The Hilliard Davidson High School softball team returned to a Division I district final, but was eliminated by a familiar opponent.

The Hilliard Davidson High School softball team returned to a Division I district final, but was eliminated by a familiar opponent.

For the third time in four seasons, the Wildcats had their postseason run ended by top-seeded Grove City in a 1-0 loss on May 20 at Pickerington Central.

Davidson lost to the Greyhounds 4-0 in a district semifinal in 2008 and 10-0 in a district final in 2007. Last season, the Wildcats lost to Groveport 3-0 in the second round.

"We had a good game plan against one of the top pitchers in the state (in Grove City senior Paige Myers)," coach Angelo Forte said after his 13th season. "We had chances in the sixth and seventh innings to tie or win the game, but sometimes you aren't able to push a run across."

In the seventh, junior Mallory Sodders led off with a single to left for the first Davidson hit off Myers. Sophomore Kayla Wolfe followed with an infield single to shortstop, but the runners were left stranded.

Davidson's Sam Smith surrendered three hits, striking out three and walking two. The junior right-hander gave up a one-out double in the third to Lindsey Lykins, who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Amber Bova. Lykins then scored on a wild pitch.

"Sam has matured so much from the first game of the season until now," Forte said. "She worked hard to get where she is and can even be better if she continues the work ethic she showed this season."

Smith was 22-7 with one save in 194 innings. She had 142 strikeouts, 22 walks, a 0.94 ERA and opponents batted .183 against her.

The Wildcats finished third in the OCC-Central Division at 10-4, behind Upper Arlington (12-2) and Central Crossing (11-3), and ahead of Hilliard Darby (7-7), Thomas Worthington (6-8), Dublin Coffman (4-10), Westland (3-11) and Worthington Kilbourne (3-11).

After a bye in the first round of district, Davidson beat Lancaster 1-0 in 10 innings on May 13 before beating Olentangy Liberty 2-1 in a district semifinal on May 18.

Davidson finished 10th in the state poll, with Grove City taking the top spot. There were four area teams in the final poll, as Gahanna was fourth and Upper Arlington was seventh.

The Wildcats lose four seniors in second baseman Taylor Newton, first baseman Tara Prater and outfielders Katie Rine and Emma Russell.

"It's exciting to be able to get this far," said Prater, who hit .324 with 24 hits, 17 runs, three doubles, two triples and 24 RBI. "The whole team was coming together and it's too bad we couldn't have taken it further."

Rine batted .386 with 27 hits, eight runs, four doubles and 16 RBI.

The team batting average was .322 led by Wolfe at .565 with 26 hits, 14 runs, two triples, 21 walks, one home run, 17 RBI, a slugging percentage of .717 and an on-base percentage of .706.

Juniors expected to return are catcher Zoe Allegretti (.402, 37 hits, 26 runs, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer), outfielder Alexa Galloway, infielder Tessa Kilgore and shortstop Sodders (.354, 23 hits, 22 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 10 RBI).

At a glance

•Record: 23-7 overall, 10-4 (third) in OCC-Central •Seniors lost: Taylor Newton, Tara Prater, Katie Rine and Emma Russell •Key returnees: Zoe Allegretti, Alexa Galloway, Tessa Kilgore, Sam Smith, Mallory Sodders and Kayla Wolfe