SOC BASEBALL GLANCE
COACH: Steve Antich (fourth year).
LAST YEAR: 21-6, 17-4 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 4-1.
AT A GLANCE: Coming off a year in which South earned its first-ever SOC baseball title, the Panthers certainly carry a target into this season. They also boast four all-conference returns and are considerably more versatile this time around. This year I've got guys who can do a lot of things and play a lot of roles, says Antich. It's going to be nice for us to have that much flexibility. ... South's infield will have a new look save the catcher combination of Ben Koziol and Justin Meyer, who will be asked to steady the newcomers. I fully expect whichever one's back there (at catcher) to be one of the best in the league, says Antich. It's a nice feeling to have the experience that we do back there with those guys. ... It'll be share and share alike around the infield: Imhausen and Wilson at third, Adamson and Odell at shortstop and Boyd and James at first. ... Chancler, a first-team outfielder last year, should make the move to center field seamless and the Panther outfield once again should be a team strength. ... Offensively, South should have no trouble racking up runs with the likes of Chancler, Boyd and Meyer near the top of the order.
COACH: Brett Wolfe (11th year).
LAST YEAR: 21-7, 16-5 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 5-0.
AT A GLANCE: Suarez and Rohrbough get most of the attention as top-flight returning pitchers, but North also returns honorable mention all-state first baseman Eubank and all-SOC shortstop Williamson. Eubank hit .419 last year with 25 RBIs, while Williamson hit .348 with 18 RBIs in shared duty at shortstop and second base. ... Bruhns will be a focal point after taking over at catcher following a stellar four-year run by Rob Folsom, but Wolfe has no concern about Bruhns' ability to handle the attention. Darren is going to have to fill some big shoes, but he can do that, says the coach. He's got the talent, the character and the athletic ability. All we have to do is teach him the skills and he'll be able to take it from there. ... James and Shipley step in to shore up the infield, with Salamone, Schmeltzer and Odom joining all-SOC standout Suarez in the outfield. Suarez hit .377 with 22 RBIs last year. ... Eubank and Odom boast home-run power, but the Tornado will look to hit the gaps this year at its triple-friendly new ballpark. ... McCleery, a 6-foot-4 right-hander, has made a strong bid for the No. — spot, which would help keep Williamson at shortstop to anchor the defense.
COACH: Troy Thompson (third year).
LAST YEAR: 12-14, 10-11 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 2-2.
AT A GLANCE: Roseburg, which won nine of its final 10 games last year, is loaded and is a leading contender for the school's first SOC championship since 1999. Keitzman, an all-conference left-hander, is a third-year starter and is joined by Cook to provide a formidable 1-2 pitching punch. Blake has as much experience as anyone on the team, says Thompson. He played as a freshman, so it's not like he's your typical junior. ... Cook is more of a power pitcher, while Keitzman is crafty but still has more than enough pop to keep hitters off balance. Right-handers Thompson and McLaughlin will be asked to step up as a potential No. — starter for the Indians. ... Brigham was an honorable mention all-state utility player last season and will split time at shortstop and first base. Leadoff hitter Keitzman and Buxton in the No. — batting spot do a good job of setting the table for Brigham, who can go to all fields with power. ... The entire outfield returns and is steady defensively from left to right in Nelson, Keitzman and Clark, while Buxton is smooth at second and Benson solid behind the plate. There isn't an easy out in the bunch.
COACH: Stacy Morgan (17th year).
LAST YEAR: 13-13, 11-10 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 0-3.
AT A GLANCE: Ten seniors and seven returning starters give rise to great optimism at GP, where the Cavemen essentially return all but one starter on the infield and have fourth-year starter Allen back to patrol the outfield. With this group of kids, says Stacy Morgan, if we're within one or two runs, I don't think we're ever going to be out of it. ... Mills was a second-team all-state pick last year. He's one of our staples that we're going to look to, says the coach. He brings a lot of things to the table. ... Nolan Morgan is making his return to active duty since a torn ACL and MCL halted his football campaign in Week 2 and kept him out of basketball. The pitcher/outfielder wears a bulky brace but is rounding back into form. ... Morgan, Murray, Mills and Schaff provide an experienced rotation, with Zamora and Dolmage adding to the depth. ... Donnelly is among a host of solid catchers in the SOC who go all-out on the field and can provide some pop at the plate. ... Fly balls won't have much chance with the speedy Allen and Dolmage covering the outfield. Dolmage has already had standout football and basketball seasons, and the scary thing for the SOC is the fact that baseball is considered to be his best sport.
