The New Albany High School softball team will have a different look this season.

The New Albany High School softball team will have a different look this season.

"It's kind of exciting," said sixth-year coach Patrick Finn, whose team opens Saturday, March 31, at Upper Arlington with a doubleheader that also includes Olentangy Liberty. "We have an infusion of youth and a couple of move-ins, and this is an athletic group.

"We should be aggressive on the bases, solid on defense and a little more powerful at the plate. I think we can sneak up on some people. It's the most depth we've ever had from the junior varsity up to varsity."

The Eagles followed a 13-win season in 2010 by posting an 8-15 overall record last spring, losing to Pickerington North 7-2 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. Inconsistency, some of which can be attributed to persistent bad weather and subsequent postponements or cancelations, played a key role in a season that didn't go as well as planned.

The Eagles lost seven players from a year ago to graduation, but they return key players in senior Krystal Clark (P), junior Adena Mistovich-Perez (CF) and sophomores Karly Medich (1B) and Jackie Drago (2B).

Clark, who will share pitching duties with sophomore third basemen Priscila Nakaie and Abi Simpson, should be an offensive force after batting over .300 with three home runs a year ago. Drago got at-bats in a utility role, and Medich also saw playing time. Nakaie, an exchange student from Brazil, should provide another reliable bat. Senior Brianna Oberlin (C) served as a pinch-hitter last season. The other returnees are sophomores Madi Fairchild (utility player), Madison Fixari (OF) and Abby Scowron (OF).

The newcomers include sophomore Kaitlyn Gliha (SS), who started a year ago for a Dresden Tri-Valley team that advanced to a district final. The roster also features sophomore Lexi Simpson (OF) and freshmen Amber Mullen (C) and Jamie Sevenish (OF).

"It's going to be a growing process, but I think we can compete with these girls," Finn said. "They just have to get used to each other. It's a whole new infield. It's a new outfield."

The Eagles, who couldn't sustain last year's early momentum after winning two of their first three games, went 5-9 to finish sixth in the OCC-Capital Division, behind Delaware (14-0), Hilliard Bradley (11-3), Olentangy Orange (8-6), Big Walnut (7-7) and Mount Vernon (7-7) and ahead of Watkins Memorial (3-11) and Franklin Heights (1-13).

Among 2011 graduates, Jenna Greenburg (C) made first-team all-league and second-team all-district, Tiffany Goodrich (3B) was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, Sarah Litterst (SS) made honorable mention all-league and Lindsey Medich (RF) was special mention all-league.

"I think our new outfield, we've got about five girls vying for playing time," said Finn, whose team opens the league schedule Monday, April 2, at Hilliard Bradley. "All the girls are fast, too. I see that as a strength going in."