Leading the rotation is senior Lucas Rannefeld and junior Shannon Taylor. In their first year as pitching starters the two combined for a dozen wins, registered a 3.45 ERA, saved two games, tossed six complete games, and struck out 91 in 97 innings. Taylor earned 1st team All District Honors as a sophomore. An ACL injury to senior Cameron Moore (4-4 as a junior, two complete games) opens a spot in the rotation.
Junior Russtin Miller and seniors Travis Walker and Holden Holm will compete for time on the mound.
Experience also returns in the field. Senior catcher Gabriel Garcia returns to handle the pitching staff, and Walker returns at first base. Rannefeld (2nd team all district shortstop in 2008) and Taylor figure to rotate at shortstop, with Miller at third.
Outfield is loaded with junior Brett Epperson (1st team all district as a sophomore), Holm (1st team all district designated hitter in ’08), Marcus Miller, and Dustin White competing with Clayton Whitley, Scott Rosenbaum and Joey Leal for playing time.
“Last year’s seniors combined to hit .333 and provided clutch hits and great leadership and work ethic,” observed Coach Villalon. “Our returning lettermen combined to hit .263 last year, so a lot of young men are going to need to step up, be leaders, and make big plays at the plate and on the field.”
The Horns take on Refugio, Falls City and private school powerhouse John Paul in non district action, and are playing in the Columbus, Live Oak, and Falfurrias tournaments in preparation for tough district play.