Pitching looks to be the strong suit of a Trojan baseball team that won its regional last year.
Hillsboro will have a starting staff of four pitchers — seniors Jacob Edwards and Tyler Ediger and juniors Jacob Fish and Dylan Delk.
Edwards received all-state honors last season. Head Baseball Coach Doug Dick said that Edwards is the hardest thrower in the Mid-Central Activities Association.
“The other starting pitchers from last season are all stronger and are showing better control with more velocity than last season,” Dick said.
Junior Matt Martin and sophomore Luke Moore pitched in relief last season and newcomers, freshmen Lucas Sinclair, Kale Arnold, and Blake Crawford, could also see time on the pitching rubber.
When Edwards is not on the mound, he leads a returning group of position players. He shows his athletic prowess by patrolling center field and is an accomplished hitter.
Junior Aaron Bina also returns as the Trojan’s starting catcher.
“Aaron is a skilled, intelligent catcher, with an improved arm, which means improved defense behind the plate this year,” Dick said.
While centerfield and catcher are accounted for, the Trojans are looking to fill the two other spots of their up-the-middle defense. Junior newcomer Ben Gardner has shown flash with the glove and power at the plate and is tapped to replace departed senior Daniel Jost at shortstop. Moore is the likely candidate to win the starting second base job.
Dick thinks the team will hit, which may cover up any inexperience on defense.
“Our batting lineup this season looks strong, both with some power and the ability to get on base,” Dick said.
The team is returning seven starters from the team that placed second in the MCAA last season and Dick has high expectations for the group.
“I believe that if we work hard and stay focused, we should be able to win the league this year and return to the state tournament,” Dick said. “I believe that the success of this year’s team will not only be determined by its talent and skills, but also by how it continues to improve on the little things that make up being a championship-level team.”
Cory Abbot and Aaron Wintermote make up the last of 11 returning players. The Trojans have a roster of 18 players.