Oran has been a fixture in the state playoffs for close to a decade. The Eagles have been to the Class 1 final four in six of the last nine years including four of the last five.
While the Eagles have been close to the championship trophy, Oran has yet to win a state title. However, Oran has captured second place three times and third place six times.
Last season Oran lost to the eventual Class 1 state champs Sacred Heart 6-2 in the semifinals. The Eagles defeated Silex 6-4 in the third place game.
Oran head coach Mitch Wood believes his team has all the tools to make another run at the final four.
"One of our goals is of course to make the final four," said Wood. "To start we would like to win our conference and then the district. We return a solid group of pitchers that run five or six deep and that I believe is the strength of our team."
Chase Seyer, Alex Chasteen and Chris Asmus are projected to be the top three starters for the Eagles. Chaffee transfer Steven Dooley will also be expected to provide some solid innings. Last year, Dooley was Chaffee's go-
Second baseman Kody Campbell returns after a solid sophomore campaign. Last season, Campbell led Oran in batting with a .500 average. Catcher Caleb Seyer is also a top returning hitter for the Eagles as he hit .430 in 2006.
Shortstop Tyler Beardslee hit .350 and was an outstanding duo defensively up the middle for Oran with Campbell. Asmus and Seyer also had solid years at the plate batting .330 and .325 respectively.
Dooley, Kurt Rindlemann and Jake Carter are expected to man the outfield for the Eagles. Rindlemann is a transfer from Notre Dame and Carter received valuable time on the varsity level as a freshman.
Wood would like for his defense to show some improvements this season.
"Our defense was not that stellar last year at the state tournament," said Wood. "I have some concerns about our defense and our ability to do the little things necessary on defense."
Oran competes in the Class 1, District 2 and their main competition should be from Advance and Bernie. The Eagles defeated Advance in the district finals last year, 8-3.
"My biggest concern so far is to just get the season started," said Wood. "We have a big group of players and we have been moving some people around early. We have so many players that we have a junior varsity team this year. I think the kids are ready to get going to see what exactly we have. It should be an exciting season."
Oran travels to Bloomfield to open their season on Thursday at 4 p.m.