The Vikings may have the best and deepest pitching staff in the league this season.
That gives sixth-year coach Dave Appleby hope that his team will be a strong contender after finishing in third place last season.
The ace of this staff figures to be Eric Volland, a senior right-hander who is coming off a 5-1 season.
Another senior, right-hander Steve Lawson, was only 1-2 but right now appears to be Mount Hebron's No. 2 starter.
Joining that mound duo are a couple of impressive junior varsity graduates, juniors Greg Hylock and Mike Cudzillo. They'll also pack a lot of offensive punch.
Cudzillo, who plays third base when he doesn't pitch, posted an 8-3 record for the Dayton Raiders 15-16 team last summer. He also batted .336 for Dayton after hitting .452 for Mount Hebron's junior varsity.
Hylock batted .511 with four home runs for Mount Hebron's junior varsity. For Dayton he batted .314 with 12 extra-base hits and compiled a 5-2 pitching record. He offers the Vikings a lefty hitter and thrower -- both rarities in the league this season. He'll play first base or the outfield when he doesn't pitch.
On the minus side, none of the pitchers throw extremely hard and only Volland has much varsity experience.
Appleby thinks the team has depth and speed, but is not sure how well it will hit.
Senior center fielder Mike Fadrowski batted .360 last season, so he's looked on to be a key offensive contributor this season.
Senior Ron Bates batted .278 as a second baseman last season, but an injury has forced him into a designated hitter's role.
Mike Cole, one of six returning seniors, will be in left field. Senior Sean Burke will take over at second base.
Sophomore Tony Giro shows promise at shortstop. He batted .360 last summer for Harbor Federal.
Junior Matt Driscoll will play the outfield. Juniors Ben Colvard and Rusty Shown will vie for the catching position.
Last year the Vikings were 13-8 overall and 9-5 in the league, and lost to Overlea in extra innings in the Class 2A regional playoffs.
With only one starting player returning, second-year coach Bill Winder's Scorpions will be happy to produce another season like last year when they went 9-10 overall and 6-8 in the league.
Senior center fielder Eric Jayne is that lone returning starter. He's a fine defensive player with speed and started every game last season.
Senior Paul Scarzello figures to be one of the team's top two pitchers. He was 3-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 44 innings for the Columbia Reds 15-16 team last summer.
Senior Matt Noon, who didn't play last season, should be a top performer. He batted .382 with eight doubles and 41 RBI for the Columbia Reds 15-16 team last summer. He also was 8-4 with a 3.87 ERA for the Reds. He's a 6-3, 215-pounder with power who plays first base when not pitching.
Senior Ryan Dawson will play shortstop. He's not flashy but is steady and has hit well in practice.
Winder has high hopes for sophomore Eamon Gallagher in the catching spot. Gallagher batted .420 for the junior varsity last season and has speed and a good arm.
Winder is carrying 10 seniors, seven juniors and two sophomores.
"We're not overly gifted athletically, but we'll try to run a lot, bunt and hit-and-run," Winder said.
Last season the team batted only .226 and Winder thinks that will improve this year. "We lost six games by two runs or less," he said.
He thinks that Noon and Scarzello will provide solid pitching, but that the defense still has a couple of question marks, including third base.
Wilde Lake has not had a tradition of strong baseball teams, but in recent years the program has begun to turn around.
More improvement can be expected this year, although the Wildecats return only three starters from a team that was 5-13 overall and 5-9 in the league. They do return nine seniors.
A key Wildecat is senior shortstop Bill Ferguson, who batted .477 and is regarded as one of the league's top all-around players.
Pitching depth will be a strength for Wilde Lake.
Senior pitchers Josh Brooks and Brian Gerring may be the team's No. 1 and No. 2 starters. But senior left-hander Rob McGrain and senior Ian Whipkey can help. Whipkey throws hard but has control problems.
The team also may get a big boost from senior Nate Casella, who didn't play last season but who throws hard.
The infield should be Brooks at first base, Gerring at second base, Ferguson at shortstop and Gabe Goldhirsh, another pitcher, at third base.
Sophomore Tony DeSantis will compete with Matt Peak for the catching position.
The outfield has junior Mark Davis (who also pitches), seniors John Enrico, Josh Hall and Steve Rice.
"We're shooting for the top third of the standings and the state playoffs," second-year coach Tim O'Brien said. "It depends on how many players step up for us. We'll be starting guys who never played a varsity game. We lack power so we have to run a lot."