Ten is a significant number for the Bexley High School baseball team.
The Lions have 10 seniors, and it's also the number of wins they had last season. The challenges they faced during that rare losing season now are driving a quest for redemption.
"We have been playing together for so long and we have that experience with each other," senior outfielder Jacob Wright said. "Last year, we were all juniors, so that will help us. We learned how to cope with failure, and it taught us how to grow."
The Lions finished 10-13 overall and 5-5 in the MSL-Ohio Division last spring.
"Last year, we had very few guys with varsity experience," said coach Andrew Orlins, who is in his fourth season. "We experienced some adversity and lost some games that we thought we should have won.
"We talk a lot about being able to learn from adversity and use it to make us better. I think we gained a ton of experience last year and worked really hard in the offseason to help this year be a great one."
Bexley started strongly, winning four of its first five games before playing Olentangy Berlin on April 2. The Lions defeated Lebanon (Oregon) 12-3 and lost to Evanston Township (Illinois) 8-3 on March 23 in Vero Beach, Florida.
At home, they defeated Centennial 4-0 on March 26, Utica 7-0 on March 27 and Briggs 12-2 in five innings March 28.
"We have a lot of seniors and high expectations," said senior Vinny Pernotto, who tossed a three-hitter against Utica with three strikeouts and one walk. "Last year, we didn't have a lot of seniors so we had to come together and play. We have to be selfless."
The Lions have six starters back in the field led by senior center fielder Ryan Callahan, who was first-team all-league and all-district in Division II a year ago. The Wright State signee led Bexley in batting average (.453), doubles (10) and stolen bases (16). He also had 13 RBI, scored 19 runs and had a .512 on-base percentage.
Senior Matthew Shapiro (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) is back at catcher after hitting .333 with 13 RBI and 17 runs. Wright (second-team all-league) batted .375 with 13 RBI and 14 runs.
Senior shortstop Anthony Welsh (first-team all-league) batted .418 with 14 runs and 12 stolen bases and had team highs in RBI (16) and on-base percentage (.521). On the mound, he was 1-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 16 innings with 17 strikeouts and 10 walks.
Senior Tyler Lehman returns at second base, and Pernotto plays third when he isn't pitching. Last season, Pernotto was 1-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.
Pernotto joins Welsh and junior Whitaker Noble (honorable mention all-league) as the top starting pitchers. Noble was 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 41 innings last spring.
"The seniors on this team are a great group," Orlins said. "They love being around each other, they are great teammates and they are really good role models for the younger guys. They are a really special group of kids who will continue to have a significant impact on our program."
Senior Carter McClellan, Noble and sophomore Tommy Bloebaum will play first base and senior Connor Moriarty will see time at second. Seniors Isaiah Drewry and Isaac Halter and sophomore Timmy Old also will play in the outfield.
The Lions open MSL-Ohio play Monday, April 8, at home against Whitehall.
Girls lacrosse team has winning attitude
The girls lacrosse team has an influx of young talent as it works to improve on last season's 3-14 finish.
The Lions have only two seniors in attacker Emma Dressel and midfielder Makenzie Cory, but second-year coach Maggie Pope said Bexley has a wealth of talent.
"We have a lot of young talent," Pope said. "We have seven freshmen on varsity, and we not only have a young team but a strong team, so we're pretty excited."
The Lions won their opener, defeating Dayton Chaminade Julienne 23-11 on March 27 as eight players scored multiple goals. Cory and junior attacker Joanna Howson both had four and Dressel had three. Scoring twice were juniors Maia Ben-David (midfielder) and Claire Heilman (attacker) and freshmen Grace Heilman (attacker), Lillian Hoyer (attacker) and Sydney Tyler (midfielder). Freshman goalkeeper Molly Esque had 13 saves.
Grace Heilman had four goals in a 10-8 loss to Pickerington North on March 28.
"We learned to stay positive last year," said Pope, whose team opened Central Independent League action April 2 against Columbus Academy.
"We came out hard starting with the first practice. We worked a lot on stick work and a lot on fundamentals. We can move past (last year), and our young talent has rejuvenated us."
Key defenders include juniors Haven Horton-Kunce and Sidney Poulos and freshmen Rachel Kelly and Adelaide Zamensky.
Rounding out the roster are junior midfielder Kate Benedict, junior defender Andi Meyer, sophomore goalie Audra Fleming and freshman attacker Emma Magee.
"From day one, we have been positive," Pope said. "Every single person wants to be here. The girls see the change and they want to be here. It's a team mentality."
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
April 4 -- Home vs. Groveport
April 6 -- At West Jefferson (DH)
*April 8 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*April 10 -- At Whitehall
April 5 -- At Marysville
April 8 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
April 10 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder
*April 4 -- Home vs. Hartley
*April 9 -- Home vs. Watterson
April 5 -- Home vs. Centerburg
April 6 -- Home vs. Fairfield Christian and Franklin Heights
*April 8 -- At Worthington Christian
April 4 -- Home vs. Watterson
April 8 -- Home vs. St. Charles
TRACK & FIELD
April 6 -- Fairfield Union Falcon Invitational
April 9 -- At Columbus School for Girls with Amanda-Clearcreek, Circleville, Cristo Rey and Madison Christian