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Area high school teams ready to step up to plate

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As baseball season swings into full gear, the Flower Mound baseball team looks to pick up right where it left off in 2010, and coach Marte Amrine said this should make for an interesting season.

Flower Mound advanced to the area round of the playoffs last season, but will experience a major personnel overhaul this year.

“Overall, we are excited about this coming spring because we have a lot of new faces on our team this year,” Amrine said. “We have high expectations, and I think our kids are ready to get better every day.  I think we have young talent on the mound and a good group of senior leaders that make this team exciting.”

Amrine said the objective for the Jaguars this season is to “fight for a district championship in 8-5A,” and said to advance to the post-season and go multiple rounds, it will take a couple of things. “I believe that the biggest thing we need this year to make a run in the playoffs is to stay healthy and focus on getting better each and every day,” Amrine said.

Amrine said he expects a number of players to lead the way for the Jaguars this season.

“We have two starters back from last year’s team,” Amrine said. “Wes Jones-senior catcher and Mark McCants-senior center fielder.  Both of these young men were all-district players and should be key components to our success this year. 

“We also have two role players back from last year (Evan Robinson-senior second baseman and Brad Chesshir-senior pitcher), and we have high expectations for these two young men also.”

Flower Mound finished 26-6 and won the 6-5A championship in 2010.

Over at Marcus, a trip to the regional semi-finals last season has the Marauders hungry for more in 2011, and coach Dustin Sykora said he has liked what he has seen from his team so far.

“The expectations for this team have already been set by previous players that have put this program on the map after the last two seasons,” Sykora said. “I constantly remind our players that we play for those who have come before us and set the standard for those who follow.  We will be fundamentally sound, get one percent better each day in practice, and be both mentally and physically tough throughout the course of this season.”

Marcus finished 24-19 last season, with a district record of 7-8 and fourth place finish in district 6-5A competition, but as Sykora points out, that record means very little to the Marauders baseball team.

“Our motto is find a spot in the top four of our district and see what happens,” Sykora said. “Our players do a great job of turning it up to another level once the tournament arrives.”

Sykora said he believes he has several players that will boost the Marauders chances in 2011.

“Some of our strong returning starters are senior pitcher/center fielder Michael Gill, who has been as good as advertised over the past two seasons,” Sykora said. “He is one of the most clutch players in the DFW area, and we will be very hard to beat when he is on the mound. 

“Senior shortstop Mason Salazar was our second leading hitter last season. He has started every game as a junior at second base.”

Other players Sykora says to look for will be junior twins, C – Weston Pitts and 2B Cory Pitts; senior LHP – Cole Lumpp; junior CF – Cameron McMahen, and junior LF/RHP – Drew Hamrick.

For Guyer baseball coach Johnny Kinzy, he is pleased with how efficient his team has looked early on this season and is hopeful that his team will be at the top of the standings at the end of district competition.

“We have had a good start to the season with our scrimmages,” Kinzy said. “Our defense has been solid, pitchers have thrown strikes and we have improved each scrimmage with our hitting.”

Kinzy said the objective for his team is to improve each tournament to prepare for district play, where he believes Southlake Carroll and Coppell are the teams to beat.

The Guyer coach expects first team all-district pitcher Jacob Rhame, along with all-district outfielders Blake Gipson and Cole Fiola, and first baseman Will Matthews, last year’s district Newcomer of the Year, to be the players to watch for the Wildcats this season.

Kinzy said, after a 17-15 finish and playoff appearance in 2010, the goal is once again to make the post-season.

“To make the playoffs, we’ll need to stay consistent,” Kinzy said. “Pitching and defense will give us a chance to make the playoffs for a third straight year.”

Over at Argyle, coach Ricky Griffin said this year’s squad has the chance to be the best since he’s been at the school.

With that being said, Griffin said the goal for his season is quite clear.

“We feel we have achieved everything with the program except go the state tournament in Austin, so I would have to say that is our objective,” Griffin said.

Griffin anticipates Aubry, Sanger and Pilot Point to be Argyle’s three toughest district opponents this season, and said he expects his strong senior class, along with juniors Austin Aune and Jay Gonzales, to lead the way for the Eagles this season.

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