McMECHEN - If you judge last season's Bishop Donahue baseball team solely by its victories and defeats (12-11), it's easy to see how one would determine it was a so-so spring. But first-year coach Bob Kleeh sees a team that returns nine seniors and won an OVAC Class A championship in 2011.
Kleeh hopes the experience the Bishops bring back, as well as the knowledge he gained while assisting Jimbo Wodusky at Wheeling Central and Don Gillis at Bishop, will be a recipe for success.
''With the senior leadership we have we should be improved again this year,'' Kleeh said. ''Hopefully I can keep us on that path.''
The Bishops must find replacements for guys like catcher Devin Overholt, Zach Whitfield (ace, complete-game victory in OVACs) and Jordan Angalich. Kleeh thinks senior Garrett Yurisko is as good a place to start as any.
Yurisko will again patrol center field and is expected to be the offensive catalyst from his leadoff position in the lineup.
Kyle Gillis will pitch and play third base, while big things are expected on the mound from Austin Ghaphery. He will play shortstop when not pitching.
Wylie Koontz provides a big boost offensively from his first-base spot.
''Yurisko, Gillis and Ghaphery have started since their freshman year,'' Kleeh pointed out. ''They will give you everything you have, and we will need that this year.
''Koontz has started since his sophomore year. He has good power and will be key on the mound also.''
Ollie Parker has ''great speed'' and will split time between the outfield and the mound. Nick Ebert will pitch and play first base, while Alex Berry will share time toeing the rubber and playing third.
Additionally, Marshall Reager will patrol the outfield.
D.T. Meeker, the ninth senior, is out for the first time and ''could be a key,'' according to his coach.
''The seniors all have great attitudes and are great kids to be around,'' Kleeh said. ''And they work very hard.''
The junior class is comprised of Phillip Smith, who will play outfield and second base and had ''a nice year at the plate.''
He'll be joined by Joey Myers (P-2B).
The sophomores are Hunter Kaschke (utility), Bryce Jones (IF-OF), Chris Vani (C-OF), Austin Cunningham (C-IF-OF-1B), and Lane Masters (1B-OF).
Kleeh said the freshman class has a lot of talent. It includes Alex Riedel (C), Andrew Cunningham (1B-P), Matt Vucelik (P-IF), Jared Horan (OF), Jesse Padlow (IF-OF-P), Travis Works (P-OF-3B) and Brett Moore (IF-OF-P).
''We want to keep improving and close the gap on Wheeling Central and Madonna,'' Kleeh said of the team's goals. ''We want to compete in the toughest sectional in the state.''
Kleeh is assisted by Eric Gordon, Bill Yurisko and Kent Jones.
2012 BISHOP DONAHUE BASEBALL SCHEDULE
March 23: at Cameron5 p.m.
March 24: Hundred (2)Noon
March: 26: at Paden City5 p.m.
March: 27: Cameron5 p.m.
March 28: Trinity 5 p.m.
March 29: at Monroe Central5 p.m.
March 31: Meadowbrook (2)Noon
April 2: Wheeling Central5 p.m.
April 3: at Brooke5:30 p.m.
April 4: Weir5:30 p.m.
April 4: at Bridgeport7:30 p.m.
April 5: at Beallsville5 p.m.
April 9: at Wheeling Central5 p.m.
April 10: at Trinity5 p.m.
April 12: at Weir5 p.m.
April 13: Beallsville5 p.m.
April 14: Steub. Catholic (2)Noon
April 16: at Clay-Battelle5 p.m.
April 19: John Marshall5 p.m.
April 24: Monroe Central5 p.m.
April 26: Brooke5 p.m.
April 28: at Notre Dame1 p.m.
April 30: at Bridgeport5 p.m.