Oxford Hills baseball 2017 preview

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Coach: Shane Slicer (15th year)

Class: A; Conference: KVAC

Last year’s record: 11-6 (lost in Class A North quarterfinals)

Returning athletes: Senior — Brayden Bean (2B); Juniors — Troy Johnson (P/3B), Hunter LaBossiere (OF), Janek Luksza (SS), Emery Chickering (3B/P); Sophomores — Colton Carson (P), Cam Slicer (OF).

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Key losses: Blake Slicer, Jake Spinhirn, Matt Smith, Jake Beauchesne, Andrew Fleming, Bailey West, Tyler Curtis.

Promising newcomers: Senior — Connor Truman (OF); Junior — Kaden Cutler (C); Sophomore — Ashton Kennison (1B); Freshman — Wyatt Williamson (C).

Season outlook: The Vikings graduated nine seniors and return just one senior starter but have seven players who saw quality varsity time last year and should still rank among the stronger teams in the KVAC. The lack of playing time in preseason could be a problem early as they still have a number of roles that need to be defined. Yet Slicer likes his players’ willingness to work and is confident they will settle into their roles once they are sorted out. Cutler and Williamson will be replacing Smith, a three-year starter, behind the plate, and Luksza is a new glove at short, replacing Spinhirn. The pitching staff is solid and deep enough to navigate the new pitch count rules. As is the Vikings’ trademark, the offense will put pressure on opposing defenses and manufacture runs.

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