Seven seniors will be the strength for Marshalltown baseball this summer.
The Bobcats open play tonight in a doubleheader at Newton heavy on experience with players set to make their last go-round.
Kyle Carnahan, Connor Bueghly, Paul Fienup, Bennett Mann, Alex Thompson and Tre Blackford are all slated to be starters with Zach Moore playing in a utility role as MHS looks to improve upon its 19-19 campaign a year ago.
"So far this season our seniors have demonstrated the ability to lead and a willingness to work that we haven't had here from a group in a long time," said MHS head coach Steve Hanson. "Being a senior means you not only have to take care of yourself, but you also have to take care of the people around you."
Carnahan headlines the group after a second-team CIML Iowa Conference nod last season following a year that saw him lead MHS in batting average (.376), runs (33), hits (47), triples (2), home runs (4), slugging percentage (.568), and on-base percentage (.463).
"You rely heavily on those guys who have had the most at-bats and the most experience and I guess that starts with Carnahan," Hanson said. "He's been around a couple of years and played at this level a couple of years. He's a real talented player who in my mind has a long way to go before he reaches his potential."
2012 Marshalltown Baseball Schedule
(All 5:30 p.m. doubleheaders unless noted)
May 21, at Newton
May 24, DES MOINES NORTH
May 28, at CR Kennedy (1), 3 p.m.
May 29, at Johnston
May 30, Waterloo East (1), 7:30 p.m.
June 1, Indianola, (1), 7:30 p.m.
June 4, at Ames
June 7, WDM Valley
June 8, Des Moines Roosevelt
June 11, at Mason City
June 14, Fort Dodge
June 15, at Dowling Catholic
June 18, at Waukee
June 21, Ames
June 25, at WDM Valley
June 28, Mason City
June 29, at DM Hoover (1), 7:30 p.m.
June 30, Brent Prange Invite, at Ankeny, TBA
July 2, at Fort Dodge, 4 p.m.
July 5, Waukee
July 9, Ottumwa
July 10, at Ankeny
MHS will sport an all-senior outfield with Mann in right, Bueghly in left and in center will be Thompson, "who may be as good of defensive outfielder as there is around," noted Hanson. Thompson led the Bobcats with 31 steals a year ago.
Carnahan, Mann and Thompson started in all 38 games last season.
Blackford will man second base while Fienup and Carnahan will split duties behind the plate. Carnahan, Blackford and Mann will also be part of the pitching staff.
"Our seniors are good teammates," Hanson said. "Because of their involvement in other sports, they understand what kind of investment is necessary to be good players and good teammates.
"Because of their attitudes we have a better chance of being successful this summer."