Relying on pitching, defense and speed, the Ridgefield High baseball team won 14 of 20 regular-season games last season. Opponents can expect more of the same this year. \u201cThose areas are going to be our strengths,\u201d said head coach Paul Fabbri. \u201cThey give us a chance no matter who we are playing.\u201d On the mound, the Tigers have a front-of-the-rotation anchor in senior righthander Collin Lowe, who who has signed to play at the University of Richmond. Lowe has won eight games over the past two seasons, going 4-4 in 2016 with a 4.45 ERA. Lowe allowed 48 hits in 44 innings, walking 15 and striking out 45. Right behind Lowe is junior lefthander Alex Price, one of the breakthrough players for Ridgefield last year. Price went 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA over nine appearances and four starts. \u201cWith Collin Lowe, I think we have as good as a number one starter as there is in the FCIAC,\u201d said Fabbri, whose team opens the season Tuesday at home (4 p.m., Ciuccoli Field) against Bunnell. \u201cAnd with Alex Price, I think we have as good as a number two starter as there is in the FCIAC. We\u2019re excited about our one-two punch.\u201d Seniors Andrew Mathes and Joe Signorelli are the leading candidates to become the team\u2019s third starter behind Lowe and Price, with seniors Nick Squiteri and Matt Colin featuring in long relief and also capable of making spot starts. Jump-starting Ridgefield\u2019s offense is John Thrasher, a senior centerfielder who will play at the University of Hartford. As the Tigers\u2019 leadoff hitter last year, Thrasher batted .464, scored 28 runs and stole an astounding 35 bases (in 22 games), earning spots on the All-FCIAC first team and the New Haven Register All-State second team. \u201cHe can hit and steal bases, and he can also cover an enormous amount of room in center field with his speed,\u201d said Fabbri about Thrasher, who may also come out of the bullpen as a closer. \u201cHe\u2019s right up there with the best centerfielders in the state.\u201d Batting second in the order, senior second baseman Colin Motill was another standout for the Tigers last season. Motill hit .348 with 15 runs scored and 14 RBIs and also stole 15 bases. \u201cHaving those two (Thrasher and Motill) at the top of the lineup is a big advantage for us,\u201d said Fabbri. \u201cThey put pitchers under pressure whenever they get on base.\u201d Back at shortstop is Colin, a smooth defensive player who batted .286 last spring. \u201cMatt has real good range in the field, and he can also hit. He\u2019s going to bat third behind Thrasher and Motill,\u201d said Fabbri. \u201cWith him at short, Motill at second and Thrasher in centerfield, we are really strong up the middle.\u201d Senior Lucas Furneri, one of the team\u2019s top power bats, will split time at first base with Price and also be used as a designated hitter. Promising junior Quinn MacDonald takes over at third base, with seniors Dan Ignatowich (left field) and Tony Macchia (right field) also moving into starting roles. The Tigers will have another newcomer behind the plate, as juniors Ben Cohen and Ty Fujitani are vying to become the starting catcher. \u201cWe do have a bunch of guys who are starting for the first time,\u201d said Fabbri. \u201cBut I think they are all capable of making the adjustment. \u201cThe biggest question for us this year is are we going to hit?\u201d added Fabbri. \u201cWe\u2019re all set at the top of the order, but we need production throughout the lineup.\u201d Notes: Ridgefield finished the 2016 season with a 14-8 record, losing to Norwalk in the FCIAC quarterfinals and Staples in the first round of the Class LL state tournament. Lowe and Motill both made the All-FCIAC West Division team last year. Ridgefield's biggest graduation loss was outfielder AJ Fabbri, an All-FCIAC and Connecticut High School Coaches Association\u00a0All-State first team choice last season.