ANDERSON — Anderson Preparatory Academy must wait a few more months to become eligible for IHSAA postseason play.
But that's not stopping the Jets' baseball team from aiming high this spring.
"We have a team goal of 14 wins (in 23 games)," new coach Chad Wetz said. "That's a lofty goal, and that would blow away the school record. But we feel with our senior leadership and work ethic, it can be attainable."
That senior leadership begins with captains Noah Long, Austin Norris and Travis Hinchman. All three are four-year starters.
Long is APA's ace and also will play shortstop. Norris will pitch, play both middle infield positions and add some pop at the plate. And Hinchman is the Jets' catcher.
Anderson Prep boasts three other seniors in third baseman Dennis Boyd, first baseman Logan Burns and second baseman/pitcher Josh Burke. This is Boyd's first year at the varsity level, and Burke is playing for the first time since his freshman year.
Burke turned a few heads with his bat during a scrimmage against Eastern Hancock last week.
Junior Clayton Myers will serve as the utilityman, and three sophomores also are expected to make an impact — center fielder Malandric Skipper-Blair, Phoenix King and Nathan Shultz.
Five freshmen round out the roster — Isaac Long, Jamison McQueary, Justin Cox, RJ Ploughe and Andrew Melvin.
"We hit the ball really well (in the scrimmage against the Royals)," Wetz said. "We don't keep score. But we played good defense, and we produced quite a few runs."
Wetz is a familiar face on the local sports scene. He coached the Anderson girls basketball team for five years and took the Lady Tribe to the Class 4A Final Four in 2007.
Wetz also has coached boys basketball at Alexandria and baseball at Shenandoah, where he led the Raiders to county and conference championships in 2009. He currently serves as an assistant coach for Anderson University's women's basketball team in addition to his teaching and coaching duties at APA.
"The two seasons really don't conflict," Wetz said. "And as close in proximity as the two schools are, it's a pretty easy balance. I enjoy the mix. My passion has always been basketball, but I've loved coaching baseball. This gives me the opportunity to do both."
The Jets are playing without a full roster this week as the school is on spring break, but everyone will be back next week when the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament begins.
APA had a short stay in the bracket a year ago, losing to Alexandria in the opener before being eliminated by Elwood on Day 2.
That's another item on the list of things Wetz hopes to change this year.
"Whether or not we have the ability to win the county, we want to have a good showing in the tournament," he said. "We have a chance to win a game or two. We want that chance to play in the winner's bracket."