2013 Baseball Outlook
The Bobcat baseball team features a different look this season with 13 new faces. Last season saw the Bobcats lose 13 seniors, 10 of which had been a part of the program for 4 years. In contrast, this season’s team will feature just three seniors. Nine freshman and four new transfers will fill the void left by last year’s seniors. Last season the Bobcats continued their steady improvement, collecting 21 wins, and this team looks to build on that foundation. With a talented group of returning players, and a group of newcomers the Bobcats are excited to get back on the field and compete.
With the graduation of Daniel Oxenreider and Nathan Lawrence, the Bobcats will feature two new freshman catchers. Alex Christian (Jonesboro, AR) is an exceptional defender behind the plate and does a terrific job of handling the pitching staff. He is a terrific blocker, and has a knack for making big plays on defense. Alex is also an offensive weapon, as he combines the ability to handle the bat with speed on the base paths. Freshman Georgi Georgiev (West Plains, MO/Sofia, Bulgaria) will also see time behind the plate this season. Georgi possesses an extremely strong and accurate arm plus exceptional athleticism. Offensively, he has the ability to drive the ball to all fields, and is also a talented base runner.
Last season’s team featured three senior starters on the infield, including two time all-conference selection Denton Wolf. This spring the Bobcats will feature a completely different look on the infield. Junior Malachi Melton, an all-conference selection at DH last season, will make the move to 1st base. Malachi led last year’s club in home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage. He will again hit in the middle of the lineup. Both junior Byron Richardson (Forsyth, MO) and freshman Trevor Bowling (Willard, MO) will see time at 2nd base. Byron has served as the Bobcats super-utility man for the past two seasons, and can play multiple positions. Bowling comes to the Bobcats after a terrific career at Willard High School. He is a very solid defender, and comes with a good approach offensively, driving balls to all fields, and handling all pitches. At 3rd base, the Bobcats will feature junior transfer Eddy Devora (Arkansas Baptist/Santiago, DR). Eddy will be an offensive force in the middle of the lineup, and has the ability to be a consistent hitter in the lineup. He is a plus defender at 3rd, with great range and instincts. At shortstop, the Bobcats will start junior transfer Ricky Vanderpool (Labette CC/Cassville, MO). Ricky had a breakout offensive season last year at Labette and will likely hit in the two hole. He is a smooth defender with arm strength and ability to make all the plays. Junior Timmy Townsend will also see time at shortstop this season when Vanderpool pitches, and will play some at 2nd and 3rd as well. Timmy is known for his defensive ability and arm strength, and has developed his offensive game this off season. Other infielders include sophomore 1st baseman/C/DH Ryan Bradshaw (Mineral Area/Lebanon, MO). Ryan will see significant time at DH, and will spell Melton at 1st base. Freshman Clayton Miller (Bolivar, MO) will provide a left handed bat off the bench as well as spending some time at DH.
The Bobcats will return two sophomore outfielders for the 2013 season, both of whom had terrific freshman seasons. Centerfielder Cody Pentecost (Lebanon, MO) will again be roaming centerfield and hitting leadoff for the Bobcats. As a freshman, Cody hit .341 and led the team in stolen bases. Cody possesses great speed, which he utilizes on the bases and in the outfield. Cody will be looked upon to set the table for the middle of the Bobcats lineup. Tyler Lopez (Springfield, MO) returns after being named the MCAC Freshman of the Year last season. Tyler finished the season batting third in the Bobcats lineup, and hit .339 for the season and over.400 in conference play. Tyler is a solid defender in right field with a strong accurate arm. Tyler will again hit in the middle of the Bobcats lineup, and look to build on his outstanding freshman season. Freshman Cody Hull (Norwood, MO) will see a significant amount of time in left field this season. Cody is a tremendous athlete, making the transition from the infield to the outfield. Byron Richardson will also see time in left field, as well as at 2nd base. Other outfielders include freshman Ryan Forrest (Norwood, MO), a good athlete with above average tools across the board, and freshman Cody Hall (Purdy, MO), a young man with tremendous power and the potential to become a middle of the lineup type hitter.
The Bobcat pitching staff returns three of the four starters from last season, but will be without all-conference selection Dustin Loggins. The Bobcats will welcome four new arms this season, and will return eight arms from last year’s squad. Senior Joel Harrington is the leader of the group, as he enters his senior year after three years in the rotation. Joel has been a steady and consistent pitcher over the years, and will be looked upon to be a weekend starter. Seniors Dustin Ewers and Dalton Hunter enter their final season after battling injuries for the last two seasons. Both will have a chance to be instrumental this season as bullpen arms. Junior Timmy Townsend returns after being a weekend starter last season and a spot starter as a freshman. Timmy will take on a larger role this season, and has the stuff to be the ace of the Bobcats staff. Coming off of a terrific fall, the Bobcats look for Townsend to take the next step. Junior transfer Landon Jarrett (Missouri State/Mansfield, MO) will add a power left handed arm to the rotation. After two seasons with the Bears, Landon will join the Cats and have the ability to make a huge impact as a weekend starter. Sophomore Josh Neufeld (Nixa, MO) will look to build on his success as a freshman and progress into becoming a top of the rotation type arm. Junior David Zamora (Albuquerque, NM) will serve as a spot starter and top bullpen option for the Bobcats after transferring last winter. Junior Ricky Vanderpool will take over the closing duties, showcasing an extremely live arm and deep arsenal of secondary stuff. Juniors Garth Minnick looks to bounce back and become a major contributor this season. Red-shirt freshman Justin Von Allmen and freshman Jason Myers and Alex Stephens will also compete for significant innings this spring. All three will have a chance to pitch out of the bullpen and start some mid-week games.