The Hilliard Bradley High School softball team returns seven starters in its quest to repeat as OCC-Capital Division champions.

The Hilliard Bradley High School softball team returns seven starters in its quest to repeat as OCC-Capital Division champions.

Bradley, which opened in 2009-10 with no senior class, finished its first season 20-6 overall and 13-1 in league play. The first senior class hopes to top those numbers this season, which begins April 4 at New Albany.

However, the two starters who did not return played strong middle defense for the Jaguars. Junior Brooke Espenschied, who played shortstop, is concentrating on AAU basketball. Senior Kelly Dalton, who played center field, has another obligation.

"We'll make it work," said coach Kevin Moody, whose team lost to DeSales 3-1 in a Division II district semifinal last season. "With seven starters back, how can anyone complain about that? We've got a great bunch of seniors and they're providing great leadership. Our seniors are outworking everybody else and they're fun to be around."

Topping the list of returnees is senior Kellie Roudabush, who led the Jaguars in pitching and hitting last season and has signed with Akron. She was 14-4 with a 1.33 ERA, seven shutouts and 163 strikeouts in 121 1/3 innings. She batted .587 with 33 runs and 29 RBI, and 19 of her 44 hits were doubles (11), triples (3) or home runs (5). She was the Division II district Player of the Year and the league's Player of the Year. She also was first-team all-state after being second-team all-state in Division I in 2009 at Darby.

Roudabush, who hopes to play third base for the Zips, wants to pitch less this season and concentrate on hitting.

"She is such a good athlete," Moody said. "She plays shortstop for her summer team and doesn't really pitch much. She also has played third base on all-star teams. She'll be great wherever we put her."

Senior Jordan Camp is expected to move from right field to center field. She was second-team all-district and first-team all-league last season after hitting .367 with 16 runs.

Other seniors returning to their positions include first baseman Danielle Dunnagan and left fielder Colleen O'Shea. Dunnagan batted .320 with 14 runs and 10 RBI and was special mention all-league. Rounding out the senior class are outfielder Rachel Miller and pitcher Tayler Young, who was special mention all-league last season after going 6-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 54 1/3 innings.

Other starters back include juniors Erin Banaag (2B) and Mikaela Smith (C), as well as sophomore Christina Hammons (3B).

Banaag (.341 with 24 runs) and Smith (.301, 27 RBI and 5 doubles) both were honorable mention all-league.

Hammons may play some outfield, with sophomore Caron Watkinson seeing time at third base. Freshman Abi Groseclose is likely to play shortstop and may also catch. Sophomore Paige Wiley is vying for time in right field.

"We played strong defense last year and I know we'll be strong again on defense," Moody said. "I think we can attack on offense. We've got good team speed, run bases well and we have seven girls who hit left-handed. We've got four girls who have potential to hit for power and two others who are solid hitters, not slap-hitters."

Finishing behind Bradley in the league standings last season were Mount Vernon (11-3), Delaware (9-5), Big Walnut (6-8), New Albany (6-8), Olentangy Orange (6-8), Watkins Memorial (4-10) and Franklin Heights (1-13).

"Orange has a strong pitcher back and Delaware has a nice young pitcher," Moody said. "New Albany has almost everyone back. Mount Vernon, although they lost their standout pitcher, is just dynamic. I think the league will be much stronger."