Coming off a 7-13 season a year ago, Clay City baseball is at a crossroads after graduating seven seniors from last year's squad.
The Eels will return just two regulars this year in senior leftfielder Brandon Wells and junior pitcher Brock Dyer.
Dyer will be an important cog since he is the most experienced starting pitcher returning.
He threw a team-leading 46 1/3 innings last season, posting a 1-6 mark with a 4.68 ERA. He also struck out 33 batters while walking 20. At the plate he hit .333 and reached base over 50 percent of the time. His 16 RBI's were second on the team.
Wells hit .264 for the Eels last year and scored a team-leading 18 runs and pitched three innings for Clay City.
Senior Ryan Schroer will join Wells in the outfield as a starter after getting just 14 at-bats last season. Sophomore Dustin Griffith also will get the start in the outfield and leads off for the Eels.
Brandon Mattox is the only other senior for Clay City and received 19 at-bats last season, hitting .316 with five RBI's. He will take over at 2B for the Eels. His defense will be key for the Eels along with Klay Knox who will get the nod at shortstop, splitting time with Dyer.
The junior class is the most heavily represented in the starting lineup for Clay City with four members. Along with Dyer and Knox, catcher Derek Miller will see extensive time along with Ben Harris who starts at first base.
Sophomore Justin Staley has gotten the start at third base for the Eels who will learn on the fly this season.
Clay City hit .331 as a team last season, but is charged with replacing their top five hitters. Pitching could be this year's strength if the opening start by Dyer is any indication.
Dyer threw five strong innings against 3A No. 6 ranked Sullivan last Thursday. Despite getting the loss, Dyer gave up just two earned runs to the traditionally strong-hitting Golden Arrows.
The Eels had a 5.90 ERA as a team last season and has to replace several pitchers this year. Dyer and Knox will be the most experienced returning pitchers along with Wells. They will likely be depended on for strong work while Clay City's bats come around.
"We knew coming in that hitting is something we would need work on," commented coach Michael Owens following the Sullivan contest. "But (the Sullivan game) is a good measuring stick. We saw some good things from Brock (Dyer) and Klay (Knox) on the mound."
Clay City continues their season with their first home contest slated for Thursday with Eastern at 4:30 p.m.
2004 Clay City Varsity Baseball Schedule
|April 1||at Sullivan||4:30 p.m.|
|April 8||vs. Eastern||4:30 p.m.|
|April 12||vs. N.Daviess||4:30 p.m.|
|April 13||at N. Central||4:30 p.m.|
|April 15||at WRV (JV/V)||4:30 p.m.|
|April 19||vs. Shakamak (JV/V)||4:30 p.m.|
|April 22||at Linton (DH)||4:30 p.m.|
|April 24||vs. Turkey Run (JV/V)||11 a.m.|
|April 26||at Vincennes Rivet||5 p.m.|
|April 27||vs. Bloomfield (JV/V)||4:30 p.m.|
|April 29||at Rockville||4:45 p.m.|
|April 30||at Eminence||4:30 p.m.|
|May 6||at Union||4:30 p.m.|
|May 10||vs. R.Parke (JV/V)||4:30 p.m.|
|May 18||vs. Owen Valley||4:30 p.m.|
|May 20||at Washington Catholic||5 p.m.|
|May 25||vs. S.Putnam||4:30 p.m.|
|May 27||vs. W.Vigo||5 p.m.|
|May 31||(Sectional) at Shakamak|
|June 3||(Sectional) at Shakamak|
|June 4||(Sectional) at Shakamak|