WESSON – The 2008 version of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolfpack will look to find the consistent level of play that has been a trademark of Co-Lin baseball. Twelve players will return off of the 2007 squad that finished the year as the National Junior College Athletic Association’s No. 8 Academic Team of the Year.
Leading the returning players will be All-State and All-Region shortstop Steven Gauthe’ from Belle Rose, La. Gauthe’ also was named the Rawlings Gold Glove National Shortstop of the Year. Joining Gauthe’ as returning position players will be third baseman Timmy Foster (Adams Christian) who hit .343 with 5 homeruns and 13 doubles, outfielder Paul Davis (Brookhaven Academy) who hit .331 with 3 homeruns and 5 doubles, catcher James Antoon (Kentwood, La.) who hit .297, centerfielder Montez Chatman (Magee High School) who hit .259 and had 13 stolen bases, second baseman Jordan Toney (Mendenhall High School) who hit .235. Other returnees include outfielder Taebyus Smith (Lawrence County) .211, outfielder Marty Ballard (Lawrence County) who hit .153 and infielder Russ Carter (Richland High School) who hit .125.
Pitcher Brandt Hinton (Brookhaven High School) will return as the anchor of a relatively young pitching staff. Hinton was 6-4 in 2007 and held opponents to a miniscule .211 batting average. Other returning pitchers include Justin Champagne (Houma, La) 2-2, Marty Ballard 0-2, Avery Mathes (Vicksburg) 0-0 and Timmy Foster 0-1. Patrick Shumaker (East Rankin Academy) will be back after missing the 2007 season due to injuries.
Several new faces will be counted on to energize the Wolfpack. The 2008 freshman class includes catchers Mitch Pappas (Brookhaven High School) and Zach Summers (Lawrence County High School). Several dual position players will be vying for time in two different positions include RHP/OF Josh Coon (Brookhaven High School), RHP/IF Jarred Rogers (Loyd Star), RHP/IF Joseph Evans (Lawrence County), RHP/IF Trent Hartzog (Lawrence County), RHP/IF Brock Campbell (Copiah), and RHP/IF Zach Watson (Brookhaven Academy). Freshman infielders include Micah Davis (Wesson), Bennett Wilson (Copiah Academy) and Cameron Logan (Natchez High School). Freshman pitchers include RHP Christian Malbrough (Vandebilt Catholic, Houma La), RHP Ian Ferrell (Union High School), and RHP Kolby Godfrey (Trinity Episcopal).
The 2008 will mark the 25th season for Coach Keith Case, with the last 16 in a Co-Lin uniform. Assistant coaches in their first season include Josh Garrett and Tyer Perrett. Both coaches played on teams that were nationally ranked while at Co-Lin.
The Wolfpack will begin their 2008 campaign at Sullivan Field in Wesson on Friday, Feb. 15 against Coahoma Community College at 12 p.m. and Delgado Community College at 6 p.m.