REED CITY - Reed City coach Marty Shaffer returns for his second year as baseball skipper with hopes of turning out a winning season. The Coyotes were 8-24 in Shaffer's first season. Key players returning are seniors Ray Phenix and Trevor Thiel, plus sophomore Lucas Straub. "Those are the three guys from last year that have had a lot of playing time," Shaffer said. "We have a few juniors coming in that had some time last year like Taylor Pelton and Quintin Kichak, and Derek Rasor. They'll be looking to get playing time as well." Shaffer indicated Phenix would be Reed City's No. 1 pitcher, a designated hitter and first baseman. Thiel will be at shortstop, third base and pitcher. Straub will be a pitcher and second baseman. Pelton will be at center field and perhaps third base. Kichak has a strong bat and will probably play first or third base. Rasor is set to be a catcher and outfielder. "Last year, we lost a lot of seniors," Shaffer said. "Those guys carried the workload for us. I wish I would have had them longer. They were a little rough around the edges. At the end, we came through and actually got a lot better. The experience the guys had that are back this year should help. "The guys are in shape from playing basketball and football. They won two districts this year so we're trying to get the momentum over to baseball from some of those guys. But we have a good core group. We have four freshmen on the JV team that will probably \u00a0have a chance at one point to move up. They're good athletes." Shaffer is confident the Coyotes can make some noise in the Central State Activities Association's Gold Division. "I don't know if we'll be at the very top of the league, but I hope we can make a run for it," he said. "We're going to be solid in pitching and probably on defense. Our struggle will be hitting, which is what I like to teach." The Coyotes have mostly been practicing indoors. "We've been mostly inside working on fundamental stuff," Shaffer said. "A lot of the guys put time in other sports, so it's hard for them to work all winter long and be involved in baseball until it's baseball season." Weather-permitting, the Coyotes were to open their season at home Tuesday against Lakeview. Home games are at the field behind the high school. The next scheduled games are April 15 at Manton.