Dupo head baseball coach Brad Daubach is hoping a strong offseason leads to a winning regular season and eventually an extended postseason for the Tigers.
“We have had the best offseason in the four years I have been here,” Daubach said. “Kids participated in strength and conditioning and open gyms in the mornings. It was a great turnout and baseball seems to be of very high importance to a majority of the players.”
The team went a disappointing 3-19 last season following a promising 16-14 campaign in 2012.
“It was a tough year and the struggles I still can’t explain,” Daubach said.
The Tigers will rely on defense and speed to try and get an edge on opponents this season, the coach said.
“We have a team full of kids that hustle and play defense,” Daubach said.
The Tigers will count on seniors Corey Biggs (2-1, 1.62 ERA on the mound in 2013) and Chance Hagler to lead the way, along with two classmates who are coming back after not playing a full season last year: Brett Aldridge and Larry Scheppelman.
Juniors who are returning starters from 2013 include Joey Mirabal, Jason Smith (.290 batting average) and Jacob Williams.
“Getting Corey Biggs back on the offensive side of things after missing all of last year with a broken wrist will be a huge boost to our offense,” Daubach said. “We will be playing an aggressive game and small ball in the late innings. We will see what power develops, but Brett Aldridge could provide a needed power bat. Joey Mirabal will be counted on to drive in runs and be in the middle of the lineup.”
The coach expects Lohnnie Thornton and Hagler will battle it out up the middle, with Brandon Roth seeing time at shortstop as well.
Sophomore Colin Roth will handle catching duties.
“We have four sophomores who played a pivotal role in last year’s season that will help out in a big way this year. They are Colin Roth, Brandon Roth, Jordan Prange and Drake Harvell,” Daubach said.
Five freshmen could also see time in the lineup, the coach said.
Daubach is waiting for someone to step up and run away with a starting pitching role behind Biggs and Aldridge.
“Our pitching is not very experienced, but we have strength in numbers as currently we have 14 players that also pitch on the mound,” he said.
Key games on the schedule include the opener against Bunker Hill and conference tilts against Lebanon — last year’s champ — and New Athens and Valmeyer. Dupo competes in Class 2A.
“Last year we had (state champion) Gibault on the ropes in the seventh inning, but couldn’t get a base hit with the bases loaded and wound up losing 3-2,” Daubach said.
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