A preseason look at area high school baseball teams:
Coach: Kyle Wynn
2011 record: 22-11 (lost to Lincoln County in 45th District semifinal)
Top returnees: Connor Blevins, Jr. OF-RHP; Billy Joe Bryington, Jr. 3B-DH; Jarrett Payne, Jr. 3B-RHP; Jacob Pike, Sr. OF-LHP; Jacob Preston, Jr. OF-RHP; Kody Ross, Sr. SS; Casey Whittle, Jr. 1B-RHP; Clay Young, Sr. C.
Key statistics: Ross, who recently signed with Shawnee State, led the Rebels in batting for the third straight year, hitting .443 with 30 RBIs. Blevins hit .387, and Young also had 30 RBIs along with six home runs. Whittle was 3-1 with a 5.91 ERA; Preston was 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA.
Outlook: The big change at Boyle is in the dugout, where Wynn, a former Centre College assistant, replaces longtime skipper David Camic. He inherits a team that was young last year and figures to get better with age.
The Rebels are strongest up the middle, with seniors Young at catcher, Ross at shortstop and Pike in center field, and Wynn said a solid core of juniors and seniors means they can use but won’t have to rely on younger players.
There are questions about their pitching. Whittle and Preston have ascended to the top of the rotation, but behind them there isn’t much experience.
Coach’s comments: “I look forward to watching our team develop over the course of the year. A lot of hard work was done in the offseason, and we are still learning. It will be exciting to see the pieces fall into place, and I believe we will be playing good baseball by the end of the year.
20 — at Anderson County, 5:30; 23 — MERCER COUNTY, 5; 24 — PRESTONSBURG, 10 a.m.; 24 — LETCHER COUNTY CENTRAL, 5:30; 27 — at Collins, 6; 29 — DANVILLE, 5:30; 30 — at Dixie Heights, 7:30; 31 — Covington Catholic at Conner, 12:30; 31 — at Conner, 3.
5 — PULASKI COUNTY, 1; 5 — BELLEVUE, 6; 6 — WOODFORD COUNTY (DH), 1; 9 — LINCOLN COUNTY, 5; 12 — at Garrard County, 5:30; 13-14 — Elizabethtown Tournament; 17 — at Danville, 7:30; 20 — WEST JESSAMINE, 6; 21 — at East Jessamine, 11 a.m.; 24 — at Lincoln County, 7; 27 — BURGIN, 7:30; 28 — MADISON CENTRAL, 11 a.m.; 28 — SOMERSET, 4.
1 — GARRARD COUNTY, 5:30; 5 — Grayson County at Mercer County, 12:30; 5 — at Mercer County, 3; 8 — ANDERSON COUNTY, 5:30; 10 — EAST JESSAMINE, 5; 12 — CASEY COUNTY, 2; 15 — at West Jessamine, 5:30; 17 — COLLINS, 6; 18 — at Casey County, 5.
Coach: Greg Harlow
2011 record: 3-20 (lost to Mercer County in 46th District semifinal)
Top returnees: Hunter Harrison, So. C-P; Mason Myers, So. IF-C-P; Jared Robbins, Sr. IF-P; Austin Shewmaker, Sr. OF.
Key statistics:Burgin gave up 10 or more runs 15 times in 23 games last season. The Bulldogs were also shut out eight times and held to one run in three other games.
Outlook: Burgin lost five seniors to graduation but has the majority of its pitching and offensive production returning. There is plenty of talent returning from last season, and even more young talent coming on board, according to Harlow, but this is a very young team.
It’s a team that has to learn how to win, which will start with learning how to score. The Bulldogs managed only 80 runs in 23 games in 2011, and they must improve in that department to see their win total rise dramatically.
Their defense will be strongest up the middle, with the core of their infield returning, but there will be three new outfielders, with veteran Shewmaker likely moving to center field to anchor the group.
Coach’s comments: "Everyone hates to hear another team’s coach talk about how young their team is, but honestly, this year’s team is as young a team as I can recall at Burgin in some time. When you take four or five senior starters out of the lineup, it is going to hurt some. However, we have a good group of young talent to complete our lineup."
16 — at Owen County, 6; 19 — at Sayre, 5:30; 20 — GARRARD COUNTY, 5:30; 24 — at Casey County, Noon; 24 — Hart County at Casey County, 2; 26 — at Danville (12th Region All “A” Classic semifinal), 5; 27 — FRANKFORT, 5:30; 30 — WESTERN, 6; 31 — WAYNE COUNTY, Noon.
10 — at Mercer County, 5:30; 12 — at West Jessamine, 5:30; 13 — at Model (Bluegrass Conference Tournament first round), 5:30; 14 — at Garrard County, 1; 17 — at East Jessamine, 7:30; 20 — ADAIR COUNTY, 6; 21 — Bluegrass Conference Tournament at Sayre; 23 — at Madison Southern, 5:30; 27 — at Boyle County, 7:30; 30 — LINCOLN COUNTY, 5:30.
1 — BEREA, 5:30; 3 — at Bardstown, 6; 4 — at Adair County, 6; 7 — at Lincoln County, 5:30; 8 — PARIS, 6; 10 — CASEY COUNTY, 5:30; 11 — MODEL, 5:30; 14 — at Frankfort, 5:30; 15 — MADISON SOUTHERN, 5:30; 17 — SAYRE, 5:30.
Coach: Greg Hammond
2011 record: 9-19 (lost to Somerset in 47th District semifinal)
Top returnees: Alex Atwood, Jr. 2B, P; Luke Atwood, Sr. OF; Daniel Bastin, Sr. 2B, P; Hunter Christian, So. C; Tyler Hayes, Sr. SS, P; Keaton Kleffman, Sr. 1B; Chris Lee, Sr. OF, P; Jordan Sallee, Sr. 3B; Logan Weddle, Sr. OF.
Key statistics: The Rebels gave up 10 runs or more nine times last season and allowed 7.6 per game, up from 6.4 in 2012.
Outlook: Hammond takes over as coach from Todd Carman, coming to Casey after serving as an assistant coach for 2011 state champion Central Hardin. He inherits a team long on experience — there are seven seniors at the top of the roster — but short on success.
The Rebels did get better over the last two seasons, but they still gave up runs in bunches to the better teams on their schedule, and the pitching will have to improve to keep that from happening again.
There are veteran players all over the diamond, and Hammond said they are working developing the discipline he said they need to compete.
Coach’s comments: "We have to be mentally tough. Right now we are not mentally tough enough, but are working hard on improving that. We have to have that winning mentality to compete. It’s easy to have faith and discipline when things are going good. What we have to have is faith and discipline when things don't go well. When we learn to overcome that, we can be contenders."