Baseball: Expectations high for Potomac State in 2018

Alex Taylor
Alex Taylor returns to lead the Potomac State Baseball team for the 2018 season

Catamounts open season Saturday at Stinger Invitational in South Carolina

By Roy Harper- Potomac State College

Keyser, WV- Potomac State College Head Baseball Coach Doug Little knows that in Junior College Baseball the only constant is the unknown.  Players come and go in just two years.  Cold and rainy weather adjusts the schedule each spring.  But the 21-year leader of the Catamounts, knows that the biggest unknown takes place just minutes before the first pitch each season.

“You can only prepare so much,” said Little.  “Eventually, you have to go out there and actually play the games, you just really never know how each season will unfold until the first pitch is thrown.”

When Potomac State opens the 2018 season this Saturday, they will do so with the weight of the past on their shoulders.  The Catamounts have had past success, winning the Region XX Championship 12 times in 18 years and reaching the Division I Junior College World Series on four occasions.

“I like our team’” added Little.  “This has been a hard-working, mature group of young men, who have put the time in since August.  Not just on the field, but also in the weight room and in the classroom.  I would be disappointed if all that effort doesn’t translate to success.”

On back-to-back weekends, to open the season PSC will travel to Florence, SC for the Stinger Classic hosted by Florence Darlington Tech.  The games will be played at Francis Marion University.

Set to open the season at the top of the rotation will be a pair of sophomores in right-handers Tanner Skidmore, (Timberville, VA) and Jeff Wong, (Charlestown, WV).  The third and fourth starters will most likely be a pair of freshmen: Colton Webb, (Berryville, VA) and Chase Weihl,(Little Hocking, OH).

“We have a good mix on the mound.  I like the returning guys and the younger guys will be counted on as well,” said Little.  We will most certainly get tested the first two weekends of the season.

The Catamounts also have a handful of pitchers that will pitch in relief that Little thinks can eat up some innings or make an occasional start.  Sophomores Josh Zeboskey, (Stephenson, WV), and Eric Gustafson, (Newark, DE) as well as newcomers Brett Whiteman, (Ridgeley, WV) and Brandon Schamp, (Marietta, OH) all can expect a heavy workload.

“Complete games are almost a thing of the past,” said Little.  “The game now requires that you have quality arms out of the bullpen.” 

Additional arms that will be counted on are: Tyler Shorter, (Morgantown, WV), Hunter Haddix, (Bridgeport, WV) and two-way players, Sebastian Williamson, (Oley, PA) and Zach Musgrove, (Grafton, WV).

“We need to develop more depth on the mound than we did last year.  Especially if we hope to play deep into the post-season.”

Offensively, a year ago the Catamounts lacked much experience as they returned just one full-time starter.

This season, PSC will have a trio of starters back and a cast of others that gained experience in 2017.

The experienced Catamounts will play up the middle and on the hot-corner. Dominic Peroni, (Uniontown, PA) will open at 3rd base after playing shortstop a year ago.  Alex Taylor, (Laurel, MD) will man centerfield and Mitchell Henshaw, (Brockport, NY) will start behind the plate. 

Taylor hit at the top of the order all of last year hitting .399 with 29 runs batted in and three home runs.  Peroni led PSC with seven home runs and Henshaw was the top run producer with 43 RBI’s.

“Those are three solid players,” says Little.  “It is reassuring to me and our team to have those three guys in our order.”

On days Henshaw is not catching Little will turn to sophomores Justice Keener, (Grafton, WV) and Tanner Lambert, (Morgantown, WV), as well as freshman Cole Miller, (Myerstown, PA).

“We have quite a bit of talent in our freshman class,” said Little. “The young guys will push the older guys and all of that competition is good for us.”

Other returners Zach Musgrove, (Grafton, WV), Joe Dodrill, (Bridgeport, WV) and Williamson will also get time on both outfield corner spots. Freshmen Juwuan Weaver, (Virginia Beach, VA) and Pete Costigan, (Alexandria, VA) also look to garner considerable time patrolling the outfield as well.

Sophomore Seth Wright, (Grafton, WV) and freshman Austin Chavis, (Bel Air, MD) are slated told down the second-base and shortstop spots respectively.

Newcomer Joel Spishock, (Carmichaels, PA) will get the nod at first base and will be backed up by sophomore Ryan Roell, (Pittsburgh, PA) who will also garner some time as the designated hitter.

“Our Position players put in a ton of work and have a team-first mindset and are willing to do what is necessary to help us win,” said Little.  “We have some depth, we have some experience and we have some team speed.”

So what kind of expectations does Little have for the 2018 season?

“I hope high ones!” joked Little.   I will tell you this, very few people are aware of just how much time and effort these players and coaches put in.  It is not easy and I am proud of the time we have put in for the last seven months.  I am confident that it will pay off and make the next four months fun to come to the ballpark each day.”

"We are looking forward to getting started.  Our guys have been working hard since August and they know that we will only be successful if we continue to keep up that effort throughout the season," said Little.  College baseball is a grind, but this is the part of the year that we look forward to the most."

Check out the 2018 Potomac State Baseball schedule.