Buoyed by a strong group of underclassmen, the South Whidbey High School baseball team expects to be a contender for the North Sound Conference pennant.
“Our goal will be to compete for the league title and see how much noise we can make deep in the playoffs,” coach Tom Fallon said.
The Falcons lost only one starter, Taylor Brown, to graduation from last year’s 9-11 team which finished fifth in the district tournament.
Of the seven returning regulars, only one is a senior, infielder/pitcher Kody Newman, who was a second-team, all-conference selection last spring.
Also back are first-team, all-league juniors outfielder Alex Black and pitcher Ethan Petty. Sophomore pitcher Brent Batchelor received second-team honors.
Juniors Nick Young (utility) and Drew Fry (infield) and sophomore Luke Rookstool (infield) were honorable mention in 2018.
Lettermen junior Dexter Jokinen and sophomore Ben Lind also return.
The South Whidbey lineup will be bolstered by the return of John Bartel, who took a year off to run track last spring.
“He will help us at pitcher and shortstop and has a very strong bat,” Fallon said.
The Falcons’ pitching, defense and versatility are the team’s strengths, according to Fallon.
“Our weakness would be scoring runs, but I’m really excited watching the growth of this hard-working group of young men,” Fallon said.
It will be a successful season, he added, if the Falcons “continue to work hard together as a unit and then play up to their potential.”
“Our numbers are small, 13 total, but our chemistry is strong and we play for each other,” he said.
South Whidbey hosts a jamboree at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 9.
The first game is at home at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 16, with Chimacum.