LONE GROVE — Sulphur baseball is getting a head start on their path back to winning baseball this summer, working on the nuts and bolts at area baseball festivals as they look to rebuild heading into the 2019 baseball season.

LONE GROVE  — Sulphur baseball is getting a head start on their path back to winning baseball this summer, working on the nuts and bolts at area baseball festivals as they look to rebuild heading into the 2019 baseball season. 

The Bulldogs only lost three players from last year’s team, and this summer, Sulphur has featured a prolific lineup with many familiar faces. But, for the first time in a long time, the Bulldogs are taking the diamond without standout Dawson Muck.

Sulphur head coach Corey Cole said It will be a tough task replacing the outfielder and pitcher, who led the Bulldogs both in the dugout and on the field last season. But Cole said he’s liked what he’s seen early from his young team.

“Dawson was our senior leader, and a great ball player for us,” he said. “He’s a guy we’re going to have to replace, but we’ve got some good young guys coming up. We started a lot of sophomores last year and a couple of freshman.”

With the Baseball Festivals, like the one they hosted last week and the one they’re currently participating in at Lone Grove, Cole likes what he sees for the future of Sulphur baseball.

“We’re just getting in the reps and seeing what we have to work with,” Cole said. “The nucleus we’ll have will next spring — we’re getting excited about that.”

Sulphur struggled to get out of the gates early and ended the 2018 season with a 3-24 record last year and an exit in the district playoffs. 

But the season provided valuable experience for many of the young standouts on the Sulphur team, Cole said.

One former underclassman Cole singled out as a player with the potential to have a big year was incoming junior pitcher and shortstop Taigen White. 

“I think Taigen is going to become a leader for us,” Cole said. 

“He’s been playing a lot of baseball and I think he knows the role he needs to play for us to be successful.”

White started both his freshman and sophomore year for the Bulldogs in 2017 and 2018.

In 2019, White hopes to have another standout year, and this summer he said he’s specifically working on his craft at the plate to help replace the void left by Muck.

“It’s a big honor [to be placed in the same role as Dawson Muck],” White said. “Dawson was a great player and helped us out a lot. It’ll be tough, but I think we’ll be able to get through it.”

White said the team is showing promise early and he has expectations come Spring. 

“We’re probably going to be pretty good this year,” White said. 

“Last year we were alright, but we struggled in districts. But I’ve been talking with Coach Cole, and we think we have the potential to make the state tournament this year possibly.”