After going 12-11 overall and 9-3 in the West Central Conference in his first year as Cloverdale's baseball coach, Tim Savini will be looking to make some improvements.
"There are some areas where we need to improve on from last year," he said. "We need to be mentally stronger this year and I thought that hurt us in the sectional last year."
The Clovers lost to North Putnam in their first game of the sectional last season after beating them both times during the regular season.
Mental toughness is just one thing the Clovers have to overcome this season Savini. Another one is replacing the five seniors they lost.
"Out of the five seniors we lost, four of them played everyday. So we have some holes to fill, but we do have some older guys coming back," Savini said. "They're not as experienced, but they are older and that should help."
There are some players returning this year that haven't seen much field time, but there are also a handful that are returning that are older and experienced.
Cloverdale will have four players returning this year that will help Savini fix another problem the Clovers had last year -- their hitting.
"I want us to hit the ball better as a team this year," he said. "Last year we only hit a .284."
With Kyle McCammon, Coty Blair, Cody Nees and Michael Neese returning to the plate this season, having a higher batting average as team should be an easy goal to accomplish. McCammon batted .329 last season while Nees hit a .368 and Blair hit .291. Neese had a good season last season as well with a batting average of .259.
Savini said that he expects McCammon, Blair, Nees and Neese to lead the Clovers at the plate this year after the season they had last year.
Savini's got the hitting power back this year that he needs, but he is going to need more than a few good hitters to have a successful season. The Clovers will be without the strong arm of Ryan Welty this season. Welty was the Clovers No. 1 pitcher last year and ended the season with an earn run average of .245. Cloverdale might be without their No.1 pitcher but they have their No.2 back. McCammon will be taking on the role as the No. 1 pitcher this year. Last season he had an ERA of 4.09, but did strike out 44 batters. McCammon won't be the only pitcher that Cloverdale relies on this season.
"McCammon will be the No. 1 but there is a sophomore, a junior and freshman that cold see a lot of time on the mound this season, " Savini said.
Savini has the players to go on the mound this year, but depth of them could be a question. One of the other things Savini said he would like to see improve this year is the team's overall pitching. Last year the Clovers, as a team, had an ERA of 3.95.
For the most part the Clovers have the spots filled that were left empty from the graduating seniors according to Savini, but he says that there are still a few spots left open.
This will be the second season that Savini is the head coach of the Clovers baseball team and he says that he is more comfortable this year.
"I feel a little more organized this year and being around most of the players from last year helps me be a little more prepared, and I am sure that I will learn some new things this year too," Savini said.
The Clovers will opening their season on Tuesday when they host Linton at 4:30 p.m.