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2013 Spring Preview: New Life Academy baseball team return eight starters from last year's squad

The New Life Academy baseball team hits the field this year in hope of improving on its 9-12 overall record in 2012.

Last year, after beating Trinity at River Ridge, 11-1, in the opening round of the Section 4A playoffs, the Eagles' season came to an end with a 10-0 loss to West Lutheran.

This year, the Eagles have a new head coach, Dave Darr, who replaces Jim Mazzon.

"I think the biggest thing is the youth of our team finally getting to a point where we can't use youth as an excuse," Darr said. "Our junior class is talented and they have been on varsity for a few years so nothing will be new to them. We started an eighth grader and a few freshmen last year and they are a year older and stronger. It will be interesting to see how we stack up this year."

New Life Academy returns eight starters from last year's club. The Eagles have only one senior on the roster this year, so the team is still relatively young, but many gained experience at the varsity level last year.

Back with the team are key players, including, John Horner, Sam Mazzon and Sam Horner.

"We will be athletic and have a nice mix of speed and a little power," Darr said. "The key is finding enough pitching. If we can get enough outs we will be pretty competitive. I am pretty excited from what I have seen in practice so far."

Darr said he expects West Lutheran and Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity to be the teams to beat in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association and West Lutheran and Saint Agnes to be the top teams in Section 4A.

New Life is set to begin the season on Thursday, April 4, at St. Paul Johnson. The Eagles' first home game is scheduled for Monday, April 8, against St. Agnes at Bielenberg Sports Complex.