The Post 118 American Legion Baseball team is primed to begin its summer season. The squad went 21-10 last year and lost in the district championship to Neosho. This year's squad will try and surpass that accomplishment, and with most of the starters returning, seems to have a good chance.
Five schools are represented on th 2008 Cassville Legion team. The most players are from Cassville with 12 Wildcats on the roster.
Leading that group is Kelby Haynes. This past spring, Haynes was the Cassville baseball team's ace, and he helped lead the 'Cats to a 14-3 record. The senior will likely play short-stop and pitcher for the Legion team. Haynes went 4-2 on the mound with a 2.04 ERA during the spring. He was a leader for the Wildcats in the batter's box, hitting .404 with 17 RBI, a home-run and seven stolen bases.
Jody Cavness could also be a big contributor. Cavness, who can play anywhere in the infield but specializes at catcher, hit .455 this spring for Cassville mainly out of the lead-off spot.
Michael Baker will be another addition to Cassville's line-up and rotation. Baker finished this season 5-1 with a 2.97 ERA on the mound. He also hit for a .360 average and drove in 17 runs.
Jake Nolan also will play two roles with the Legion squad. Nolan, who plays pitcher and third base, went 4-0 for the Wildcats this year with a miniscule 0.87 ERA. Nolan also hit .383 with six RBI and two stolen bases.
Others on the team from Cassville are Trevor Tanner, Ricky Vanderpool, Cody Pierson, Travis Northern, Aaron Brooks, Patric Maher, David Lunsford and Kyle Rhea.
Three players who played for the Southwest Trojans this season will also join Post 118's ranks.
Josh Hartin will lead this group. Hartin will play catcher and in the outfield. During the spring, Hartin also pitched. The sophomore led Southwest with a 3.07 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 27 innings. Hartin finished 1-2 for a 3-8 squad. The sophomore also proved he could hit, batting .536 with 12 runs, 12 RBI, six stolen bases and four home-runs.
Caleb Mitchell will also play for the Legion team. Mitchell, listed as a outfielder and pitcher, also saw action this spring. He batted .400 for the Trojans with three doubles and three stolen bases.
Levi Roberts is the third Trojan on the squad. Roberts will likely play either second base or in the outfield. Roberts hit .303 this spring and had three stolen bases.
Wheaton had one player to make the American Legion team. Jamie Musick, brother of Chris Musick who also played last year, will return to help the squad.
Blue Eye also sends one player to the diamond with Post 118. Tyler Miller, who will play first base, will return to the team. Miller led the team with 25 RBI last season and was part of a state quarter-final team this spring.
Last, but not least, is a player who didn't live in any local town this past spring. Instead Kason Koelsch was playing for Northeast Oklahoma A&M who finished 30-19.
Despite breaking into the college ranks, Koelsch is still eligible because of his young age. Last summer, the college freshman hit .389 for the Legion squad with 36 runs, 22 RBI, 12 stolen bases and nine extra base hits. He will provide more leadership and experience for the team.
The Legion team started their season on Monday, traveling to Mickey Owen Stadium.
The team is coached by Jerry Marple, who is assisted by Jeremy Marple and Roger Brock. The squad will be attempting to accomplish their 10th 20-win season under Jerry Marple.