Despite a young team and a new coach, the Mount View High School baseball team has high hopes for the 2011 season under first-year coach Chris Hink.

Hink, who also coaches the Mustang boys varsity soccer team, said even though his baseball team has limited experience, with practice it can build itself into a formidable squad.

The coach said during the preseason the team worked hard and bought into “what we are doing and, once they build their confidence, they are going to be able to compete in the league,” he said.

The Mustangs include Alec Davis, Billy Ripley, Markus Lowe, Jake Aitken, Tyler McCormick, Adam Higgins, Craig Nealley, Jay Babin, Aaron Elkins, Taylor Reynolds, Joel Poulin, Devon Fuller, Kyle Turner, Ricky Moulton, Ethan Harding, Bryan Jungles, Jack Simpson, Kenneth McGray, Gavin Caler and Erik Larrabee.

Last season, Mount View finished the regular season with a record of 2-14 and 18th among 19 in Eastern Class B.

Even though the squad has played a few preseason games and two regular-season contests together, coach Hink is mostly happy with their performance.

“Our plate discipline has been fantastic in the first three preseason games that we have had, which is nice to see, to know that they do have that discipline at the plate,” the coach said. “They are making great contact right now.”

Currently, the ‘Stangs are working on fielding, trying to eliminate errors and pitching better.

“Pitching-wise we don’t have the greatest speed pitchers, but [we have] pitch [to] contact,” Hink said. “Strikes, no walks please.”

However, the coach looks for a little luck so the Mustangs can improve on last season as well.

“You never know what happens in baseball, it’s a fun game,” Hink said. “The best team doesn’t always win. High school more so than not, but you can come around and sneak one out here and there [against] some of the better teams and that’s all it takes sometime to get in the upper half of the league.”

Hink’s roster does not include more than four returning varsity players but that does not mean the Mustangs do not know how to play ball. He said plenty of the young athletes have had experience in summer leagues and can apply their experience here.

Also, they have a solid group of juniors. “They have played a lot of baseball,” Hink said. “How they are going to transfer it at the varsity level is what it comes down to and they are good athletes.”

A few players, like captain, pitcher, and solid hitter Davis, look like they will lead the team. The coach added Nealley and Davis will be keys for the team this year as well.

“Those guys are going to stick out and going to help this team stick together,” the coach said. “Keep the chemistry going and we are going to have fun.”

However, there are no star players this year, he said, which could be a good thing.

“That’s what I like about this team,” said Hink. “There is not one person who sticks out so they really have to rely on each other. They have to start to rely on the defensive play.”

The first-year coach said pitchers will have to rely on defense and the fielders will have to work hard to fill that role.

“They have to communicate,” he said, “They need to know the situations, they can’t throw the ball around too much and make critical errors that will cost runs and so far they are working at it.”

That kind of teamwork will have to be a key for the Mustangs to succeed.

“With these kids its more of a trust issue. If they trust their coach and they believe in their coach, and hopefully they listen and they work hard, from that they should continue to work hard to improve these skills,” the coach said. “So when it does get in the field it pays off.”

In the end, coach Hink wants to build his team both on and off the field.

“It’s only a time thing. It’s going to take some time and they know that, they realize that, but they are playing good ball right now,” he said. “Once they are together and are having fun together they are going to trust each other when they get on the field and that goes a long way.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at fritz@villagesoup.com.