In talking with members of the Elkhart baseball team, last year’s state tournament loss still resonates, strongly.
From the infield dirt in, the Elkhart team taking the field in 2013 will look exactly like the one that walked off of it in 2012.
Led by all-state players Levi Smith (Stephen F. Austin) and Jacob Cheatham (Cisco College), the Elks return every starter from a solid infield in 2012, and lose only one pitcher.
Jordan White and Cheatham should lead the Elks pitching staff, which will have to deal with the loss of do-it-all star Cam Reeves from a year ago, but both White and Cheatham — along with Cole Bridges and Hunter Parker —logged quality innings a year ago.
Also returning is second baseman Brian Johnson, who had a breakout year up the middle for the Elks.
The only question mark, it seems, for the third-ranked Elks will be how to replace a strong outfield completely lost to graduation.
SEASON OPENER: 5:30 Monday, vs. Timpson
Under first-year coach Kyle Dezern last season, the Frankston baseball team fell one spot short of playoff qualification, finishing fourth.
The Indians will look to returning stars like senior Cole Shoemaker (SS) and sophomores Waylon Morris (P/OF) and Jordan Thomas (P/OF) — all of whom earned Dogwood Circle honors last year — to lead them to the postseason in 2013.
The Indians possess strong senior leadership, with seniors like Hunter Mewbourn (C), Tye Griffin (1B) and J.J. Kummer (3B) taking leadership roles alongside Shoemaker to form a savvy, veteran-filled infield.
The one weak-spot for the Indians in 2013 might be on the mound, where youth reigns supreme.
SEASON OPENER: 6 p.m. Monday, vs. Westwood
Many programs couldn’t handle the losses sustained by Cayuga due to graduation last year. But, the Wildcats are again focusing on a deep playoff run in 2013.
Having lost stars Jimmy Johnson, Jake Nash and Bo Sharp to graduation, the Wildcats must replace an all-state pitcher, do-it-all utility player and big-hitting first baseman.
Senior and Vernon College-signee Chantz Holland will lead the way, taking over the ace mantle from Johnson and also playing a significant role in the infield.
Move-ins Chandler and Wesley Rigdon should also help fill some gaps. Chandler went 7-2 on the mound as was his district’s Offensive Player of the Year last season as a freshman at Turkey Valley, while Wesley batted in the third-spot for that same team.
Also returning for the Wildcats are all-district infielder Payton Wallace, left-handed pitcher Hunter Jenkins and center fielder and pitcher Hunter Johnson.
SEASON OPENER: TBA Thursday, Alto tournament