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Southeast Missouri State baseball team faces a major overhaul
Southeast Missouri State baseball coach Mark Hogan has faced reloading situations in the past.
Those generally turned out well, and Hogan expects no different in 2012 despite losing 18 seniors from this year's team.
"Overall I'm feeling really good," Hogan said about next season.
Hogan also feels good about the Redhawks' 2011 campaign that recently concluded with a third-place finish at the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
While the Redhawks fell short of the tournament title, they did redeem themselves with a 2-2 showing after going 0-2 the past two seasons at the tournament.
Southeast (34-22) tied for the third-most wins in program history and the most since the 2002 club posted 37 victories. The Redhawks finished second in the nine-team OVC during the regular season.
"Just a great year from the beginning to the end," said Hogan, who led the Redhawks to their league-record 17th straight OVC tournament appearance. That's every season Hogan has coached his alma mater.
Hogan, who has led Southeast to nine seasons of 30 or more wins -- the program only had one before he took over -- now faces the task of replacing those 18 seniors, many of whom were among the Redhawks' top players.
"We're losing a lot of artillery, but there's a lot of opportunity for new players, including a lot of guys we redshirted this year," said Hogan, who notched his 500th career win at Southeast this season. "I feel like we satisfied a lot through recruiting."
While Southeast has not yet announced most of its recruits for next season, Hogan and his staff already have signed several players and are expected to add more this summer. That's in addition to the five freshmen who redshirted this year.
"The guys we're losing are first class. It's pretty hard to lose them," junior shortstop Kenton Parmley said. "But I hear we've signed some really good players."
Southeast's pitching staff is being hit especially hard by graduation. Ten of the Redhawks' 13 hurlers were seniors. That includes all three conference starters and Logan Mahon, their top reliever.
"We feel like we signed some good arms," Hogan said.
The Redhawks will return several key position players and appear to have a fairly set infield for next season, led by All-American junior third baseman Trenton Moses from Advance High School.
Moses, the OVC player of the year, paced Southeast in batting average (.395), home runs (11) and RBIs (53). All three figures ranked among the league leaders.
Moses likened next season's situation to what took place before the 2010 campaign. The Redhawks lost numerous key seniors, brought in 19 newcomers and won 30 games.
"It's tough to replace all those guys," Moses said about the seniors. "But you go back to two years ago, we lost so many guys and brought in a lot of the guys who were seniors this year. Hopefully it will turn out well."
While the Redhawks lose their five top hitters for average behind Moses, they return other solid position players.
Parmley hit .308 with 17 doubles, five homers and 30 RBIs.
Junior Taylor Heon (.306), who split time at second base but did not play much late in the year, likely will assume that position full time next season.
Junior Jesse Tierney (.277) split time at catcher, primarily playing against right-handers, and appears entrenched behind the plate for 2012.
Junior Kody Campbell (.256 in 43 at-bats) looks like the top candidate to take over at first base.
Campbell, from Oran, rarely played over the last half of the season but had a strong sophomore campaign, batting .295 and leading the Redhawks with a .480 on-base percentage.
"Start with Moses, Parmley, Heon, Tierney, Campbell," Hogan said. "That's not a bad place to start. We've got some pieces coming back."
Southeast loses its top four outfielders. Hogan is high on athletic redshirt freshman Cole Bieser, who received just 24 at-bats and primarily was used as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.
Another outfield possibility is junior Brennan Malham, who had just 18 at-bats but showed some pop. He batted .278 with a homer and two doubles.
Infielder Derek Gibson also is a candidate for more playing time next year. Gibson is a backup quarterback on the Southeast football team who had only one at-bat as a redshirt freshman this season.
Underclass pitchers accounted for just two of Southeast's 34 wins.
Sophomore Shae Simmons from Scott City did not have nearly the type of season he had in 2010 when he won the OVC freshman of the year award but still recorded five saves.
Junior Ryan Prickett and freshman Christian Hull, who both notched a victory, primarily were situational left-handers.
While Hogan knows the 2012 Redhawks will face numerous question marks from those outside the program, he's already excited about trying to put the pieces together.
"It's going to be a different type of club," Hogan said. "It's going to be interesting, but it's also going to be exciting to see how it all comes together."