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Baseball Preview: Eagles move up to Class 2A

Simon Killeen will be looked upon as a leader this season. (Staff photo by Dane Mizutani)

A new season for the Eagles baseball team brings an entirely new set of circumstances. That’s both exciting and nerve wracking for coach Dave Darr.

New Life Academy is the defending Class 1A champion. And it won’t get a chance to defend that title as it moved up a class this season.

“There are some kids that are going to get a chance to show what they can do,” Darr said. “We are also going to need some younger kids to step up and play. We don’t necessarily have a ton of numbers throughout the program, so kids have to be ready. We have talent. They just need to perform to their abilities.”

Darr joked that last season would’ve been the perfect time for his program to move from Class 1A to Class 2A. That team boasted a roster laden with experience — a big reason the Eagles won a title.

“That would’ve been fun to see,” Darr said. “We were a veteran team last season. That’s out of our control, though, so we won’t dwell on it too much.”

After graduating a handful of players, and moving up a class, the expectations are different this season.

“We don’t want to say it’s a rebuild,” Darr said. “We expect to be successful. We just want to give ourselves a chance come the end of the season.”

The cupboard isn’t bare for New Life Academy this season.

Darr will lean on the likes of Simon Killeen, Brad Goulet, and Thomas Gunderson, among a few other players that played a big role on that championship team.

“We know we have some big shoes to fill this season,” Killeen said. “We have to make sure we stay together. That’s going to play a big role in our success.”

Goulet said he’s looking forward to the challenge of playing tougher competition.

“It feels right to move up,” he said. “There will be a lot more closer games. It makes it more fun even if we do lose a few more games.”

Killeen said more than anything the team is looking forward to getting the season started.

New Life Academy opened the season on Monday and has a game every single day this week.

“We are jumping right in,” Killeen said. “It’s definitely exciting for us.”

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