|2013 COVINGTON BUCCANEERS...
Led by a strong senior class, the Covington Buccaneers have strength in numbers, which hopefully leads to a strong run in 2013.
Even with ten seniors on the roster, Covington enters the 2013 season with a feeling of the unknown.
That's because the weather has wreaked havoc on Covington's preparation this spring as the team has rarely been able to get out to the baseball field.
"It's too early to tell," said Hirsch when asked about what to expect from his team in 2013. "We haven't been outside enough to really get a feel for how well we mesh together. We've been cooped up in the gym."
What Hirsch does know is he has a talented senior class consisting of Austin Angle, Kyler Deeter, Bryton Lear, Sheldon Rank, Cole Owens, Brock Smith, D.J. Segar, Matthew Hubbard, Ryan Boehringer and Isaac Canan.
"We have a good senior group," Hirsch said. "Austin (Angle), Bryton (Lear) and Kyler (Deeter) have played a few years at the varsity level, so that helps from a leadership standpoint."
Also returning to the varsity level are juniors Austin Lefeld and Justin Williams, while juniors Zakk Collins and Dain Peters join the varsity lineup. Peters is a move-in from Washington.
"We should be able to put runs on the board and I'm pretty confident our defense will be pretty solid," Hirsch explained. "Even when we aren't hitting well we should be able to manufacture runs. The key for us will be pitching."
And Hirsch has plenty of arms to go to on the mound.
"That's the good thing," he said. "Austin (Angle) will probably be our number one and we're hoping we can get Cole (Owens) back to baseball form. Sunshine (Justin Williams), Seldon (Rank), Bryton (Lear), Dain (Peters), Kyler (Deeter) and (Austin) Lefeld will all be able to come in and give us some innings."
Owens has the potential to be a key in the Covington rotation, despite this being his first year of baseball since junior high.
"Cole has the tools," Hirsch said. "He hasn't thrown for a long time, so it's a matter of getting him comfortable with his mechanics and getting him to throw more consistent. It's really the same with all of our pitchers, getting them comfortable to where they throw strikes."
And Hirsch has little time if the Buccs hope to challenge in a very competitive Cross County Conference.
"From looking at what they have back from last year, Arcanum, Miami East and Tri-County North look like the teams to beat," said Hirsch of the CCC. "Tri-Village has their best pitcher back (Kyle Pipenger), so they should be pretty good too. Really, it's too early to tell where we stack up."
But Hirsch hopes to find out in a hurry.
"The first couple of weeks we'll try to figure things out," Hirsch explained. "We hope to come together and peak for the tournament."
Which would be just the right time.