The 13 graduates the Thomas Worthington High School baseball lost after last season left voids everywhere.

The 13 graduates the Thomas Worthington High School baseball lost after last season left voids everywhere.

The Cardinals have found themselves in a situation in which they don't have to come up with one or two pitchers to replace the ones who left, they have had to put together an entirely new staff. And 13 games into the season, solidifying everyone's roles on the staff was an ongoing process.

"The thing that we're doing is giving opportunities," coach Stephen Gussler said after the Cardinals beat Marion Pleasant 8-7 on April 17. "And then you assess, based on that, who's doing well when they're given opportunities."

By the time the Cardinals finished playing Pleasant, eight players had received mound time this season. Last season, graduates Chris Olson and Kyle Crowell received most of the starts and Jeremy Schriver made 20 appearances in 29 games, the most appearances by any pitcher during Gussler's 11-year tenure.

There were enough innings left over last year that senior Chet Hakes made three starts, and with that experience he was one of the most seasoned pitchers when this season started. Hakes knew he would be counted on to make more starts and he tailored his offseason program accordingly to include more pitching and less hitting.

He won his first three starts with a 3.89 ERA. Most of the other pitchers, like junior Jordan Peters, hadn't had any varsity experience from the mound until this season and their roles continue to be defined.

"We didn't get as many scrimmages in as we hoped and guys didn't really realize their roles until the season started," Hakes said. "But it seems like everyone is real comfortable just taking the ball whenever. Jordan, he's starting league games, but if he's being called in to shut out a game, he's doing that."

Peters pitched a complete game in a 9-2 win over Westerville Central on April 16, further solidifying his status among the pitchers. Gussler had determined by that time that Peters would get at least one start and one relief appearance a week.

Peters also earned a save in an 8-7 win over Mansfield Madison on April 12. He seems to have made the adjustment, going 2-1 in his first three starts with 2.14 ERA. After his start against Westerville Central, he also led the team with 17 strikeouts.

"It's a lot more a one through nine (batters) can hit the ball," Peters said. "Whereas in junior varsity last year, one or two could hit the ball. Now every hitter in the lineup can make solid contact."

Before last Monday's game against Pickerington North, sophomore Dominic Porretta had made three starts, going 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and Eric Petry had made two and won both (3.18 ERA). Seniors Max Bohon, Luke Dinan and Kyle Harned and sophomores Sam Bohon and Eric Petry also have made appearances. Hakes and Petry combined for a two-hitter in a 9-0 win over Lancaster last Saturday.

Each of the pitchers started somewhere in the field against Pleasant, leaving the Cardinals without any pitchers waiting on the bench. In order for Sam Bohon to earn the save in that game, Gussler had to pull him out of the game to get him warmed up, which afterward he admitted wasn't something that he favored doing, but he acknowledged that it showed the level of pitching depth that he could play an entire field full of pitchers.

"I think we're deeper this year," Gussler said. "There are more guys that we're running out there. We have nine pitchers out of 15 kids on this team. You're talking 65 percent of your team is pitchers."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Thomas baseball team:

*April 14 -- Defeated Marysville 4-3

*April 16 -- Def. Westerville Central 9-2

April 17 -- Def. Marion Pleasant 8-7

Last Friday -- Def. Lancaster 9-0

*Last Monday -- Lost to Pick. North 6-5

*Last Wednesday -- Played Central Crossing

Saturday -- Home vs. Canal Winchester and Westerville North

*Monday -- At Delaware. The Cardinals lost 8-4 on April 9.

*Wednesday -- At Marysville

Of note: The Cardinals were 10-5 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Central before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Central game