Prep baseball: Murray out to build on last season's success
Prep baseball • The Spartans fell to eventual state champion Skyline in the state semifinals last season.
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You might expect the Murray baseball team to have lofty expectations, given that the Spartans raced to the Class 4A state semifinals last season, with a 1-0 loss to eventual champ Skyline a major highlight on their résumé.

Murray coach Marce Wilson, however, thinks "reserved" might be the right word to describe his squad's goals for 2013. That's despite the core of that playoff team returning for another go.

"We have the nucleus of the team back, got our pitchers back, and that gives you a lot of confidence," Wilson said. "Our goal is to make the playoffs. We know if we get into the playoffs that we have the ability to be a tough victory for somebody else."

The Spartans coach thinks that "around seven to eight teams" potentially have the chance to earn a state championship in Class 4A, and if anyone knows how true that is, it's the Murray baseball team.

Murray entered the 2012 playoffs on the heels of a loss to district opponent Westlake and a 15-7 record. But the Spartans went on a postseason run that ultimately ended one game short of the championship.

"Obviously that's where we'd like to end up, but right now that's not our focal point," Wilson said.

Murray is off to a 3-0 start behind the pitching of Cam Howe, Chase Topham and others like McKade Jangard, Spencer Downs, Logan Jones and Rigby Butikofer.

The batting prowess for the Spartans also belongs to many of the same players, but throw in third baseman Bo Shipley, catcher Zach Collins and outfielder Court Adams as well.

"It was surreal after the previous years not doing so hot and not making the playoffs," Howe said about last season's playoff run. "Coaching makes a difference. There were no new players who came, just hard work and dedication to getting the right work done.

"Everyone's come together as a team, a lot of team camaraderie, and it's just working out for us right now."