Tomorrow afternoon, the Borger Bulldogs officially begin the 2012 baseball season by hosting the Dumas Demons beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Huber Park.
The Bulldogs enter the season coming off an impressive 2011 campaign, where the team won the District 1-3A title and advanced to the Regional-Quarterfinals where they fell to Lubbock Cooper.
The Bulldogs lost several big bats and pitching arms from last yearâ€™s team, but the cupboard is not bare for Bulldog Head Coach Steve Ribera, who is entering his second year as the teamâ€™s head coach.
Most of the Bulldogâ€™s infield returns from last season, including first baseman Chayse Tracy, second baseman Clay Ellis, and shortstop Max Lusk.
The three returning infielders should give the Bulldogs a solid defensive presence in the middle of the field, but all three have the ability to cause some damage at the plate.
Other players expected to see time in the infield include Colten Hunter, Tanner Gowdy, Travis Huffine, and Breck Nash.
In the outfield, the Bulldogs return Grant Boren and Garth Payton, who will be joined by varsity newcomers Dustin Clark, Chance Yeager, Hunter Gray, and Ben Sharp.
Junior Kota Dillard is expected to be the Bulldogs primary catcher throughout the season.
To start the season, if there is an area of concern for the Bulldogs, it will be figuring out who will step up to lead the team on the pitcherâ€™s mound.
Tracy gives the Bulldogs a lefty with varsity experience on the mound, while Lusk and Payton will be given the opportunity to pitch several innings as well.
The rest of the Bulldogsâ€™ pitching staff will rely on several sophomores stepping up in the varsity level, with the list of potential pitchers including Huffine, Yeager, Hunter, and Gowdy.
The Bulldogs should be a tested team when they enter district play due to a non-district schedule that includes Dumas, Bushland, Hereford, Amarillo Tascosa, Lubbock Estacado, Amarillo River Road, and competition in the Midland Tournament.
With a good mixture of experience and promising young players, the Bulldogs appear to have the pieces in place to have a shot at repeating as district champions. But the key to another successful season will depend on how well the teamâ€™s pitching comes together and filling holes in the batting lineup.