RED OAK — The Red Oak Hawks are young as they enter this year’s season, second-year head coach Heath Aurey feels.
They were even younger last season but are better for it after gaining a measurable of varsity experiences.
It didn’t result in a playoff appearance; the last time Red Oak advanced to the postseason was in 2006.
And having finished with a 9-19 season, Autrey feels he has the tools to finish with a better mark.
He points to a six-man pitching rotation as proof of that.
“We feel we have a good core of pitchers, and we can play defense,” Autrey said.
It’s a tall order — literally — as the Red Oak pitchers are all 6- footers at least.
The rotation is headlined by Grayson College signee and right hander Kolby Kissinger (6-Foot 3), who was a first-team all-district selection.
Brent Fletcher (6-foot 4) was the district’s sophomore of the year and is another returning pitcher.
Other hurlers include juniors Tanner Milke (6-foot 2) and Cody Alsup (6-foot 4) and newcomers in sophomores Garrett Thomas (6-foot 1) and left hander Robert Elles (6-foot 2).
Travis Wallis, a Breckenridge transfer, is a 6-foot 3 junior and will see action on the mound.
Milke was also a first team all district selection.
Offense is another key element to Red Oak’s success, Autrey notes.
“We will have some young guys in the lineup that are going to have to improve offensively in a hurry,” Autrey said.
One of the best hitters on the squad is Zach Hernandez, a 6-foot sophomore, who hit .340 in 38 at plate appearances.
The Hawks were 3-9 in district.
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