After struggling through a dismal season with a 4-15 record, the Christiansburg baseball team has set their sights on improving this year, behind five returning starters, in a tough River Ridge District.
Hitting the diamond this season will be seniors Zach Davis (infield/pitcher), Alex Dunn (infield/pitcher, .296 batting average), Winston Bond (outfield/pitcher, 20 strikeouts), Corey Burke (catcher), Jacob Quinn (infield), Tyler Morgan (outfield), Trey Shumate (outfield/pitcher), Jacob Cridlin (catcher), Jordan Poff (infield), Zach Meller (infield), Irving Buchannon (infield), Kevin Thompson (outfield), and Canaan Looney (outfield). Juniors Justin Bowler (infield/pitcher, .256 batting average), Tony Deibler (outfield) and Justin Dunford (outfield/catcher), along with sophomores Seth Wills (infield/pitcher, .323 batting average, 30 strikeouts) and Aaron Jackson (infield/pitcher).
"We have 13 seniors…. Most by far we have ever had. The return of two players (Davis and Thompson), who were both starters their sophomore years. A healthy Canaan Looney, who was sidelined most of the year last season due to medical issues. We have a veteran team who is very hungry and knows they can accomplish great things," said head coach Tim Dunkleman, who is in his 10th year. "Wills and Jackson (both will have to eat up a lot of innings this year}. Wills led our team in BA last year as a freshman. We feel like they are both up for the task."
The coach sees his veteran players as being a strength, while having only two pitchers, who saw significant innings last year," as being a weakness.
All of the district games will be key for Christiansburg in 2012.
"We have a chance to have a special season. We lost six games by one run last year and were in most of all the others. We have the potential to have one of the best offenses I have had in my 10 years here. The big question mark is can we get it done on the dump. Our pitchers (and all players) have worked extremely hard in the off season and are very motivated to succeed. I’m confident that they will take care of business," added Dunkleman.
The Blue Demons open their season on Monday, March 12, at home against Giles.