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A year ago, the Buford High baseball team finished as the Region VIII-AA runner-up.Jackets’ coach Joe Wright said his team can again be in the thick of the battle this spring.“We have a good group of players back this season,” Wright said. “Defensively, we have a sound team and our hitting will come around with some of our younger players gaining experience. We can make a run for the region.”The Jackets, 14-11 last spring, are bolstered by a solid battery in junior catcher Joe Wright and senior hurler Christian Dickson.Wright earned MVP honors, while Dickson was the Jackets’ Best Defensive Player as the ace.Dickson heads the staff which has includes returnee Blake Larrimore, a senior, along with Dylan Hydrick, a sophomore who reaped Junior Jackets’ baseball MVP honors last season.Returnees Colt Ellis and Gavin Flynn will also see mound time.Wright, who earned all-region honors with Dickson, will handle the catching chores. Freshman Ricky Lewis provides depth.Junior Dwayne Ray, a varsity and jayvee performer last season, is at first base along with freshman Logan Segee.Ellis, who played third base last season, has moved to second base. Sophomore Britt Wells will also work at second.Hydrick will play third base where senior returnee Dustin Carnes will also see playing time.Larrimore handles shortstop, with freshman Jacob Jamison adding depth. Dickson will also see playing time in the infield.Junior returnee Donald Kirkley is in left field, with Wells adding depth. Flynn, when not on the mound, will play center field and Cheyne Horne, a junior, gets the call in right field.Junior Justin Altman, injured during a recent practice, is sidelined, but could return later in the Jackets’ season.“This team will improve as the season moves on,” Wright said. “We have a good mix of veterans and new players.”Wright expects a tough region race.“Andrew Jackson is going to be better. It will be a battle between Buford, AJ, Central and Cheraw.”Lee Central, which didn’t field a team last season, returns to region play this season.“It’s a wide-open race, so we have to play well each time we take the field,” said Wright, who is assisted by Brian Threatt, Jackie Wallace and Rick Kirkley.BHS opened its season Saturday, facing Ben Lippen in the North Central Invitational.