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Wildcats Return Six Lettermen on Diamond

March 13, 2019



Staff Writer

Article Photos

This year's version of the Paden City Wildcats Baseball team has a little of everything.

With 16 players out - including six seniors, two juniors, four sophomores, and four freshmen - it gives Paden City veteran head coach Brent Croasmun and assistant coach Jeff Hohn a good group to work with in 2019.

The loss of two graduates, Kolton Elliott and Marcus Allen, will sting a little from last year's OVAC Class A runners-up and four-time Mason-Dixon Conference champions.

These two players had 110 at bats, scored 28 runs, smacked 36 hits, and knocked in 22 runs. Elliott had a .368 average with 17 bases on balls, three doubles, and stole four bases, while Allen had a double with an on-base percentage of .361.

However, Coach Croasmun returns senior starters Trey Slider (P/1B), Mat Saxon (P/SS/CF), Ryan Cross (C/P) and Jordan Stackpole (utility) to rely on to lead the team, along with junior lettermen Brad Barker (LF) and Clayton Thomas (3B/SS/P) for a good nucleus to help jell the team.

"We have four solid seniors who I hope will carry this team with their leadership. Trey Slider is a three-year starter at pitcher and first base. Matt Saxon is also a three-year starter who can pitch and play about any position in the field. He has good speed and is an outstanding base runner," said Croasmun.

"Jordan Stackpole is a two-year starter who is our utility player. He has played just about every position. Ryan Cross will be our catcher for the third straight season, who will also pitch some. All four of these seniors played Legion ball this past summer and have improved their skills."

Pitching is always a big deal for small schools as the new pitching rules, that were put in to help keep pitchers arms from getting sore, hurts teams like Paden City, Valley and Hundred, which don't have the kids out like the larger schools.

However, with 16 players on the roster, Croasmun has a few more players he can use during a long week of playing baseball, where they could play four to five games if the weather is dry.

Slider, Saxon, Cross, and Thomas look to be the bread and butter, but the team will put sophomores Issac Neff and Carson Palmer, along with freshmen prospects Alex Chaplan, Tobin McEldowney and Brandon Hizer to use too.

The infield looks to be Slider at first, Stackpole at second, Saxon at short, and Thomas at third. However, depending who is pitching, you might also see Chaplan at second, Stackpole or Chaplan at third, and Thomas at third, or a combination all these guys at several places in the infield. Behind the plate is third-year starter Ryan Cross, who will also see time on the mound; when he is pitching, you probably see Jordan Stackpole.

The outfield looks to be Neff in center, Palmer at right and Brad Baker in left, but you might see a host of players like Alex McCoy, EJ Weber, Hunter Fletcher, Scott Lavoie, Brandon Hizer, Jasup Spragg and McEldowney. Brad Baker will start once again in left field and did a solid job last year.

Croasmun went on to say, "We need to find an infielder and two outfielders for our starting lineup. Freshman Alex Chaplan has shown some infield skills and looks to get a start, while Isaac Neff and Carson Palmer are in the running for the outfield positions," he said. "Neff will get some innings pitching this year, along with Clayton Thomas. Neff is a lefty, while Thomas has a very strong arm.

"These kids have a positive attitude and really love to play baseball. Our goals are the same as last year: make the OVAC playoffs, win our sectionals and win the Mason-Dixon championship, which would be our fifth in a row. We play a very competitive schedule and realize we have to work hard to be successful. There are some good Class A baseball teams in the Ohio Valley, and we hope to be mentioned in that group," Croasmun said.

Like most small schools, if Paden City can stay away from the injury bug and can get a couple underclassmen step-up, the Wildcats will look again to challenge for an OVAC and Mason-Dixon conference titles, as well as compete for sectional and regional titles too.

Depending on the weather, Paden City looks to open the season against Trinity on March 15 in Morgantown and at home against Wirt County March 16.

Preview prediction: 15-10



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