WILLIAMSTOWN -For the first time ever there will be a baseball champion in the West Virginia Christian Association with the establishment of a WVCA baseball tournament.
"All the boys are really excited and we as a team have been talking about it since the first week of baseball," said fifth-year Wood County Christian School coach Rick Barnes. Barnes has been working on establishing a tournament for the WVCA baseball squads since he first came on the job. The tournament will include all Christian schools in West Virginia that are members of the WVCA.
The Wildcats recorded a 7-3 mark last year, being able to play 10 of their 15 games, the other five games were rained out. WCCS returns four seniors who are also excited about the possibility of winning a championship. Leading the way are third baseman Luke Davis and shortstop Scotty Heslop, both of whom will toe the rubber for WCC as well.
"Luke is our big hitter and run producer and Scotty is our jack-of-all-trades. He will get on base any way possible even if it means being intentionally walked or hit by pitch. He is a tough kid,"says Barnes. "We will not be playing a lot of small ball this year, we are going to run the bases and depend on our big run produces to generate offense for our team.''
Davis and Heslop will join with freshmen Mitch Morris to form a formidable trio of hurlers.
"These aren't the only three kids we can give the ball to which is a huge advantage to us, we can save Davis and Heslop's arms for the postseason and get some younger kids some pitching experience as well," shares coach Barnes. Freshmen Josh Morris and DJ Spencer will help keep Davis and Heslop's arms fresh. Barnes will be looking for his pitchers to get plenty of groundballs this year as the infield is the strength of the team.
Head coach: Rick Barnes
Assistant coach: Dan Morris, Dave Spencer
Last year: 7-3
Luke Davis (3B/P), Scotty Heslop (SS/P/3B), Joey Wallace (OF), Josh Knolle (OF)
Joseph Krupinski (OF),
Mitchell Morris (1B/P/C), Josh Morris (C/P), DJ Spencer (3B/SS/P/2B), Max Miller (2B/OF), Jordie Heslop (2B/OF)
March 22: at Licking County (OH)
March 23: at Trinity
April 1: at Paden City
April 2: East Richland
April 9: at Teays Valley
April 11: at Wirt County
April 12: at East Richland
April 15: at Massillon
April 16: at Waterford
April 19: Teays Valley
April 23: Grace Huntington
April 27: at Caldwell
April 29: Licking County
May 2: West Virginia Christian Association Tournament
May 3: West Virginia Christian Association Tournament
Going around the horn this year for the Wildcats include Mitch Morris at first base. Morris is 6-foot-1 and can stretch out to snare the low balls in the dirt when needed. Freshmen DJ Spencer will form the back end of the double-play combo with Heslop on days Heslop is off the mound at short. Manning the hot corner will be Davis on days he is not on the mound. Protecting the plate and looking for good blocking angles to prevent runners from scoring wil be freshmen Josh Morris.
Joining Davis and Heslop in the senior circuit are Joey Wallace and Josh Knolle. Wallace and Knolle will both be manning outfield positions this year and running down any ball that escapes the infield. This will be Knolle's first year playing baseball, "Knolle is fast and will have the green light to swipe a bag whenever he gets on base," exclaims coach Barnes. Joining them in the outfield this year will be sophomore Joseph Krupinski. If someone happens to get hurt in the outfield Barnes will look to insert either freshmen Max Miller or Jordie Heslop. "With such a small roster it is almost a guarentee that everyone will see playing time this year whether they are ready or not," shares Barnes.