Twenty one young men will command the diamond for the Silver Knight baseball team at Tyler Consolidated this season: seven seniors, five juniors, seven sophomores and two freshmen.
Having lost five seniors from the team to graduation last year in Blaise Rice, Garrett Amos, Jeremy Headley, Zach Knowlton and Cody Laugh, the Knights are looking to rebuild the foundation of the team this season.
"We have a lot of young kids," said head coach, Gene Rice. "Young, but with experience. Several of them have played ball in the past, just not on the high school team. We're glad to have them out and as part of the team."
Seven letter winners return to the squad with experience, including seniors Justin Carpenter and Dalton Wells on the mound and Dakota Allen who will likely see time at the catcher's position for the majority of his time on the field. Carpenter will also be the go-to man at first while Wells will fill the utility slot and Allen will be switched to an outfield position when necessity demands.
Junior letter winners returning include Koty Martin and Dalton Parsons, both looking to see time in the pitching rotation. Martin is an all around outfielder for the Knights while Parsons will hold down the short-stop slot.
With one year of experience under their belts, second baseman/outfielder Evan Davis and outfielder Isaac Michael return as lettermen to the team.
New to the Knight line-up this season are seniors: Braxtin Brown and Tyler Highley; juniors, Lucas Houle, Quinten Keller and Cecil Spenser; sophomores Dakota Brenneman, Austin Brown, Cole Kocher, Austin Dillon, and Tyler Knox; and freshmen, David Litton and Bobby Moore.
Deep with pitchers for the 2012 season, the Silver Knights count this as a strength being as they almost have a different pitcher for every game scenario. "Right now we're about seven or eight deep on the mound," said Rice. "And we have others to go to if necessary."
At the plate the Knights are going to put a great dependence on base hits. "We don't have many that can knock the cover off the ball, but we do have speed once we're on the bases, and we plan on focusing on that aspect of the game."
"We have the opportunity to do well this season," the coach said. "We'll be mixing experienced players with rookies, trying out new positions for everybody and putting in a lot of batting practice. We're also working on a junior varsity schedule together in order to get the younger kids some game experience."
Rice is assisted this season by Chris Amedro, who has an extensive baseball background both at John Marshall High School and at WVU.
The Silver Knights finished the season last year with seven wins. This season, coach Rice says their goal is to win the last game they play. "Be it regular season, Sectionals, Regionals, state, whatever. We want to win our last game."
Rain has already hampered the Silver Knight schedule this season, but the team is scheduled to play at Paden City on Wednesday, at 5 p.m. On March 22 the team will host Ritchie County.
On March 28 the Silver Knights will host Paden City at Tyler Consolidated with the game to begin at 5 p.m.