Last season was a learning experience for the Beallsville baseball team.
Second-year head coach Joe Kress hopes that education will translate into an improved performance this spring.
''Last year was a great turnaround for the Blue Devils, even though the record didn't reflect it,'' he said. ''We lost six games by two runs or less, which cost us a winning season.
T-L Photo/RICK THORP
Pictured are the key returnees for the Beallsville baseball team. Bottom, from left, Kris Palmer, Dawson Weekley and Chase Mercer. Top, from left, are Aaron West, Lance Goddard, Dalton Secrest and Hunter Sylvis. Absent was Logan Nippert.
''The boys doubted themselves during the first part of the season. They made a great turnaround and played great baseball.''
The Blue Devils return eight letterwinners.
''Dalton Secrest will be starting at first base and will also see time pitching,'' Kress said. ''Dalton is a senior leader and will push the team each game.''
Chad Louden returns at second. Kress said he'll also provide pitching depth.
Lance Goddard, too, could see time time on the mound. His main job will be manning the hot corner.
''He's another great, reliable defensive player,'' Kress noted.
Chris Palmer will assume responsibilities behind the plate.
Chase Mercer will be the every day player at short.
''Chase played center field last year and was moved because of injuries,'' Kress said. ''Chase is an asset to the team.''
Seniors John Dietrich and Aaron West will spend most of their time in the outfield, according to Kress. They are hoped to be joined on the field by classmate Logan Nippert.
''Logan pulled a muscle in his shoulder and his rehabbing it,'' Kress explained.
Levi Brown is another outfield candidate, along with Daniel ''Moon'' Morris.
Utility players for the Blue Devils include Hunter Sylvis (OF-IF), Dawson Weekley (OF-1B) and Garrett Brown (OF-P).
''Early in the season, errors cost us and the team knows what needs to be done this season,'' he said. ''This team has talent, but my players have to give it every game.''
Kress is assisted by Ty English and Brandon Peska.
The Blue Devils open the season Saturday with a doubleheader at Hundred.
Beallsville's schedule is as follows:
March 29 - Hundred (DH), Noon; April 1 - at Paden City, 5:30 p.m.; April 4 - at Bishop Donahue; April 7 - at Shenandoah; April 8 - Trinity Christian (at Consol Energy Park), 5:30 p.m.; April 9 - Paden City; April 10 - at Conotton Valley; April 11 - at Cameron; April 12 - at St. John (DH), Noon; April 14 - Monroe Central; April 15 - Valley; April 17 - Cameron; April 18 - Conotton Valley; April 19 - Frontier (DH), Noon; April 21 - Bishop Donahue; April 22 - Bridgeport; April 23 - Caldwell; April 24 - at Valley; April 26 - OVAC Semifinals; April 28 - at Jefferson Co. Christian, 5:30 p.m.; April 29 - at Bridgeport; April 30 - Buckeye Trail; May 3 - OVAC Final; May 5 - at Caldwell; May 6 - Jefferson Co. Christian, 5:30 p.m.; May 7 - Shenandoah