By Brian Deakyne
LITTLE SILVER — Experience isn’t in the Bucs arsenal, but there’s certainly no shortage of talent.
RBR will be using a number of underclassmen again this season, including a slew of pitchers that stepped up big in 2011, as head coach Louis Dal Pra — also the school’s Athletic Director — is taking over at the helm of the baseball program.
Dal Pra served as the head baseball coach at Ocean Township High School from 2000-2008, along with being the coach at Ocean Community College before that.
“It’s been a good transition,” Dal Pra said. “We don’t have the numbers that we had at Ocean. There, we would have 100 kids trying out for the baseball team. We don’t have that many kids here, but they are great kids and it’s a lot of fun to come out with them everyday.”
Red Bank Regional, who will be moving to the B-North in 2012, said they hope the team will be active on the field this season.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to win 20 games, but we want to be competitive and win a division. This is a team that is going to be very strong defensively, and we want to be able to run the bases well,” Dal Pra said.
The Bucs finished at 12-11 last season, including a loss in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group III state playoffs to Middletown South, the eventual champs of the tournament.
“We need to keep improving on our defense and the hitting will come with time,” Dal Pra said. “We want to be able to out-hustle every team that we play. We need to understand what we have to do on a daily basis, and just hustle and put the ball in play.”
Junior Brian Wycoff will lead the Bucs’ pitching staff in 2012 after posting a 2-1 record with a 1.56 earned run average a year ago.
“Our defense and our pitching is going to be our strong point,” Dal Pra said.
Starting 2012, the National Federation of State High School Associations announced that all bats used in high school play need to be BBCOR certified, something Dal Pra believes will favor his defensive-minded club.
“I think the new bats will definitely help us and keep us in a lot of games,” he said. “We’re a young club and we have talent at the younger levels.”
Red Bank Regional will open their season on March 28, where they will take on Old Bridge.
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