Returning his entire lineup has coach Kevin Moody excited about his eighth season leading the Hilliard Bradley High School softball program.
The Jaguars have returned all nine starters from last season, when they finished 21-6 overall, went 12-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place second behind Westerville Central (13-1) and lost to Central Crossing 6-2 in a Division I district semifinal.
"We got lucky and we've got the whole complement back," said Moody, whose team was 2-1 overall after defeating Thomas Worthington 20-0 in five innings April 3 to open league play. "We got knocked out (of the postseason) earlier than we would have liked to last year. We're looking at improving and taking it as far as we can."
Leading the way is junior pitcher Lexie Hilling, who led the Jaguars with a .538 batting average and was 19-3 in the circle with one save, a 2.01 ERA, 132 strikeouts and 31 walks in 136 innings last season. She was named honorable mention all-state and first-team all-district and all-league.
"Lexie is a right-hander with a multitude of pitches," Moody said. "She can bring it and is working on her location. She is a very crafty player for us."
Senior catcher Jordan Pallay, a fourth-year starter, batted .376 last year and was second-team all-district and first-team all-league. Also returning in the infield are senior first baseman Jen Nashalsky (.432; special mention all-league), junior second baseman Heather Holly (.340; honorable mention all-league), junior shortstop Lauren Renner (.398; honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) and junior third baseman Savannah McCoppin.
Returning in the outfield are junior Hannah Lewis in left, sophomore Jaiden Bryant (.400; second-team all-district, first-team all-league) in center and senior Aimee Duckworth (.351) in right.
"We stick together as a team and support each other on and off the field," Bryant said. "Right now, we need to work on our hitting because we have hit too much off the (pitching) machine. On machines, the ball doesn't have the same spin as it does outside, and you can set the location wherever you want it."
The Jaguars opened March 28 with a 2-1 loss to Central Crossing before defeating Watkins Memorial 1-0 on March 29.
Rounding out the roster are junior Khalysah Rashid (INF/OF), sophomores Marissa DelBoccio (INF/OF), Michaela Medich (1B) and Annika Murray (INF/OF) and freshmen Macie LoParo (P/1B) and Amanda Nashalsky (C).
"With nine starters back, we can be pretty darn good, but any injuries could have us scrambling," Moody said. "Macie LoParo is a freshman left-hander who has really improved her game. We want to get her some varsity experience, and that will also help get Lexie a little rest to stay fresh for later in the season."
boys lacrosse program
First-year coach Hank Lewandowski has taken over a young boys lacrosse program that only has four seniors.
Last season, the Jaguars finished 7-13 overall and went 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio to place fifth behind champion Dublin Scioto (6-0). They now play in the OCC-Cardinal.
"We only have four seniors, so we're a really young team," said Lewandowski, who replaced Andrew Buck, who stepped down after five seasons. "We have 18 (players) on varsity and nine of them are freshmen and sophomores. It's going to take some time to get our wings underneath us."
Bradley was 0-3 overall after losing to Olentangy Orange 16-2 on April 3 and opens OCC-Cardinal play Thursday, April 6, at Scioto. The Jaguars lost to Pickerington Central 6-4 in their season opener March 28 and fell to New Albany 11-4 on April 1.
Senior midfielder Matt Mummert had three goals against New Albany and senior goalkeeper Jack Rogers had eight saves.
Senior defender Cade Morrow has returned after being second-team all-region last year, and senior Adrian Mijangos is back in the midfield.
"I like their passion because they are really coachable kids," Lewandowski said. "My seniors have been here awhile and have helped me line things up and get an idea of what we had last year and where we are going."
The defensive corps includes Morrow, juniors Jake Hum-phreys and Colton Pyle and sophomore Cannon Blauser, who was second-team all-league last year.
"We have a strong defense that will have to propel us until our offense gets up to speed," said Lewandowski, who retired from teaching in Michigan where he last coached at Plymouth-Canton in 2015. "I really didn't change much in terms of offense and defense. I wanted to find out what was working and make changes as necessary."
Girls lacrosse team
The girls lacrosse team was 0-4 before playing Bexley on April 4, but eighth-year coach Becky Mottlow said the Jaguars have improved each game.
