By Andrew Glover
PERKINS, Okla. —
There will be several new faces leading area high school baseball teams as the 2013 season is about to start.
Kevin Miner, who was an assistant coach at Perkins-Tryon the past 10 seasons takes over for Bobby Buck, who retired after more than 20 years of coaching.
“I’m excited,” Miner said. “Being from Perkins, I have high hopes for this team.”
The Demons return half their starters from a team that went 24-11 and reached the regional finals. Miner said his team needs to develop pitchers.
“We only have one regular pitcher returning,” Miner said. “We are spending a lot of time developing players to pitch. We got a good number of players.”
Miner hopes his team continues where it left off.
“We were the top seed at regionals,” Miner said. “We’ve dropped down to 3A, hopefully that will make a difference. I think we are capable if we improve throughout the season.”
Chase Langley takes over at Perry and hopes to lead the team further than last season’s district tournament. Langley said he has an experienced team, adding they are hitting the ball well.
“We are getting better at hitting,” Langley said. “Some of that is because we’ve haven’t practiced outside. They played during the summer and did well.”
Langley hopes his team can take the district title and make a run in the playoffs adding his upper upperclassmen will be key.
“I have several under underclassmen and need the seniors to pick up the slack,” Langley said.
Tim Hatter takes the reins at Morrison and is looking to lead them on a deep playoff run. The coach said he has great senior leadership and thinks they will do well in the conference.
“We should compete with everyone in the conference,” Hatter said. “Glencoe is probably a step above everybody.”
Mark Davis coaches his first season at Carney. The coach said he will be relying on his seniors.
“I expect them to carry the load,” Davis said. “They are guys that have been around and hopefully they will pick up the slack.”
The Ripley Warriors are looking to build off their fall season, where they were a victory short of making it to regionals. Coach Donnie Hoffman said one of the nice things about the spring is playing against schools the same size.
“Six of the eight teams that made the state tournament were 2A or above,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said he hopes to see improvement in pitching in the spring.
The Glencoe Panthers are also looking to build off their regional run. Coach Tony Cazzelle said he anticipates his team will be ranked in the top of Class A but added it might take some time for his players to get back into baseball shape since most of his starters are on the basketball team.
“We might have some ugly games at the beginning,” Cazzelle said. “Once we get our timing down on hitting, we should do pretty well.”
Mulhall-Orlando is looking to get past districts in the spring. Coach Brett Converse said he’s going to shuffle the lineup.
“I’m moving Preston Converse from clean-up to leadoff because he’s more comfortable there,” Converse said. “I’m moving Sam Schwartz to clean-up because we have more power.”
The Cushing Tigers are hoping to make it past regionals. Coach Charles Copeland said his team is fairly young as it will not have a senior starter, adding he still has confidence in his team.
“We hope we are playing our best baseball on May 1,” Copeland said. “We want to improve every game between now and then.”
The Agra Bearcats are looking to get past districts. Coach Mark Bingham said his team is experienced and hopes it pays off.
“Hopefully we can finish above .500,” Bingham said. “We want to able to win our district and take shot at regionals. I couldn’t tell you the last time Agra was in a regional.”
The Frontier Mustangs hope to gain more experience in the spring. Coach Mike Allen said he only has a couple of players that have played baseball. The coach said playing against smaller schools should help.
“It will help us gain confidence,” Allen said. “I don’t think we played two teams (in the fall) that weren’t ranked.”