Catamount baseball 2011: take me out to the ball game

Catamount baseball swings back into action opening weekend February 18-20 against Morehead State. The runners up in the Southern Conference championship look to win the title in 2011.

Last year the Cats finished their season 38-20 with 2 players picked up in the MLB draft. The Catamounts lost several key seniors last season including MLB draft pick right-handed pitcher Daniel Ottone. However returners junior Ross Heffley and seniors Matt Johns and Matt Benedict start the season named in the preseason first team All-SoCon. In addition, relief pitcher senior Brandon Johnson takes a selection for preseason second team All-SoCon.

Heffley lead the Cats in batting average last year with a .336. In 2010 Heffley scored 63 RBI’s and 86 hits placing him at ninth for hitting, sixth for RBI’s and ranked 16 overall in the Southern Conference.

Johns ranked sixth in the conference for doubles with a total of 19. Johns also ranked fifth with 23 stolen bases in 2010.

Bendict ranked first in the Southern Conference with a 3.11 ERA in his 92.2 innings pitched and struck out 23 batters looking. Benedict and Johnson are both tied for second in wins.

Based on the preseason coaches’ poll Western Carolina is selected to finish fourth in the conference and fifth based on the preseason media poll based on statistics.