Heading into the 2020 baseball season, the Mayfield Cardinals will be built like many other teams in the region, full of returners and sprinkled with a few newcomers.
The Cardinals finished their 2019 campaign with an 11-23 mark that they'll look to improve on as they open the season on the road against Hickman County on Monday, March 16.
A season of improvement seems to be the only direction for the Cardinals this spring as they return veteran players like Colin Price, Jayden Stinson and Colby Kennemore.
Price will look to continue his dominant presence at the plate and on the mound in 2020 following a junior year that saw him lead the team with a .490 batting average, 37 RBI's and four home runs.
On the bump, Price picked up the slack in Stinson's absence following a season ending shoulder injury for the two-star athlete. Price was 3-4 on the season while tossing 54 innings, compiling a 2.33 ERA, walking just 26 batters and striking out 56.
Sophomore Ben Gloyd will also be a player the Cardinals will rely on to eat up some innings on the mound following a solid freshman season.
Gloyd split time between being a starting and relief pitcher, tossing 37 ⅓ innings with a 3.56 ERA in 12 appearances.
In addition to getting players like Gloyd, Kennemore Charlie Sims and Reed Swindler back, Mayfield will have the chance to get their younger guys involved with varsity experience throughout the season.
Mayfield head coach Richard Collins says his team's youth may be a cause for concern early in the season but he believes the Cardinals have a strong core of talent.
"We return guys that have some varsity experience, guys that have been in the program for some time now that will be used in various roles this year. We have a good nucleus of young guys who have played together for some time. Our pitching should have a little more depth this season. Our weakness will be both our strength and at times our weakness as with many young players."
With spring weather moving in and the season right around the corner, Collins and the Cardinals say they are excited to get things going and look forward to competing day-in and day-out.
"Honestly we are just looking forward to getting started," Collins said. "We don't necessarily highlight any particular games, our goal is to just compete in every game we put on the schedule. As every other team, we expect to compete for our district and get into the regional tournament. Once you get to the regional tournament anything can happen."