STORM LAKE - The Buena Vista baseball season gets under way this Friday when the Beavers journey to Ft. Pierce, Fla., for its spring break trip.
Buena Vista, which finished 5-13 in the Iowa Conference and 16-20 overall last season, will be under the direction of first-year coach Steve Eddie.
Eddie played baseball at the University of Iowa and was in the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox organizations before retiring in 1999.
The Beavers return 12 letterwinners and five starters from last season's team.
Second baseman Nick Beard batted .448 with nine home runs and 53 RBIs to lead the Beavers last year. He also had 52 hits and scored 44 runs.
Quinn Hildmann, who batted .261 and scored 36 runs, is also back, as are Scott Going (.214), Joe Zubak (.205) and Bryan Baggett (.174).
Buena Vista lost starters Jerod Burns, Tom Cooper and Lance Ploeger. Burns batted .387, slugged six homers and drove in 42 runs, while Cooper hit .298 with two homers and 21 RBIs. Ploeger batted .291.
Buena Vista's pitching staff appears to be a question mark. Last season, the Beavers compiled a team ERA of 8.34. Burns was 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA to lead the rotation.
Heading the list of returnees to the mound include Mark McIntosh, Nathan Phillips, Barry Luchtel, Tom Menke, Luke Franzenburg, Chris Carlton, Eric Hoffman, Going, Nathan Kleve, Matt Boyd and Beard.
Luchtel was 3-0 with a 6.90 ERA last spring. McIntosh was 2-0 with a 6.17 ERA.