Coach Dave Daniels and the Westland High School baseball team expect to bounce back.

Coach Dave Daniels and the Westland High School baseball team expect to bounce back.

Last season, the Cougars finished 6-21 overall and 1-9 in the OCC-Ohio Division. But Westland, which will open Tuesday at home against Westerville South, hasseven returning letterwinners and eight seniors.

"It's a different mix of kids each year, but there's some ability," said Daniels, whose team lost to Dublin Coffman 7-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament last year. "If they play their best and play hard, they can definitely be competitive."

The pitching staff should be tested early, as Westland will play eight games in the season's first eight days.

Senior outfielder Tyler Entingh, a returning letterwinner, is expected to be a key leader.

"This is probably the best team that has been at Westland since I've been there," Entingh said. "I think we're definitely going to win a whole lot of ballgames this year. Experience is definitely a key. We have a lot of guys coming back."

Also back are senior shortstop and pitcher Jose Reyes, who batted .288 last season with four home runs and 14 RBI, and senior outfielder and pitcher Esteylon Martinez, who hit .323.

Other returning letterwinners are junior outfielder and pitcher Chad Helsel (.303, 14 RBI last season), junior first baseman Shawn Beasy (.278), junior catcher Kyle Church and junior second baseman and pitcher Sean Clutter. Beasy missed more than half of last season with a knee injury.

The remaining players made contributions at the junior varsity level last season.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Brandon King (1B/P), Scott Moscato (C/INF), Trever Murphy (C/OF), Brody Seiler (INF) and Kevin Simms (INF) and juniors Matt DeBord (utility), Lucas Pencek (OF/P) and John Slagle (INF/P).

"I like our balance," Daniels said. "We had our first scrimmage (last Tuesday against Westerville Central) and the boys played baseball. They were where they were supposed to be. They hit the cutoff man, we had good pitching and enough hitting. They played the game."

The Cougars will compete in the OCC-Central this season withCentral Crossing,Coffman, Hilliard Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and Worthington Kilbourne.

Westland and Central Crossing will play April 20 at Westland andMay 6 at Central Crossing. The teams also could meet in the South-Western Classic at Grove City on May 2.

Westland will open OCC-Central play Friday at Davidson.

"The division is very, very solid," Daniels said. "Everyone of those schools in our division have proud baseball traditions, both Worthingtons, both Hilliards, Coffman and Arlington. Central Crossing is a good solid baseball program, so they're all good."

Last season, the Cougars finished eighth in the OCC-Ohio behind first-place Darby (9-1), which went on to win adistrict championship before losing to Gahanna 9-8 in a regional semifinal.

"Our goals are basically to work hard and to be consistent with that and not to have letdowns," Daniels said. "Our goals are to be good people, be a class act, be good students and do the best we can all the time. We really think we will be rewarded for that someway, somehow."

At a glance

•Coach: Dave Daniels, seventh season

•Opener: Tuesday vs. Westerville South

•Key players: Tyler Entingh, Esteylon Martinez and Jose Reyes