There are plenty of new faces to go around with the Starkville High School baseball program in 2019.
Jack Perry and Caleb Stewart are back as regular every day players from last season, but there are several Yellow Jackets that will be getting their feet wet under new head coach Luke Adkins.
Adkins coaches his first game Tuesday, weather permuting, as SHS is scheduled to play Mooreville in the Houston Classic at 2:30 p.m.
He likes some of the young Jackets on the roster and he plans to use them early.
"Our sophomore class has several guys and are going to be big contributors for us," Adkins said. "You might even see some freshman and even an eighth grader for us. We've got a lot of talented kids all the way up in every grade level. The main thing is getting them some experience.
"As far as every day starting guys, we've got Jack Perry and Caleb Stewart. We've got some others that have experience. We're just going to throw them in the mix and see how it goes."
Adkins has already gotten a good look at what his team can do thanks to last Saturday's New Hope Jamboree. SHS had two four-inning scrimmages against West Point and Houston.
Getting to see the Jackets "in a true game atmosphere" was positive in Adkins' mind.
"I thought we played pretty good and pitched the ball really well," Adkins said. "We played pretty good defensively. We made your normal first-game mistakes with base running. You could tell we haven't seen just a lot of live pitching, but we had some really good moments. We probably had eight or nine guys through both games that had seven-pitch-plus at-bats. We executed the short game when we were called to do it and I think it's only going to get better.
"I had a lot of different guys in the mix with the lineups so we had basically two totally different lineups. I have a lot of guys who are going to compete for positions. You'll see a lot of different lineups early. It will come down to who takes the job."
SHS went through an extensive offseason training program that included an emphasis in the weight room.
Adkins said a priority has been on player development which he hopes will be a big difference for the Jackets this season. He has worked with pitchers on mechanics and focused on many offensive areas.
"I've done a lot of video review and analysis," Adkins said. "The better we make the kids individually when you put them on the field together, it just makes sense."
Thursday's game against New Hope, which was originally scheduled in Starkville, will now played on the road to give a better opportunity for the outing to take place if weather allows.