Florence’s Luke McNeil slides into home plate last season in a home game against Rogers. The Buffaloes first baseman is expected to be the team’s best hitter this season.

After finishing fifth in District 22-2A last season, Florence is clear about its hopes to finish one spot higher and reach the postseason in 2014.

“That’s our goal,” head coach Ronnie Allen said. “We’re not going to settle for nothing less than that.”

The Buffaloes (2-1) return six starters from last season and feel good about their chances to get over the hump this season.

One reason is the return of shortstop Peyton Person, who Allen called the Buffaloes’ best overall athlete.

Also back is first baseman Luke McNeil, who Allen called the Buffaloes’ best pure hitter.

Rounding out the senior trio is pitcher Logan Hallmark, a southpaw who Allen said Florence will lean heavily on this season.

Allen said his team is off to a good start but will have to take its time getting its arms warmed up after many players just finished basketball season.

“I’ve got them on a schedule now,” Allen said. “We’re just going to work to get stronger and stronger.”

Allen said the goal is to have his pitchers ready to go by the start of district season, because that is when the games that will help Florence reach the playoffs begin.

“That’s what we’re building for,” Allen said. “That’s what our goal is.”

Contact Jordan Mason at jmason@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7562​

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