Editor's Note: this interview was recorded prior to the official announcement of a summer sports season.
(Bedford) -- Like many baseball teams around the state, Bedford is eager to begin a season that many thought might not happen.
With the season officially set to begin on June 15th, the Bulldogs are ready to compete.
"I'm very upbeat for this season," Coach Frank Sefrit said. "We've got a lot of returning players. We've got a good senior class and a lot of pieces that I think can fit in very well."
The Bulldogs went 6-16 last season, but Coach Sefrit saw a lot he liked during last year's campaign.
"I think we competed in some big games. We had a hard time finishing things off. A lot of that is just mental toughness," Sefrit said. "We need to go out and play with the confidence some of those other teams have. We played some really good baseball towards the end of the season. I think for us to take it to the next level, we need to lean on our senior leadership."
The Bulldogs' senior leadership begins on the mound where the combo of Brennan Sefrit and Jordan Perkins led the way last season.
Sefrit, an Upper Iowa commit, posted a 5-5 record with a 0.91 earned average. He also struck out 95 batters in 53 2/3 innings. Perkins posted a 1-5 record with a 5.79 ERA and struck out 33 batters in 38 2/3 innings of work.
"With those two on the mound to start with, I think we can learn to build off that," Sefrit said.
Perkins and Sefrit performed at the plate, too. Perkins hit .231/.324/.323 while Sefrit went .377/.481/.590 with a team-high 14 walks and 17 stolen bases.
Sophomore Dylan Swaney led the Bulldogs' efforts last season, hitting .429/.500/.471 with a team-high 13 RBIs. Coach Sefrit expects another leap from Swaney.
"Dylan was our rock," Sefrit said. "He did the right things. As a catcher, he's come a long ways. He put the ball in play. He just did a really good job of not trying to do too much, put the ball in play and find gaps. He's got stronger, bigger and smarter. I look for him to really be one of our focal points and one of things we pivot around.
Freshman Shay Purdy is coming off a solid frosh campaign last season where he hit .317/.456/.350 in 47 at-bats and drove in 12 runs. Bradley Johnson, Noah Johnson, Trey Hill, Tanner Snethen and Logan Bucher also figure to be contributors for the Bulldogs this season.
"We've got a lot of experience coming back," Sefrit said. "I'm really looking forward to it. I think we can be very competitive this year."
The Pride of Iowa Conference was led last year by state qualifier Martensdale-St. Marys and substate qualifier Southeast Warren. Both teams return many pieces from last year and figure to be the favorites in the POI, but Sefrit thinks his team can compete on any given night.
"The top spot is going to be tough," Sefrit said. "But with the experience we've got back, I think we can compete with any of them and that's really the main thing. I want our kids to learn to compete a complete game and see where it ends up."
The complete interview with Coach Sefrit can be heard below.