Licking Heights High School baseball coach Jeff Boyer's wish list is similar to the wish lists of most of his peers.

Licking Heights High School baseball coach Jeff Boyer's wish list is similar to the wish lists of most of his peers.

"Like everyone else, we need to get good pitching and stay healthy," he said. "If that happens we'll be in pretty good shape."

Seniors Andy Hurst, Rob Speakman and Brian Puskac, juniors Cody Bailey and Nick Lewis and sophomore Josh Hoar are expected to do most of the pitching. The fourth senior is Roy Bias, who is expected to replace graduate leadoff hitter Zach Dewhurst in center field and is being groomed to be the pitching staff's closer. Speakman is the second baseman, junior Dan Pennington is the shortstop and Lewis is the first baseman. Bailey, who is the catcher, likely will bat first.

"Out of our 12 kids, eight of them can pitch and be OK," said Boyer, whose team will open Monday against East Knox. "That gives us a lot of flexibility and depth. Now it's a matter of who takes charge."

Junior third baseman Ethan Woolridge also returns for the Hornets, who finished 16-11 overall a year ago and went 8-6 in the MSL-Cardinal Division to share third place as Grandview captured a second consecutive title.

"We seem to finish third more than anybody else. That's four times in the last five years," said Boyer, who is entering his 29th season. "Grandview graduated quite a bit, but they're still the lead dog until somebody beats them."

Other top players are juniors Nick Binkley, Eric Wolfe and Travis Strickland. Pennington batted .479 and Bias batted .457 a year ago. Bias had eight home runs and 45 RBI during the regular season, Pennington had 39 RBI and Bailey had 31 RBI.

The Hornets, who lost to Hamilton Township 9-3 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.

"We've got the skills and experience to be a very good team," Boyer said. "Now we just have to go out and win games."