Last season, the Community R-VI Trojans baseball team advanced to the district championship before falling to Sturgeon.
One year later, many of the players return but the squad now has a new head coach and it will be playing in a new district.
Both changes could be setting up the Trojans for a possible postseason run at the end of the season.
Brandon Talbot is the team’s new coach and he will be assisted by Nathan Carroz.
Talbot was previously at New Bloomfield, where he led his team to a 2011 state championship.
“And I’d like to get back there (to state),” he said.
Talbot also played college baseball at William Woods University. He later played some semiprofessional baseball with the Gateway Grizzlies.
This year’s team is returning a lot of key contributors.
The list includes Gatlin Curtis (IF), Zane Meador (OF, 1B, P), Lane Thebeau (P, OF), Clay Thebeau (P, OF), Johnny Hicks (Util.), Avery Carline (OF), Tristan Hoeflicker (OF), Kyle Curtis (OF, P, 1B), Luke Robison (OF), Doug Davenport (P, SS/2B), Jamie Householder (C, OF), and Colin Dungan (IF, SS/2B).
The Trojans will now play in Class 1, District 11 at Madison. The district features the host Panthers, Marion County, North Shelby, Silex, and Wellsville.
“We have a good group of returning seniors and with them redoing districts this year, I think we have a good shot at our districts this year,” Talbot said. “And we have a really tough conference…It prepares us for districts and afterwards. We hope to finish at the top of the EMO and come out of our district. We lost districts last year and it is one hump we want to really get over this year.”
Offensively, Talbot is liking his ability to put up to four left handed batters in the lineup.
He said he’ll set it as lefty-righty, lefty-righty to give the other team’s pitchers a challenge throughout the game.
This will allow the Trojans to run on the base paths more as the left handed hitters hide the view from the catcher. He also said many of his players are quick.
“We can play small ball and hit for average and we can hit for power also,” Talbot added.
Defensively, he said the team is looking good and it has a lot of left-handed throwers. He said the unit is very versatile.
His goal for his pitching staff is for starters to go five innings. He said pitching depth will help his starters to not have to pitch full games.
“We need to get kids to focus on five strong innings,” Talbot added.
The Trojans first home game is Friday, March 20 against district foe Madison at 5 p.m.