and sets the table, things like that," Williams said.

Junior pitcher Emma Cornell, a left-hander, allowed seven hits and two walks and had strikeouts against Watterson.

Grove City defeated 13th-seeded Groveport 6-0 in a district semifinal May 21 at Pickerington Central.

"Some teams have a pitcher, some teams have great hitters, but we're a team," Salyers said. "We get it done as a team. It's not one person. We don't rely on a pitcher. It's our whole pitching staff. We don't rely on one hitter. It's our whole lineup. We are special. This team is special more than any other team that has been through here."