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Cedar Crest

Head coach: Josh Brown, first season

Last year's record: 5-15, 3-13 Section One

Key returners: Iziah Trimble, Sr., SS; Jacee Orta, Sr., INF; Joe Carpenter, So., 1B.

Promising newcomers: Chad Ryland, So., P; Nathan Cavic, So., P; Kyle Poorman, Fr., C.

Outlook: Two consecutive losing seasons have positioned the Falcons with a new coach but the same old aspirations: make districts.

And the blueprint new headman Josh Brown has laid out for their postseason return is awfully simple: hack, hack, hackaway. And then keep hacking.

"I don't want to see us take a first-pitch fastball for a strike," he said. "We're going to be aggressive. We're going to hit."

Senior double-play partners Iziah Trimble and Jacee Orta are back to stabilize the guts of Cedar Crest's defense and lineup, where sophomore first baseman Joe Carpenter will step in as well. Brown, who boasts coaching and playing experience at the collegiate level, has set the bar high with a team goal of a .340 batting average. That number, in addition to a hopeful six or seven runs per game, is intended to buy time for a young, developing pitching staff.

Senior Brett Bawiec will start the Falcons' opener Thursday against rival Lebanon. Behind him sophomore Chad Ryland and Nathan Cavic are expected to pick up some innings, as could freshman Logan Horn in spot duty. No matter who's on the mound, the directive there will be as simplistic as the one at the plate: throw strikes.

For Brown believes those strikes should be the difference between a good and potentially great rebound season.

"It is going to be a building year for us," Brown said. "However, we have the potential and the right things in place to make districts."

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