ELIZABETHTOWN — With just three losses to graduation from last season’s 11-12 team, East Bladen coach Russell Priest is cautiously optimistic that his Eagles could be a tough out this season.
Lost from last year’s team are shortstop/pitcher Blake Clark and pitcher Stan Sims, both All-Waccamaw Conference selections, along with first-baseman Wesley Cross.
“We have a lot coming back,” Priest said Thursday. “But we’re not quite put together yet. We haven’t even been on our field yet.”
Returning starters include last season’s catcher Alex Coates, who will be moved to shortstop; first-baseman/designated hitter Cameron West; third-baseman C.J. McDowell; left fielder Joe Strait; right fielder Farrell Murchison; pitcher Matt Massengill; and center fielder Hastin McGill.
Joining the roster from last season’s jayvee are expected to be Kyle Tatum at catcher and outfielder Ty McMillian, among others.
If there is one area still unsettled, it’s on the hill.
“We have pitching, but nobody who will throw it by anyone,” Priest said. “We’ll have to score some runs.”
As for the Four County Conference, Priest said returning Class 2-A state champion Midway has most of its players coming back and should be considered the No. 1 favorite.
“But there will be two or three other teams fighting for second place,” he said. “We just hope we can be in that mix.”