BLANCHARD — Montabella’s baseball team will be a little short-handed going into the 2012 season.
The Mustangs have only 11 players on the team, and all are important according to coach Matt Hynes.
“With only 11 players on the varsity team, I have seen each one of our players, from the five seniors to the one freshman, step up and be the leader of the team at some point in practice,” Hynes said.
Hynes will have to indoctrinate some new players in the batting order.
“We are replacing six starters from last year, so everyone this year will be a key player for the team,” Hynes said.
This team will be senior-laden, as seven of the eight returning letterwinners are seniors.
Nate Bandfield and Travis Dunn are back pitching for Montabella. Bandfield was honorable mention all-conference in the Mid-State Activities Conference last season, while Dunn was second-team all-conference.
“Bandfield and Dunn (2nd Team all-conference) will return and both will be in the pitching rotation and play in the middle infield,” Hynes said.
“Drew Burggren will return in the starting lineup and play in the outfield.”
Despite the lack of numbers, Hynes likes his team.
“I think we will have a strong infield and beginning of the batting order,” he said. “We also have a smart outfield. We have a group of players that are very hard working and are willing to sacrifice their personal goals for the team.”
Hynes said his outlook on the season is “unknown.”
“Depending on how we work in games and practices, with dictate whether we have a successful season,” he said. “From what I have seen so far this season, I believe that we will have a good season.”
Hynes thinks Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart “will be the team to beat in the MSAC.
“After them, the race is very even between the other four teams,” he said.
Montabella has played only one doubleheader so far, and that was a pair of 10-0 losses to Merrill. They will go to Lakeview for their next action April 10.