Liberal is in a good position this year coming off of a 10-11 season last year. The Bulldogs lost just two players to graduation in Jordan Beard and Jacob Blanchard.
Several key starters return led by senior shortstop and pitcher Jacob Dermott who will be a four-year starter for the Bulldogs. He was the ace on the mound a year ago with a 2.61 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched. He was also a big bat with a .403 average to go with 25 RBI and 21 runs scored.
The junior trio of Colby Selvey (CF/P), Sean Clark (C) and Weston Sprenkle (3B) give the Bulldogs a strong core of upperclassmen to lean on. Selvey rolled up 32 strikeouts and a 2.45 era in 20 innings on the hill last year. He also led the team with a .437 batting average and 27 RBI.
Fellow juniors Weston Wallace (IF) and Ethan Daniels (Util) along with sophomores Brandon Overman (1B), Bryan Rojo (3B/DH), Tyler West (Util) and Colten Slinker (IF) all saw time in the starting lineup last year and return this season.
That experience will be important to Liberal’s success this year.
“Our strength will definitely be our experience. We have had a lot of the same kids on the field for the past few seasons,” coach Travis Walton said. “Two years ago we won our district while starting five freshmen and one sophomore. Last year we fell short of our goals but have kids that have been there and had success before.”
Junior Austin Dobbs is another name to watch. He transferred in from Miami, Okla. and should see time in the outfield.
Depth will be another strength for the Bulldogs this season.
“I see us being very competitive night in and night out. I think we have a great group of very talented individuals,” Walton said. “They love the game and love to put in the work. Our biggest problem is where do we put everyone. I honestly believe we have around 13 players that would start for most teams in our classification. We look to be towards the top of our conference and make a post season push at the end.”
Liberal opens the season on Mar. 16 at Lamar in the Lamar Classic.