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The 2012 season came to a disappointing end for the Collins baseball team.
Cross-town rival Shelby County topped the Titans, 10-8, in 11 innings on their home-field in the 30th District Tournament semifinals.
Collins, however, is putting the past behind it and focusing on the present.
“It was one game, one bad day,” Titans Coach Roy Bailey said. “These guys, they know what it takes to get it done.”
Collins got it done often last season, when it went 22-11. The Titans return a plethora of players from that team.
“We’ve got a lot of pitching coming back, a lot of experience, a lot of starters from last year and a lot of players who played on the American Legion state championship team [over the summer],” Bailey said.
Leading the way is senior pitcher Austin Perry, a right-hander who has signed with the University of Kentucky.
“Bubba, he’s one of the outstanding pitchers in the state,” Bailey said. “We expect him to carry the game no matter who we’re playing.”
Perry is one of seven seniors on the squad. The others are Logan Bailey, Nate Clifton, David Decker, Buddy Johnson, Dan Sanders and Michael Smither.
Bailey, the coach’s son, will play up the middle, mostly at shortstop, however he’ll also see some time second base and on the mound. He’ll also bat near the top of the order for the Titans.
Clifton, an outfielder, was the team’s table-setter last season, batting leadoff.
“Nate, he’s one of the better outfielders in the state,” Bailey said. “He’s played forever. He’s got all the tools. He knows what it takes, it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”
This season, Clifton, a left-hander, will also be going to the mound.
Johnson can – and will – play anywhere on the field, according to Bailey.
“Buddy’s an athlete, he can play any position on the field,” the Collins coach said of Johnson, who’ll also pitch.
The sizable Sanders will also be in the starting rotation with Perry, Clifton and Johnson, while Decker, a left-hander, will help out in relief. Smither also could contribute.
Wiley will be a key player this season. He’ll join the four senior hurlers in the starting rotation and he’ll also catch, splitting duties behind the plate with sophomore Chris Crotzer.
Two other juniors Bailey expects to contribute are infielder Mason Jeffries and outfielder Dre Farris, who is recovering from a broken hand.
Bailey will also look for contributions from junior outfielder Justin Eden, freshman infielder Bryson Dillow and freshman infielder Will McDonald.
The Titans, who beat Portland Christian, 8-0, in a preseason scrimmage, will make themselves at home early and often this season. They play their first 13 games at home, beginning with Saturday’s doubleheader against Seneca (1 p.m.) and Doss (5:30 p.m.).
Collins then hosts defending state champion, and nationally ranked, Woodford County on Tuesday. The Titans will also face Meade County, a state semifinalist in 2012, and St. Xavier, a state quarterfinalist in 2012, later this season.
“We’ve got to rely on our pitching at the start and wait for our hitting to come around to catch up with our pitching and defense,” Bailey said. “The biggest key is keeping all these guys healthy.”
Collins at a glance
IF/OF/P Logan Bailey (senior); OF/P Nate Clifton (senior); OF/P David Decker (senior); IF/OF/P Buddy Johnson (senior); IF/P Austin Perry (senior); IF/P Dan Sanders (senior); IF/P Michael Smither (senior); OF Justin Eden (junior); OF Dre Farris (junior); IF/P Mason Jeffries (junior); P Carson Kuhl (junior); IF/P Paul Miller (junior); C/IF/P Zac Wiley (junior); IF/P Eric Burk (sophomore); C Chris Crotzer (sophomore); OF Alex Doyle (sophomore); P Nick Palmer (sophomore); IF Hunter Perry (sophomore); IF Bryson Dillow (freshman); IF/P Will McDonald (freshman).
9 – SENECA, 1 p.m.; 9 – DOSS, 5:30 p.m.; 12 – WOODFORD COUNTY, 5:30 p.m.; 14 – OWEN COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 15 – MEADE COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 16 – JEFFERSONTOWN, 11 a.m.; 18 – SOUTHERN, 6 p.m.; 19 – TRINITY, 8:30 p.m.; 21 – NORTH BULLITT, 6 p.m.; 23 – NORTH OLDHAM, 1 p.m.; 25 – MOORE, 6 p.m.; 26 – SOUTH OLDHAM, 6 p.m.; 28 – BALLARD, 6 p.m.; 29 – at Oldham County, 6 p.m.; 30 – at Western Hills, 1 p.m.
1 – CARROLL COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 2 – GALLATIN COUNTY, 1 p.m.; 4 – at Doss, 5:30 p.m.; 5 – PERRY COUNTY CENTRAL, 11 a.m.; 8 – at Bullitt Central, 5 p.m.; 9 – EASTERN, 6 p.m.; 11 – WESTERN HILLS, 6 p.m.; 12 – at Elizabethtown, 6 p.m.; 13 – at Fairdale, 11 a.m.; 16 – BELFRY, 6 p.m.; 17 – at Trinity, 7:30 p.m.; 18 – at Grant County, 6 p.m.; 22 – SPENCER COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 23 – PORTLAND CHRISTIAN, 6 p.m.; 26 – vs. Tates Creek in LIT, 6 p.m.; 27 – vs. St. Xavier in LIT, 10 a.m.; 27 – vs. Manual in LIT, 12:30 p.m.; 29 – SAYRE, 6 p.m.; 30 – at Simon Kenton, 6 p.m.
2 – OLDHAM COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 3 – ANDERSON COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 6 – at Boyle County, 6 p.m.; 7 – at Whitefield Academy, 5 p.m.; 8 – at Shelby County, 7:30 p.m.; 9 – at Christian Academy of Louisville, 6 p.m.; 11 – at Lexington Catholic, 11 a.m.; 13 – at South Oldham, 6 p.m.; 14 – HENRY COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 16 – at Scott County, 6 p.m.