With eight returnees back, Newton High School baseball coach Mark George is optimistic about his team’s chances.

George begins his 12th season as Railer coach. He is assisted by Andy Preston, Justin Hinsley, Cole Sturgeon and Brandon McGhlaughlin.

Newton was 11-8 last season, 5-5 in AV-CTL I play. Newton fell to Andover 6-1 in the Class 5A regional semifinals.

Returning players include Warren Dietz, Hunter Mapes, Christian Malcolm, Bryan Cusick, Sport Tegethoff, Jacer Maxwell, Alex Kern and Matt Seirer.

“With a number of returns we expect to compete for a league title and state,” George said.

George looks at Derby, Maize and Salina Central to be among the top contenders for the league title this season. Non-league opponents include Valley Center, Andover Central and Abilene.

Schedule

First game starts at 4 p.m. unless noted

March 29 Valley Center

April 6 @ Andover Central

April 10 Salina Central

April 13 @ Abilene (4:30 p.m.)

April 17 @ Campus

April 20 Derby

April 24 @ Maize

April 26 @ Salina South

May 1 Hutchinson

May 14-17 Regionals TBA

May 24-25 State @ Eck Stadium, Wichita TBA