CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Coming into his fifth season leading the Cambridge Central School baseball team, coach Jason Waite has two things this season that he's never had before.
Depth and experience.
Waite has 17 players on his roster, with all but one either a junior or senior, including 9 returning with varsity experience.
"It's nice having those numbers because it gives me options," said Waite on Monday during practice. "Kids can play different positions, they're more versatile. Hopefully [the returners] know the game a little better, the competition makes everyone better."
Second-team All-Banner pitchers Matt Parmenter and Shaeden Mosso, who combined for 100 strikeouts in only 57 innings, have both graduated and senior Brady Sausville will be the Indians' ace this season.
"Brady comes back, he pitched tough last year ... beat Granville and nearly beat Greenwich," Waite said. "As a lefty, he keeps people off balance and he has a good move to first. He needs to eat a lot of innings for us."
Sausville, an honorable mention All-Banner selection, will be joined by a rotation-by-committee with Graham Hall, Andy Romack, Ethan English, Caleb Rowland, Lucas Motsiff and Austin Dean all getting innings as the year goes on.
"We know now that Brady's our strongest pitcher, he can throw different stuff at you," Rowland said. "Other guys have some experience pitching, but not a lot. We've been working with Coach [Kyle] Parmenter, he's showing us different pitches to throw and ways to better ourselves as the year goes on.
Parmenter, a Cambridge grad, is in his first year as an assistant for the Indians after playing at Herkimer County Community College.
"You can't have enough baseball minds," Waite said. "He's a great help to the program."
At the plate, Sausville and Rowland are the top returning hitters for a team that struggled in close games a year ago.
"We had a ton of strikeouts, so we've been working on cutting down on the Ks and putting the ball in play," Waite said. "The [extra year] of experience should help with that."
The competition will be the key, with lineups possibly changing on a daily basis. That starts with the 3-year starters, including Sausville, Rowland, English and Clayton Harrington. But the new players up from JV need to start fast as well.
"Whoever's producing will play," Waite said. "I have four or five newcomers who need to produce."
"Everyone is working so hard because of the competition, no one's spot is set," Rowland said. "Playing time will be limited, but everyone can offer something different."
The weather has already played havoc on the schedule, forcing the first week of games to be pushed back later in the season, where teams could be playing three or four times in a week.
"It stinks to be in the gym, Coach Waite is trying to make it fun," Rowland said. "[We're doing] the best we can with infield-outfield drills. It all starts with non-league games, I think as the year goes on, we'll progress. We'll be looking to see where everyone is as a team at first to see where we all fit in."
If everyone stays healthy, there's no reason the Indians can't reach the heights of 2011, when Cambridge won the Class C sectional title.
"We're hoping to get there, but at this point, we want to qualify for sectionals, because we know what can happen when we get there," Waite said. "The whole [Wasaren] League is tough, Hoosic Valley, Greenwich, Schuylerville returns a bunch, Hoosick Falls is always tough. Night in and night out, it's tough, which is brutal, but it helps you get ready for sectionals."