Ted Downing will be back in the dugout when Bridgeport opens its baseball season on March 30 at Conotton Valley.
Downing, who also serves as Superintendent of the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District, guided the Bulldogs' program to a 10-17-1 (14 of those losses coming by 3 or less runs) mark last spring, but stepped down following the campaign due to health issues.
Dave Williamson, who had assisted Tom Pasco and Downing during their tenures in the Bulldogs' dugout, was elevated to the top post. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Williamson had to step aside prior to his first game.
"There have been some things occur that have prevented Dave from carrying out his duties as head baseball coach," Downing explained last week. "Being such late notice, I've worked with the kids before, so I decided to go back into it."
Bridgeport, according to Downing, lost three pitchers and a veteran catcher from last season, but has a good nucleus coming back.
"We've got two pitchers back in Bailey McGrath and Garrett Spielvogel," he added, "and that's where it all starts."
Downing said there was no hesitation upon his part to return to the field.
"I came in last year and my knees were bothering me quite a bit," he said. "But I've gotten into a program that has helped me increase the flexibilty in my knees. I'm feeling a lot better.
"We've known for some time that he (Dave) might not be able to fulfill his obligations because of circumstances in his life, so I've kind of been preparing in the back of my mind that I may have to step back in.
"I'm excited and looking forward to it," he continued. "I love baseball. I love being around the kids and I relish the opportunity to do it again with the board of education's blessing."
Prior to coming to Belmont County, Downing served as head coach as Greenfield High School, near Cincinnati, and Eastern High School, also near the Queen City.
His overall record is now 255-162-1 in 21 seasons.
He recorded his 250th victory last spring against Paden City.
His staff includes Mike Muklewicz, Mike McGrath, Don Cash, Ryan Kreiter and Williamson, when he's available.
Practice begins Monday.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org