Bradley has only three seniors as it looks to improve on last season, when it finished 6-10 overall and went 3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to place third behind Dublin Jerome (5-0) and Worthington Kilbourne (4-1).
"We're a work in progress," Mottlow said. "We had a steep learning curve and we're pleased with where we are right now. We had some lessons early and (the players) learned from them."
Bradley started with a pair of league games, losing to Kilbourne 20-4 on March 28 and falling to Thomas Worthington 20-2 on March 30. The Jaguars then lost to West Chester Lakota West 10-3 and Liberty Township Lakota East 9-6, both on April 1.
"We started right off the bat with the Worthington teams, who both have good programs," Mottlow said. "We saw what we needed to change and we keep getting better. We lost to Lakota West and learned from that and played much better against Lakota East.
"We really have created a synchronicity on defense and have gotten better each time out. There are things you can't learn in practice, only by going up against someone in a game. We have progressively gotten better."
Senior Maggie Lorenz anchors the defense with junior Callie Rogers, sophomores Hannah Hubler and Emily Siford and freshman Maggie Ullom.
Senior Maddy Conklin (first-team all-league) leads the midfield and junior Casey Mingery (honorable all-league) leads the attack.
Senior Ali Phillipi has moved from defender to goalie to help replace 2016 graduate Emma Davis. Sophomore Frankie Mehman also will see time in goal.
"The kids all have a positive attitude and are remaining upbeat," Mottlow said. "They are working hard and learning what they are needing to do."
March 30 -- at Pickerington Central
April 1 -- at New Albany
April 3 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
April 4 -- at Licking Valley
*April 6 -- at Dublin Scioto
April 7 -- vs. DeSales
*April 10 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 12 -- vs. St. Charles
*April 13 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
April 15 -- at Westerville South
*April 18 -- at Dublin Jerome
*April 25 -- at Delaware
April 29 -- vs. Columbus Academy
*May 2 -- at Darby
*May 9 -- vs. Gahanna
May 11 -- vs. Davidson
*March 28 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*March 30 -- at Thomas Worthington
April 1 -- at Liberty Township Lakota East and at West Chester Lakota West
April 4 -- at Bexley
*April 6 -- at Dublin Scioto
April 8 -- at Gahanna
April 12 -- at Columbus Academy
*April 18 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
April 20 -- vs. Westerville North
April 22 -- Rocky River and Shaker Heights in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington
*April 26 -- vs. Delaware
April 27 -- vs. Watterson
*May 2 -- vs. Darby
May 4 -- vs. Pickerington Central
May 9 -- at Dublin Coffman
May 11 -- vs. Davidson
March 28 -- vs. Central Crossing
March 29 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*April 3 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 5 -- vs. Davidson
*April 6 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
April 8 -- Amherst Steele and Oregon Clay at Gahanna
*April 10 -- vs. Delaware
*April 12 -- at Dublin Jerome
*April 13 -- at Dublin Scioto
April 14 -- Middletown Madison and Wellston in Valley of Thunder Tournament at Willow Wood Symmes Valley
April 15 -- at Symmes Valley with Liberty Township Lakota East
*April 17 -- vs. Darby
*April 19 -- at Thomas Worthington
April 21 -- Ready at Hilliard Municipal Field
*April 24 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*April 26 -- at Delaware
*April 27 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
April 28 -- Elyria and Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit at LaGrange Keystone
April 29 -- North Canton Hoover at Keystone
*May 1 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*May 3 -- Darby at Hilliard Municipal Field
May 6 -- Lebanon and Mason at Gahanna Showcase
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley baseball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
April 8 -- Home vs. Licking Heights
*April 10 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
April 11 -- At Hartley
*April 12 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*April 6 -- At Kilbourne
*April 11 -- Home vs. Delaware
April 12 -- Home vs. Davidson
TRACK & FIELD
April 7 -- Panther Invitational at Darby
April 11 -- Home vs. Groveport and Pickerington North
*April 6 -- At Kilbourne
*April 10 -- Home vs. Delaware
*April 11 -- At Dublin Jerome