Wildcat players earn host of All-Big 8 baseball honors

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Cassville Wildcat baseball squad, which won the Big 8 championship, placed five players on the 2008 All-Big 8 Conference team after finishing out their season last week.

Senior Kelby Haynes was named to the All-Big 8 first team as pitcher and short stop. This is the third year in the row, the College of the Ozarks signee has earned post-season honors.

In 2006, he was also chosen as a first team pitcher as well as being tapped All-Big 8 honorable mention as short stop. Last year, Haynes was an All-Big 8 first team choice as designated hitter and second team All-Big 8 as pitcher.

During his senior season, Haynes had four wins and two losses on the mound and was credited with one save and two shut-outs. His ERA was 2.04, and he had a batting average of .404. Haynes tallied 17 RBI this season as well as one home run and seven stolen bases.

Jody Cavness, who was solid all year for the Wildcats as their catcher, also earned All-Big 8 first team honors for the job he did behind the plate. This is the second year Cavness has caught the eye of Big 8 coaches. In 2007, he was named to the All-Big 8 second team as catcher.

In addition to his outstanding performance as catcher, the senior was Cassville's hitting leader. This spring, Cavness had an impressive .455 batting average and recorded nine RBI in 55 at-bats.

Another Wildcat senior, Michael Baker, joins Haynes and Cavness on the All-Big 8 first team as first baseman. He also earned an honorable mention nod as pitcher.

Baker, who has signed to continue his baseball career at Meramec Community College in St. Louis, had a .360 batting average, including a phenomenal 17 RBI. He also had tallied five wins and one loss on the mound with an ERA of 2.97.

A pair of Wildcat juniors also earned All-Conference honors with Jake Nolan named to the All-Big 8 first team as utility player and Aaron Jamieson selected to the second team as an outfielder.

Nolan finished out the year with a .383 batting average with 18 hits, six RBI and two stolen bases. He also was part of the Wildcats' pitching rotation. On the mound, Nolan had a 4-0 record with an ERA of 0.87.

Jamieson provided a lot of defense for the Wildcats in the outfield but also was a huge threat on offense. He led the team with 20 RBI and also collected six doubles, two triples, a home run and three stolen bases. Jamieson's batting average for the season was .353.

"I was very happy with the All-Conference selections," said Coach Rod Hemphill. "Cassville was well represented."

Season ends

The Wildcats ended their 2008 campaign with a disappointing 4-13 loss to Reeds Spring in the opening round of district play.

The first two innings of play were scoreless before the Wolves broke open the game, scoring six runs in the third inning on a walk, single, stolen base, fielder's choice, two errors and a two-run homer.

"We weren't sharp defensively from the start," said Coach Hemphill.

The Wildcats were able to battle back and score four runs with a single from Vinee McCracken, a walk, a single from Haynes that brought in a run, a double from Jamieson that produced two runs and a single from Baker for the fourth run.

Cassville then loaded the bases with two outs and were poised to take the lead when Danny Naugle hit a line drive to left centerfield. The Reeds Spring outfielder made a diving catch to end the Cassville rally.

"We just didn't play well defensively, making eight errors on the day," said Coach Hemphill. "We also didn't hit well except for the third inning."

Haynes started the game, going four and a third innings before Baker came in to finish the game. The two seniors gave up only five earned runs in the loss.

Offensive leaders for Cassville were Baker and Haynes with two hits each. Others who collected a hit were McCracken, Cavness, Jamieson and Cody Pierson.

"I know we didn't finish like we wanted, but we had a good season at 14-3, Big 8 champs and winning 12 games in a row," said Coach Hemphill. "Coach Kyle Wood and I would like to thank all the community, parents and administration at Cassville for all their support. We will miss our six seniors, Michael Baker, Jody Cavness, Andrew Gryder, Kelby Haynes, Danny Naugle and Brian Poremba."

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