Lindbergh High baseball team kicks off 2012 season with 6-5 win over Vianney

The Lindbergh High School baseball team started the 2012 season on a positive note, wining the first game of the 42nd annual Lindbergh-Mehlville Baseball Tournament.

The Flyers defeated Vianney 6-5 on Friday.

The Flyers have high expectations for themselves this season, which can be attributed to the large group of returning players from last season. Returning players include 10 seniors and one junior.

Lindbergh Head Coach Darin Scott told the Call during a preseason interview that he was optimistic about this year’s squad.

“They have a good idea of what’s expected of them and what their roles are,” Scott said.

The Flyers had a respectable year in 2011 as they went 16-11, which was good for second place in the Suburban West Conference. But Lindbergh fell to Rockwood Summit in the semifinals.

Even though expectations are high — and for good reason — the 2012 season will be a whole new ball game with the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s adoption of Ball Exit Speed Ratio, or BESR, bats.

The new rule is designed to limit bat performance at or near the maximum performance limits of a wood bat, thereby minimizing additional risks and promoting the sound traditions of the sport.

The Flyers will have to adjust to prevail in the new defensive-minded environment, according to Scott.

“Success this season will be a little more predicated on pitching and defense, especially with the new bats,” he said. “The key is going to be our ability to manufacture runs and keep guys off base. We need to solidify those areas.”

A large part of Lindbergh’s returning arsenal is on offense with six of the team’s top nine hitters back. Included in that group and beyond, Scott has high expectations for Matt Feldt, Sean Murphy, Jesse Maness, Kendall Helbert and pitcher Jordan Harmon.

But even with that array of experience — and several players looking to play college ball — one thing the Flyers do not have is a lot of depth, according to Scott.

“We have definitely got to stay healthy this year. We are kind of thin in depth in certain positions,” he said. “So it’s going to be important for us to take care of ourselves all season and set ourselves up for a stretch run.

“Hopefully, we can put it all together and make a good run. It’s going to be up to these seniors. A lot of them have their sights set on playing college ball, so whatever they want to make out of it, it’s up to them.”

The Lindbergh-Mehlville Baseball Tournament was scheduled to continue with games through Wednesday — after the Call went to press.