Coach Don Schone has identified at least one thing he likes about the Watkins Memorial High School baseball team.

Coach Don Schone has identified at least one thing he likes about the Watkins Memorial High School baseball team.

"I told the kids they've already shown me this is one of the hardest-working groups I've had," said Schone, who has an 82-80 career entering his seventh opener Tuesday against Newark. "This team won't get beat because of a lack of effort."

Six seniors will lead the Warriors, which finished 10-13 overall a year ago following an 11-1 loss to Central Crossing in a Division I first-round tournament game and went 4-8 to place sixth in the OCC-Capital Division behind champion Mount Vernon (11-1).

They include catcher Matt Connor, who made honorable mention all-league and honorable mention all-district, and heavy-hitting John Parrett, a corner infielder and catcher who made second-team all-league.

Classmate Taylor Day also returns to anchor the pitching staff. Promising left-handed freshman Tony Winters is the latest pitching project in a program that recently has produced a first-round Major League Baseball draft pick in Eric Arnett, who played at Indiana, and another Division I college recruit in Ball State's Justin Warrington. Junior Eric Robinson ended last season as the No. 2 starter behind Day.

Junior D.J. Collins is back at shortstop, and seniors Marshall Berry and Joe Bales also return.

Others to look for include senior Tyler Branham, juniors Gage Merrick, Chris Skaggs and Bryce Phillips, and sophomores Reno Reda and Steve Huber.

Last season marked the first time since 2005 the Warriors failed to advance to a district semifinal.

They were the Division II state runner-up when Arnett was a senior in 2006 and made it to a regional final the following season when Warrington was a junior. Their latest OCC-Capital title came in 2008.

"We need good pitching, good defense and timely hitting," said Schone, whose Warriors play Wednesday against Lakewood and also a doubleheader Saturday at Lancaster.

"With15 freshmen this year, we've got good competition top to bottom, but we've got to do all the little things."