Airport, off to a 2-2 start, opens the Region 5-3A campaign Friday at Midland Valley. The Eagles return six starters off last season’s 12-13 squad that finished second in the region race to eventual state champion Brookland-Cayce.
“We have some experience, but we’re still young with only three seniors on the team,” said Eagles manager John Johnson. “Our goal is to improve on what we did last season.”
But while six starters do return, the bulk of the offensive production and two top pitchers left with graduation.
“We’re going to have to have some guys step up,” said Johnson.
The key returning players are juniors WT Murden, Derek Cushman and Lucas Knight. Muden hit .231 and was 3-3 on the mound with three saves in 44.1 innings – the second highest work load on the 2008 staff. Cushman batted .299 with 17 runs and 11 RBIs and was 2-1 on the hill, but had just 11.2 innings of work. Knight was second on the team with a .320 batting average, led the team in runs scored (26), hits (24) and doubles (8) and was second in home runs (2).
Seniors Chris Baldwin and Tyler Sturkie and junior Zack Hawley. All three are looking to pick it up offensively this season. None of the three hit higher than .250.