Tim Simmers (fourth year).
LAST YEAR: 11-15, 8-13 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 1-4.
AT A GLANCE: Bennett, a first-team all-SOC pitcher, stands to be the catalyst again for KU. The steady right-hander has a knack for keeping hitters off balance and is a prime threat at the plate. The thing about Daniel is, day in and day out he will compete, says Simmers. He's a true competitor and you always love to have that on your team. Like he's shown as quarterback in football and in basketball, he may be outmanned or outsized but he gives in to no one. ... Huntley returns as a solid No. 2, with Bray serving as the only lefty in the rotation. Montgomery is penciled in as the team's No. — hurler. ... Half of KU's losses last year were by two runs or less. That's a hurdle we're going to try to get over this year, says Simmers. ... Anderson, Montgomery, Cornachione and Bennett will be asked to shoulder the load for a reasonably inexperienced squad that has struggled at the plate thus far. We've had moments of real positive cuts by the kids but we're not grooving them together, says the coach. We're going to have to manufacture some runs again if we're going to have success. We haven't had a lot of long-ballers lately.
Tom Britton (27th year).
LAST YEAR: 6-20, 4-17 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 3-2.
AT A GLANCE: Although young in age, Britton considers this group one of the best he's had from top to bottom in quite some time. Augino is a returning all-conference player and anchors a defense that returns Staller at second and Nichols in center field. I think up the middle we're as good as anybody in the league, says Britton. Our second and shortstop tandem are as good as you'll see anywhere. ... Grieve's move from behind the plate to third stands to only add to EP's defensive capabilities. He's probably our best athlete, Britton says. He could be all-conference at first, third, pitcher or behind the plate. Derek's really valuable because we can put him anywhere and he really helps us. ... Birch is a transfer from Eugene who has shown a potent bat early in the season. ... Right-handers Grieve, Staller and Bateman head the rotation. No one right now is really No. 1, 2 or 3, says Britton. They're all capable of stepping on the mound and winning, and they're all exceptionally smart kids. Grieve is more of a power pitcher, while Staller relies on guile and Bateman is unorthodox but effective. ... Augino and Staller kick-start the offense, with Britton seeing little difference between his Nos. 3-9 hitters.
Jim Powell (third year).
LAST YEAR: 9-16, 8-13 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 3-2.
AT A GLANCE: Carrying 10 seniors last year didn't leave room for many returners, but Reina and Weiss should provide some stability for the newcomers to rally around. Reina stepped in last year as a freshman and was one of the more consistent Comets, while Weiss is fleet-footed in the outfield and handles the bat well. You'd have to go back about 11 years to find a roster for Crater where we've had this young of a team, says Powell. ... Of utmost importance is finding a few pitchers. The Comets don't return a single hurler with varsity experience, but they do have solid prospects in right-handers Thomas, Weiss, Davidson, Zelecki and Ogle. We're going to have to rely on hitting our spots and keeping batters off balance, says Powell. We're not going to overpower anybody. ... Schmidt boasts home-run power and should have plenty of RBI chances hitting behind Reina, Weiss and Grabowski. ... The infield is all new save for Reina and, as with most of the lineup, will face a trial by fire. All those guys need to step it up, says Powell. They've been playing solid, but in our league I don't think you can just be solid. You've really got to be good for us to compete with the guys we need to compete with.
Don Senestraro (first year).
LAST YEAR: 15-12, 10-11 SOC.
CURRENT RECORD: 2-3.
Aaron San NicholasP/OFJr.
Andrew Del CarloOF/1B/PSr.
AT A GLANCE: This is Senestraro's first run as a varsity coach, but he has guided Ashland's senior Babe Ruth program the past few years and been part of Ashland baseball for the past 10 years. I've taught these kids since some of them were 8 years old, he says of an easy transition thus far. ... Paving the way this year will be Jorgensen, who has a proven track record as a clutch hitter and emotional leader for the Grizz. He's the catalyst for our team, says Senestraro. He's just a great kid who keeps the other kids running at 100 percent. ... San Nicholas steps into the No. — pitching slot after a solid showing last year. The right-hander possesses a nice blend of power and guile on the mound. Gaviglio, another righty, has the talent to take the SOC by storm as the Grizzlies' No. 2 pitcher despite his sophomore status. If I could get 50-plus innings from both of those guys, I'd be really happy, says Senestraro ... Although Jorgensen, Del Carlo and Meza have shown an ability to go deep, Senestraro says his team is better suited to take advantage of its speed and athleticism. I'd rather see more triples and doubles than home runs, says the coach.