After weeks of practice and unfavorable weather conditions, the Camdenton Lakers will begin their 2013 season on Monday afternoon.

Like a number of teams across the state, the Lakers have not been able to get on the field nearly as much as they would have liked to this year.

"It certainly hasn't been ideal," Coach Matt Moulder said. "You take comfort in the fact that everyone is kind of in the same boat. The field's been wet, the weather has been cold and blustery, but that's typical spring baseball. We just stress with our kids in our program that we never make excuses about anything, and the way the weather is is the way the weather is. We have to adapt, adjust and be flexible to make the best of the situation."

And making the best of the situation means finding other ways to workout when the field is not available to them.

To make up for this, Moulder and his crew have been practicing inside in the gymnasium. The team is put through a variety of drills, set up as a system of rotating stations designed to work on the fundamentals.

"You never feel like you are 100 percent ready to go," Moulder said. " But we've been very productive, considering the limitations we've had."

The main obstacle that teams will have to work around is the defensive play and pitching. Fielding a ball in a gym just isn't the same as on a field, and as for the pitching, the opportunity to actually throw against live batters is rare when stuck indoors.

Last season, the Lakers went 13-11, while fighting off injuries. The team did lose some of their top of the line hitters, but the experience gathered by all of the younger players last season should have a positive impact on this season's record.

The Lakers' lineup has a solid number of experienced players, with four seniors on the team; Cory Simpson, who was an All-Conference and All-District player last year, will return to pitch and play a number of positions, Jake Voorhees returns as the starting catcher for his fourth year in a row, along with Dylan Hymes and Kyle Rizer, who will both see time at the mound for the Lakers and work some time in the outfield.

All four have played for Moulder for their entire high school career, making them the first group to have done so, as Moulder's first year was their freshman year.

The Lakers' roster features a number of versatile players, which gives the team some flexibility to work with.

At the mound, Moulder says they have eight or nine guys who could see some time at the varsity level. Simpson and Hymes have the most experience pitching at the varsity level, but a number of arms have caught Coach Moulder's attention.

On the batting front, Coach Moulder says he really likes their lineup, as they have a number of left handed batters to match the right handed team members.

"We have a potentially very potent lineup," Moulder said. "We've basically returned most of the guys who hit at the top of our order last year. Even the bottom of our order are potentially very good hitters."

Oliver Thompson will most likely lead off the Lakers' at bat, followed by Simpson and then
Tyler Cunningham.

MSHSAA didn't do the Lakers any favors this season with the district, placing the Lakers squarely in the mix against Helias, Hickman, Jefferson City, Rock Bridge and Smith-Cotton.

"Our mantra is that we try to get better everyday," Moulder said. "We've been doing that for the last three years, and I'm confident that we've made huge strides. We just have to keep working hard, keep doing the little things and keep pulling together as a team.

The team's first match is Monday night against the Eldon Mustangs. Last season, the Mustangs beat the visiting Lakers 7-0. This time, if weather permits, Eldon will be the ones coming to Camdenton. It all starts at 4:30 p.m. at the ball-field.