NEW MARTINSVILLE - Entering his 40th season on the bench as the coach of the Magnolia baseball team, Dave Cisar has seen a lot. One thing he hasn't had to worry about is navigating the West Virginia Class A ranks, not that's he's overly concerned with it.
''We generally play up so to speak with our schedule,'' Cisar said. ''But this regional is going to be tough.''
The Blue Eagles were within a handful of outs of going to the state tournament in what was termed a rebuilding season, and with only two seniors lost to graduation things appear to be on the right track.
''We're pretty excited,'' Cisar said. ''But we're cautiously excited.
''I like this group - they really love the game of baseball.''
The returners start with a pair of all-staters in pitcher Kyle Elliott and Ryan Walton. Each put forth solid numbers last season and will be leaned upon heavily.
Junior Zach Wilhoite, a 6-foot-6 standout on the basketball team, will handle some of the load on the mound, as will seniors Tanner Hanna and juniors Jake Starkey and Chandler Sapp. Elliott will also see some time as a positional player, mostly at shortstop, as all of the pitchers will play in the field when not on the mound.
Drew Keller has really been a nice surprise, according to Cisar and looking to leave his mark on Blue Eagles lore. Back again behind the plate is junior Grant Cain, who has done nothing but impress the coach since putting on a Magnolia uniform.
Also keep an eye on Yale Wetzel, a junior who transferred to Wetzel County last season.
''This has the potential to be a very good team,'' Cisar said. ''We've got what we feel is a good rotation and have some big bats in the lineup.''
Cisar noted there are a couple of freshmen who are looking to crash the party early.
Cisar is again being assisted by former Blue Eagle standout Trey Barcus, who was formerly on the staff at Berkley Springs High School.