|2010 COVINGTON BUCCANEERS...
The Covington Buccaneers continue to build a strong program with increased numbers and continued success.
Covington coach Mitch Hirsch likes what he sees out of his baseball program despite only having two seniors on the roster. That's because Hirsch has 35 kids in inform, 33 of those in the junior, sophomore and freshman classes.
The lone returning senior is catcher Adam Craft, with Nick Long returning after a year away from the program.
Of the ten juniors on the roster, nine will see varsity playing time, including returning starters Jake Bitner and Andrew DeHart. Jake Stewart, Brandon Flora and Ben Wilson all saw significant varsity action as well last season and look to find more action in 2010.
Sophomores Brandon Powell, Steven Blei and Isaiah Winston also return after seeing action at both junior varsity and varsity last season.
Juniors CJ Poling, Corey Haines and Dylan Fortner, along with sophomore Christian Carder move up to the varsity level after stellar seasons last year at the reserve level.
With all of the returning experience Covington has on its roster, the key will be finding a dependable rotation on the mound. Andy Sparks, Nate Lavey and Kyle Kanet all graduated, leaving open opportunities for others to carry on the tradition of pitching excellence.
Jake Bitner and Jake Stewart proved dependable last season and they will be relied upon to carry the load in 2010.
Should the junior duo falter, sophomores Brandon Powell and Steven Blei, along with junior CJ Poling will be counted on to step in and contribute at a moment's notice.
Over the past few seasons the Buccaneers have been able to score runs in bunches and Hirsch hopes that trend continues in 2010. But with the absence left behind from a talented senior class last season, younger players will be expected to pick up the slack.
Adam Craft has always provided the pop in the lineup, capable of changing the game with one swing. Andrew DeHart had a breakout season at the plate last season as a sophomore. Bitner has been a dependable hitter, hitting for average since starting as a freshman, and will be counted on to continue to spark the Buccs as a leadoff hitter.
The unknown for Covington is the rest of the batting order considering the varsity inexperience in the lineup. Fortunately Hirsch and his staff has been able to develop good hitters and 2010 shouldn't be any different as the youngsters step into the lineup.
The junior varsity team has a boat load of talented kids who can be called up to the varsity level at any time. Seventeen freshman, two sophomores and two juniors will be vying for reserve action in preparation for stepping into the varsity lineup should the call come.
Due to the increased numbers to the program, Covington will be playing a freshman schedule as well.
It's all part of the evolution of a program that has grown in the Mitch Hirsch Era.