East Hardy returns several key players from last year's squad that posted a solid 15-10 record.
The Cougars boast an offense and a pitching staff that bring ample experience, but one major question mark is hanging over the preseason. That is the status of two-time all-state pitcher Jaime Miller.
"He is having some arm trouble right now, and we are hopeful that it is something he can bounce back from," head coach Raymond Snapp said. "With him, we feel that we can compete with anybody, but if we are not going to have him for some time, we will definitely need some younger guys to step up."
Photo courtesy of Carl Holcomb
East Hardy’s Jaime Miller will return as one of the Cougars’ top players in 2012.
Snapp welcomes back a strong stable of position players. This group is led by the Fultz brothers in the middle infield. Kollin Fultz, a senior, returns at second base, with Korey Fultz returning at shortstop. The brothers also pitch. Junior Tyler Mongold returns at third base, and will also help with the pitching staff.
Miller and junior Shawn Skovron return in the outfield, with Noah Orndorff expected to also see action.
Wyatt Basey, a junior, was the backup at catcher in 2011, but is expected to be the primary receiver in 2012.
Justin Basey is expected to see some action at first base; last year he played at both first and third base as well as the outfield. Depending on the outcome of Miller's arm injury, he may see some time at first base Snapp said
Other players expected to see action on the mound will be Skovron, and Cole Collier who should also see some outfield time. Snapp is looking for some utility help from outfielder Cody Walker and first baseman Brady Hinkle.
"We feel like we can have an outstanding season," Snapp said. "Regardless, we are going to need the pitching to work out for us, and the new guys in the lineup are going to need to produce.
"We have some strong veteran players that will be counted upon for leadership."
The Cougars will open the season with three straight road contests.
East Hardy will begin its season at Keyser on March 16 before traveling to Petersburg on March 21 and Washington on March 24.
The Cougars' first home game is scheduled for March 27 when they entertain Tygarts Valley for a Potomac Valley Conference contest.