Fairfield High School baseball coach Tony Haley said the team is young this year, but they’re learning fast.
“Coming back this year, we have a lot of returnees, of course – but most of them are still growing up,” he said. “We’re going to have a young team, but they’re learning pretty quick.”
On the older end, senior Klay Walker will play centerfield this season, a change from playing infield last year.
“He’s a really good athlete. He had a great season playing basketball this year, so he’s adapting really well to center field,” Haley said.
Senior Mason Cain returns to play left field, and is set to have a successful senior year, Haley said.
Cody Gragg, a junior, should be a good player this year, Haley said. He’ll play third base and do some pitching, while left-handed junior Tucker Ayres returns to the mound and first base.
“One thing I really like about this team is we have seven or eight guys who can play infield and outfield, and pitch and short stop – it’s really nice having that flexibility,” he said.
On the sophomore roster, returning players Sam Buddelmeyer, Matt Spears and Austin Setty are all looking good.
“They should get a lot of innings pitching and playing short stop and second,” Haley said, “so they’re doing really well.”
Jake Bowman also returns this season after breaking his hand last year, as well as Eli Potts, who had arm surgery last year and didn’t get to play at all.
“I’m really excited to have Jake come back to catch,” Haley said. “We lost an all-league pitcher and catcher last year, so it’s nice to have him back.
“Like I said, we’re a young team, but I hope one of our strengths is that we play smart,” Haley said. “We play aggressive baseball, so hopefully we can hit a little bit, and we just want to play aggressive on the offensive and defensive end. Our team will give us a really good effort. Win or lose, we’ll play the game hard to the end, and if we get beat, we can live with that – as long as we gave a really good effort that day.”
Haley said the team has their work cut out for them this season.
“Playing in the small division and the Southern Hills Athletic Conference is pretty tough,” he said. “There’s a lot of good teams in it. We’re going to have to be ready to play each and every day.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.