Coaches are ever the eternal optimists.
And with the coronavirus lurking, those guiding programs in the spring are hoping something can be salvaged.
Shane Casto, Ripley’s 10th-year head baseball coach, knows the virus is serious and everyone’s safety is of the upmost concern.
He would love, though, to see the young men who he has in the program get a chance to play some sort of season in 2020.
“I would be happy with 10 games and then the postseason,” said Casto.
If there is a season, he realizes it could stretch well into late June. And perhaps July.
Either way, he and his Vikings will take anything at this point.
Time will tell.
Before preseason drills got shutdown after 10 practices, Casto was working a team featuring several who saw significant action last season.
The seniors are Broedy Boyce and Austin Boggess.
Boyce has been a four-year regular for the Viking program.
Juniors are Davis Haynes, Gage Songer, Andrew Manley, Sammy Carpenter, Isaac Parsons, Cameron Patterson, Andrew Comer and Kadin Hall.
The sophomores are Colton Pepper, Brett Haskins and Nathan Armentrout.
Freshmen out are Wyatt Simon, Ty Stephens, Isaiah Casto, Alec Vance, Hunter Brown, Kaleb Swisher and Will Haynes.
Casto’s team features several players who can work on the mound with Haynes leading the way.
“He’s expected to be the workhorse,” said Casto of the lanky junior, who was 4-4 a year ago with 40 strike outs.
Boyce, who earned Class AAA Special Honorable Mention All-State last year, and Patterson will also be key starters.
Songer has been an outstanding closer for Ripley.
Others who could see action are Manley, Boggess, Carpenter, Parsons, Will Haynes, Casto, Brown, Stephens, Comer and Swisher.
Manley had 17 strike outs last season working on the mound.
“We tell our pitchers that we want quick innings,” said Casto. “Get in the dugout as quick as you can. These kids know how to pitch.”
Those working behind the plate are Patterson, Pepper, Comer and Simon.
Davis Haynes, Armentrout, Brown and Manley are the candidates at first.
At second are the likes of Songer and Simon.
Boyce is the shortstop along with Vance, who is also an outfielder.
Hall was working at third and in the left field.
Boggess was working in left as well.
Swisher, Casto and Carpenter were working in center.
Haskins is in right, but will be used in a variety of roles.
Brown, Parsons, Stephens and Vance were also taking reps in the outfield.
Casto entered the season having to replace the likes of First Team All-State catcher Tyler Haskins, who is now a member of the Fairmont State baseball program, Second Team All-State pitcher Dane Peterson, who is on the team at West Virginia State, Josh Carte and Ethan Patterson.
Boyce hit .370 last season with two homers, two triples, eight doubles and 20 RBI.
Songer owned a .362 average with a homer, four doubles and 24 RBI.
Haynes batted .348.