Coach: Matt Ginter, second season.
Last year: The Cardinals finished the season strong and went 20-14. Clark won the 40th District Tournament at Cardinal Field and advanced to the 10th¿Region semifinals, where the Cardinals suffered a 2-1 loss to Bishop Brossart at Whitaker Field in Mount Sterling.
Top players lost: Logan McQuerry, Pokey Harris, Wes Lawwill, Hunter Osborne and Robert Hatler.
Top returnees: Derek McKenzie, Scotty Turner, Brent Stoneking, Luke Sharrock, Aaron Parrish, Steven Davis and Jordan Williams.
Outlook: Ginter, a former pitcher in the major leagues, is looking forward to his second season as skipper of the Cardinals and will center his squad around a pitching staff anchored by McKenzie, a senior and junior Brent Stoneking, who batted .400 last season. “Derek is coming back with 66 innings out of the 100 that was thrown by the other players,” Ginter said. “Stoneking comes back with a good quality of our hits returning, so with kids like that coming back, you feel pretty good about yourselves.” The Cardinals have been conditioning since October in preparation for the upcoming season. Ginter said weather conditions have hindered his team’s on-field workouts, but added his players have responded well in getting used to his system, which emphasizes “bunt plays, defense and pick-off plays.” Aaron Parrish, Eric Estepp and Stoneking will join McKenzie in the team’s four-man staring rotation. Ginter also returns Sharrock, Jordan Williams, Turner, Matt Williams and Davis. “We’ve got a lot of (players) returning, so we’re pretty happy with what’s going on.” Ginter added that newcomers Lucas Carpenter, JV Ferrell, Dylan Frazier and Chandler English could see some time this season on the varsity level. “We’ve just got to get them out there (on the field),” Ginter said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to get them out there (on the field) and see.” Ginter said Montgomery County, Harrison County and Bishop Brossart will be the teams to watch in the 10th Region.
Key to season: Ginter said execution is his team’s top priority. “We have to execute,” Ginter said. “We have some young kids who didn’t get a whole lot of time last year. We don’t need the ESPN play, we just need the everyday play. Make all of the simple plays and I think we’ll be OK.” Ginter’s philosophy remains unchanged from last year. “We’re going to bunt, we’re going to hit-and-run and we’re going to do all of those things to manufacture runs.” Ginter said his team’s weakness is lack of experience, but added that his team’s enthusiasm overshadows the youth factor. “All of the kids are pretty hungry to play,” Ginter said. “There are very few people locked in and they’re going to be competing against each other (for playing time) and I think that hunger will help push each other and raise everybody’s level (of play).”
Quote: “Our goal is to improve game. Not every season, but every game,” Ginter said. “You have to make adjustments and improve every game. We have to learn from our mistakes every game, move on and fix them. If we do that, we’re having a 31- to 32-game tryout to get ready for district.”
Roster: Seniors Jesse Bates, Justin Carrus, Wes Caddell, Ryan Frye, Scotty Turner, Derek McKenzie, Matt Williams. Juniors Christian Cooke, Steven Davis, Eric Estepp, Mason Hisle, Aaron Pope, Zack Roe, Aaron Parrish, Brent Stoneking, Skylar True, Malik Warner. Sophomores Lucas Carpenter, J.V. Ferrell, Cody Hisle, Brad Meadows, Jordan Williams, Luke Sharrock, Sam Barrett.¿Freshmen: Taylor Elliott, Chandler English, Cameron Finley, Dylan Frazier, Aaron Frye, Owen Irvin, Tim Riddell, Greg Meadows, Jordan Menchen, Alex Back, Caleb May.
15 — Mason County, 5:30 p.m.
16 — Fleming County 11 a.m.
vs. Hazard, 3 p.m.
19 — at Scott County, 5:30 p.m.
22 — Dunbar, 5:30 p.m.
23 — Madison Central, 11 a.m.
26 — at East Jessamine, 5:30 p.m.
27 — at Henry Clay, 5:30 p.m.
28 — Scott County, 5:30 p.m.
29 — Woodford County, 5:30 p.m.
4 — at Estill¿County, 5:30 p.m.
5 — Campbell County, 5:30 p.m.
8 — at Paris, 5:30 p.m.
9 — at Bourbon County, 5:30 p.m.
11 — Pendleton County, 5:30 p.m.
15 — at Montgomery County, 5 p.m.
19 — at Bryan Station, 5:30 p.m.
20 — at Henry Clay and Tates Creek,
4 and 7 p.m.
23 — Bourbon County, 5:30 p.m.
27 — at Campbell County, noon
29 — Estll County, 5:30 p.m.
30 — Montgomery County, 5:30 p.m.
2 — at Woodford County, 5:30 p.m.
3-4 — at Franklin County Tournament
6 — Paris, 5:30 p.m.
7 — at Dunbar, 5:30 p.m.
10 — Bryan Station, 5:30 p.m.
11 — at B. Brossart, Boone Co., 12:30 & 3 p.m.
14 — East Jessamine, 5:30 p.m.
15 — at Lexington Catholic, 5:30 p.m.
17 — at Pendleton County, 5:30 p.m.
20-25 — District Tourney at Montgomery Co.