The last time Booneville won a state title in football – before this year – they followed it up with a title in baseball as well.
While predicting such a repeat feat would be bold to say the least, head coach Darby Ulmer returns the most experienced group he has had in his tenure as head coach.
Ulmer said last week he has 11 players who could legitimately start. That’s not surprising since the 2013 senior day celebration had only one player – Jesse Frost – recognized.
The 2014 roster will feature a pair of fourth-year starters in Brandon Wolski and Cody Harrel. The duo is the first to accomplish that since freshmen were eligible to play baseball their ninth grade year and both were season opening starters.
And, both were All State in 2013. Wolski was 7-1 on the mound with a 2.75 ERA and 113 strike outs in 56 innings. He also hit .375 with 17 RBI. Harrel hit .370 and scored 22 runs with 14 knocked in.
All District James Ray (3-0), Tyler Mathews and Jacob Krepps all logged innings. Ray also hit cleanup besides playing third and catching. He lead the team with a .396 average and three home runs and 17 RBI.
Michael Drawbaugh, whose bases loaded walk-off hit by pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning won a regular season title last year is back at first base or could be the designated hitter, Ulmer said last week.
Freshman Hayden Fennell is a possibility at second base options, Harrel is the shortstop when he isn’t pitching. Then, sophomore Dalton Herrera is the heir apparent and he could also play third. Herrera is also another mound option.
Krepps could play first or move to left, where Trevor Jones played mostly as a freshman last year. Jones could play left or right or DH, as could Cody Simpson, who started in right last year and hit .364 with 13 RBI in an All District season. Speedster Matt Berry is set in center.
If that weren’t enough Ulmer will be looking to find somewhere to put freshman Brady Brasher, a candidate for time at second base and on the mound.
The pieces of the puzzle start coming together Tuesday when the Bearcats open the season against Mansfield at home.
That is likely to prove interesting as the teams also met to open the 2013 season in a game in which the Tiger assistant was Booneville graduate and now Bearcat assistant coach Arron Kimes.