|2012 COVINGTON BUCCANEERS...
The Covington Buccaneers lost a ton of talent to graduation, but have the potential to challange in the league once again.
The Covington Buccaneers embark on another season with a young baseball team full of potential, even with the loss of a talented senior class from a year ago.
In all, Covington saw eight seniors graduate and return just seven returning letterman from a year ago.
"We have some good kids coming back, but at the same time we are relatively young," assessed Covington coach Mitch Hirsch of his 2012 Buccaneers. "We lost our entire outfield, a three-year starting catcher, a pitcher and our first baseman. Those will be big holes to fill."
Fortunately for Hirsch, he has kids who have the potential to fill those holes with seniors Steven Blei and Dustin Hildreth providing leadership.
Blei is a four-year starter at third base and has experience on the mound, while Hildreth will also provide Hirsch another arm to go to when needed.
"Blei and (Austin) Angle will be our top two (on the mound)," Hirsch said. "(Kyler) Deeter, (Justin) Williams and Hildreth will see time in the rotation as well. The key for us is who can step up behind Blei and Angle."
Covington's infield defense will be stout once again with the return of Blei, Bryton Lear and Sheldon Rank.
But the outfield positions are up for grabs.
"We'll find out who can play," Hirsch said. "I'm comfortable with where we are with our infield, so the play of our outfield will be a key for us."
Especially if Covington wants to accomplish its goal of challenging the top teams in the CCC in 2012.
"Our goal is to be right up there in the league," said Hirsch. "If we play the way we are capable of, we can hang with anybody. Our timing is a little off right now with our hitting, but that will come with playing more games. Hopefully we can get our timing down, stiffen up our defense and make a good run at this (the CCC)."
Which will be a challenge considering there are several teams in the CCC that will field powerful teams.
"Tri-County North and Miami East are probably the favorites because of what they have coming back," Hirsch continued. "Bethel had a very good summer, so watch out for them. Tri-Village is another team that could make some noise too. We're hoping we can be right there with those guys in the end."
Hirsch and the Buccs have never backed down from a challenge and despite the youth on the the team the expectations remain high for another successful season of Buccaneer baseball.