There may not be a repeat champion in the Suburban Middle Six baseball race. Fort Osage, in The Examiner’s poll of coaches, is favored to dethrone Lee’s Summit West.

There may not be a repeat champion in the Suburban Middle Six baseball race.

Fort Osage, in The Examiner’s poll of coaches, is favored to dethrone Lee’s Summit West.

North Kansas City finished third in the voting followed by Belton, Raytown and Raytown South. A coach couldn’t rank his own team.

Fort Osage, which received four first-place votes, has lettermen Bret Sutton, B.K. Thomas, Landon Morris, Spencer Gearhart, Alex Greer, Carlos Ramirez, Andrew Jennings, Cody Halterman and Drew Standifer returning from a 13-10 team that tied for second in the conference at 5-5 with North Kansas City.

“We are excited about the 2010 season,” Indians coach Chris Walker said. “We are hoping to build off our strong finish from last year. We have a good mix of talent on all grade levels. We expect that translates into a successful season.”

LEE’S SUMMIT WEST: West went 19-7 last year, including 10-0 in rolling to the league title.

“We have solid pitching,” Titans coach Jay Meyer said. “The main parts of the staff are back and have young players filling in who are very talented. We have solid classes of younger players to replace the infield and outfield.”

Eight lettermen – Ryan Hafner, Banks Born, Brandon Fields, Andrew Holt, Jericho Burasco, Billy Barnard, Max Ising and Matt Hall – return for the Titans to help their bid for a repeat title.

NORTH KANSAS CITY: Starters Zach Ballard, Sven Cooper, Josh Bahlman, Zach Tyson and Taylor Brooks return from a 14-11 team. Newcomers who expect to play key roles are Cody Sullivan and Sam Williams.

“We are going to be really young this season,” Hornets coach Jeff Klein said. “I am anticipating several sophomores playing prominent roles for us.

“We lost a great deal of pitching and offense from last season, so we will be one of those teams that may struggle early. But we should improve as the year goes on. We have several core players back from last year. So, I am excited about our potential.”

BELTON: Belton will be inexperienced as Jake Horn, Skylar Hibdon and Cole Horn are the only returnees from a 9-13 team.

Still, Pirates coach George Shrum is optimistic.

“If we can play consistently, we should be fine,” he said.

RAYTOWN: The Blue Jays also face a challenging season.

“We lost our top four pitchers, catcher, shortstop, center fielder and all-conference first baseman Nick Doughty to graduation,” Blue Jays coach Jaime Oyler said.

“Our seven returning players had a combined .223 batting average and Matt Burnaug is our only returning pitcher who picked up a win last year. We have a lot of work to do.”

Returning lettermen Darius Hampton, Dustin Hardy, Luke Davila, Ryan Lidnsay, Kenya Woods, Dillon Gumm and Matt Burnaugh and newcomers Tyler Kobel, John Nead and Gabe Swope will lead the Jays’ bid to improve on a 9-17 season.

RAYTOWN SOUTH: Lettermen Marcus Douglas, Dorian Shelton, Austin McBee, Raymond Powell, Justin Turner and Dimitri Brockman give the Cardinals an experienced nucleus from last year’s 9-14 team.

“We also have eight newcomers who have little or no varsity experience,” Cardinals coach Steve Peck said. “Douglas and Shelton will be the anchors defensively and offensively. Each earned all-conference honors within the last couple of years. We may be a little stronger offensively but pitching may be our Achilles heel again this year.”