Coach: Brad Smith (Sixth year)

Class: B; Conference: WMC

Last year’s record: 3-13

Returning athletes: Seniors — John Henry Villavueva (P/SS), Jake Winchester (OF), Tanner Mann (OF), Nick Chandler (OF), Zack Mann (P/2B); Juniors — Josiah Rottari (P/INF), Will Shufelt (P/3B); Sophomore — Nick McCann (C).

Key losses: Evan Plummer, Daulton Cauthell.

Promising newcomers: Juniors — Eli Winchester (SS), Nathaniel Brindley (P/2B), Damien Pye (P), Sophomore — Cam Andrews (P).

Season outlook: With five starters returning and a nucleus that enjoyed success during summer baseball, the Patriots have plenty of optimism and confidence that they can make a run at the playoffs. Pitching has usually been a strength and should be solid again with Villanueva, Rottari, Shufelt, Zack Mann and Pye, a lefty, seeing starting time and Brindley and Andrews out of the bullpen. The defense, particularly up the middle, should be sound, too. Their weakness in recent years has been the offense, but Smith is expecting that to be improved.

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