Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fowler selects 23 for early roster

2008 Marion Bobcats
Seven players from the Marion Bobcats' inaugural season look to return for next year's campaign.
Manager Steve Fowler has tapped seven players from last year's squad to account for nearly a third of his early 23-man roster. The roster includes 10 pitchers and 13 position players.
General Manager Gordon Guess released the roster last week.
Though opening day is still seven months away, Fowler has received commitments from as near as Mid-Continent University in Mayfield and as far as New Mexico State in Las Cruces. Many of the players are drawn from connections Fowler had with universities and colleges that helped fill the dugout in 2008.
Last season, Fowler was unable to start recruiting until January, when investors were secured for a commitment to the KIT League franchise. The earlier recruiting start for 2009 has provided a better selection of players from which to choose.
Contrary to last year when the Bobcats started with only one lefty on the mound, Fowler plans to start 2009 with four southpaws, including Chad Adcock, a late addition that struck out 59 in 38 2/3 innings as both a reliever and starter on the 2008 staff. Adcock, of Eddyville, joins Ethan Utley (2-2) of Madisonville and Bo Daves (2-1) as the only pitchers to return from the 20-28 squad. Daves is the only returning pitcher who was on the 2008 opening day roster.
In the field, scrappy second baseman Jacob Martin and outfielder Mitch McClay, two fan favorites in the Bobcats' first season, join catcher Drew Williams, of Paducah, and outfielder Dustin Kennon. Both Williams and Kennon left the Bobcats early last summer with season-ending injuries, but are in shape for a 2009 return.
Martin, the only pure left-handed bat in the line-up in 2008, led the team in runs scored (37) and home runs (2) while batting .269. He spent much of the season in the lead-off spot but was dropped a spot when his bat began to cool off. He swiped 16 bases, second only to Matt Little's 22.
Kennon hit .282 and tied for the team lead in doubles with 10. And while last year's team had little power, McClay and Martin accounted for three of the Bobcats' four home runs in 2008. Williams batted .400 in only four games before being injured.
Morehead State University in northern Kentucky will send four of its players to Marion for summer 2009, more than any other college baseball team.
The 23-man roster as released last week is:
  • Anthony Thomasett, SS, Crichton College
  • Jacob Martin*, 2B, Cumberland College
  • Drew Williams*, C, Morehead State University
  • Mitch McClay*, OF, Upper Iowa University
  • Dustin Kennon*, OF, Mid-Continent University
  • Pat Murphy, OF, Bates College
  • Rob Dyer, 1B, Stoney Brook College
  • Fred Rossi, C, Spring Hill College
  • Brett Cleveringa, 1B, Upper Iowa University
  • Paul DeSanto, SS, Millersville Univerisity
  • Daniel Pugh, OF, Morehead State University
  • Matt Shiring, 3B, Ohio Dominican University
  • Ryan Kincherlow, OF, Belmont University
  • Matt Nichols, RHP, Morehead State University
  • Jason Long, LHP, Millersville University
  • Mike McMonagle, RHP, Millersville University
  • Kyle Wuestenfeld, LHP, New Mexico State
  • Bo Daves*, RHP, Cumberland College
  • Chad Adcock*, Western Kentucky University
  • Jared Long, LHP, Lindsey Wilson College
  • Trey Smith, LHP, Morehead State University
  • Ethan Utley*, RHP, Lindsey Wilson College
  • Paul Chiampa, RHP, Bates College

*Returning from 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bobcats will return in 2009

When the summer sun begins to bear down on Marion, the umpires will be back to dust off home plate for another season of Bobcats baseball.
"That's good news to me," said die-hard fan Lefty Towery Monday upon learning of the team's return. "I love it."
General Manager Gordon Guess confirmed Monday that a second season of summer collegiate league baseball will return to the city in 2009. The decision was finalized over the weekend with support from an overwhelming majority of the team's 21 investors.
“It looks like the experiment has pretty much worked,” Guess said of the effort to field and keep a squad in an organized baseball league.
He said it appears the Bobcats will join the rest of the KIT League line-up from last season – Owensboro, Fulton and Tradewater (Dawson Springs) in Kentucky; Union City, Tenn; Farmington, Mo. – with the additions of Sikeston, Mo., and Olney, Ill., possible. Depending on the number of teams in the league, the Bobcats will likely play a 49- or 50-game schedule in June and July.
Steve Fowler will return as manager for the Bobcats, as well as eight or nine players from the final 2008 season roster.
One of the returning investors calls the decision a win for the community.
“We feel like it has more benefit than the dollars reflect,” said Charlie Hunt, co-owner of Marion Feed Mill. “I think the community enjoyed having the team here.”
And judging by the response of Towery, who could be found last summer in the grandstand along the third base side of virtually all 26 of the Bobcats' home games, Hunt is right.
“I think it’s the best thing to happen to the summertime in Marion since Dr. (Richard) Brandon was practicing,” Towery said of the late physician.
Little will change from 2008, said Guess. The game will be played under the same rules as last season – 22-man roster, wood bats, designated hitter, nine innings, etc. – but the outfield fences at the park which bears Guess' name will be deeper and the new concession stand should be completed.
“That'll give us the opportunity to sell pizza and popcorn,” the general manager said.
Fowler already has tentative agreements with 16 players, Guess said. One of those will be right-handed pitcher Joey Haston, who joined the team late last season but made a big impact with a 1.80 earned run average in 35 innings pitched. Guess said Haston will likely serve as a player-coach, leading the team in the dugout when he's not on the mound.
One thing that will change will be the approach to marketing the team, said Marion Tourism Director Michele Edwards.
“I think we learned (last year) that we can draw people from out of town if we advertise it,” she said Monday from a state tourism conference in Bowling Green.
Baseball gives Edwards a unique weapon in her arsenal to draw out-of-town money to the county.
"People are looking for different types of entertainment they may not have in their community," she said. "Tourism is all about bringing in new dollars."
But Towery, who stuck with the team through the thick and thin of a 20-28 debut season and was not above grumbling about some lackluster play on the field, is not concerned with the bookkeeping aspect. He's got his eye on another set of numbers – wins and losses.
"You tell Gordon we need two more good left-handed hitters," he said.