|2014 COVINGTON BUCCANEERS...
There will be plenty of new faces taking the baseball field for the Covington Buccaneers in 2014.
The Covington Buccaneers enter the 2014 season fresh off a 14-11 record of a year ago after winning 10 of 11 game and nine in row before falling to Russia by the score of 2-1 in the sectional tournament.
And with the loss of nine seniors, the Buccaneers have some holes to fill as the entire infield other than third base will see new faces.
"Anytime you lose a big senior class it's going to be tough," said Covington coach Mitch Hirsch. "But so far this group is really into it. We have a lot of younger kids who are pretty talented, so we're optimistic."
The lone starter returning to the infield is senior Daine Peters at third base. He'll be joined by sophomore Jared Williams or freshman Nathan Blei at short, junior Drew Schaurer at second and senior Jake Albright at first.
Junior Sam Sherman and senior Zakk Collins will split time behind the plate, while a host of Buccaneers will see time on the hill; including seniors Justin Williams, Jake Albright and Zakk Collins, juniors Adam Lefeld and Ty Boehringer, sophomore Jared Williams, and freshmen Nathan Blei and Tristan Sowers.
Manning the outfield will be senior Justin Williams in center, junior Austin Lefeld in left and sophomore James Grilliot in right.
"The kids have worked very hard and have been so much fun to coach," said Hirsch. "Our younger kids have stepped up so far, but you really never know what you have until game situations."
Even with a significant turnover in its roster, Covington still has expectations of challenging in the Cross County Conference.
"That's always the first goal, to challenge in the league," said Hirsch. "Going in, we already know Tri-County North, Miami East and Arcanum are probably the teams to beat."
The Buccs open at New Knoxville and Anna before the home opener against Milton Union. A double-header at home with Lehman follows and Versailles comes to town before Covington opens Cross County Conference play against Tri-Village on April the 8th.
"We have a scrimmage at St. Henry and our first six games are non-league games, so we're hoping we can gel a little bit before we get into league play," said Hirsch.
Something Hirsch is optimistic about considering the temperament of his young squad.
"This is one of the most enthusiastic groups I've had in a while," he said. "When you have a group that's excited about baseball it makes practices more productive. I think this group will grow up in a hurry."
And hopefully be playing its best baseball come tournament time.