WHEELING - Linsly's baseball roster is chock full of experience. But even with 11 seniors on his roster, Coach Jay Cartwright knows every game will be a test.
''Our expectations are high for this season,'' Cartwright said. ''However, with the addition of West Virginia big school powers like John Marshall, added last year, and newcomers Weir, Morgantown and Huntington this year, our schedule will be very challenging.''
Throw in perennial EOBL opponents like Barnesville, along with area Class-A powers like Madonna and Wheeling Central, and it's easy to see why the Cadets will need to be on their toes day in and day out.
Linsly lost a pair seniors to graduation who are now playing collegiately. Jon-Michael Brunner, who hit .439 in 2011, is playing at West Liberty, while defensive stalwart Derek Miller, is at Bethany.
Many familiar names return, however, including senior Leighton Gibson, the Cadets' returning first baseman and cleanup hitter. He hit .441 last season and collected a team-high 32 runs batted in.
In line for his fourth varsity letter, Alex Stephens paced Linsly with a .493 average and a team-best .853 slugging percentage. Stephens added 13 stolen bases and tied for the team lead with 35 runs.
Neil Tennant returns for his fourth season behind the plate.
''His leadership and knowledge of the defensive game will be a key for us,'' Cartwright said.
Senior Haydon Stanley moves to the outfield from second base. A member of last summer's Wheeling Post 1 American legion squad, Stanley hit .357 with 20 RBI in 70 at-bats last spring. He also scored 30 runs, third on the team.
Another senior, Dillon Williams, brings stability to the outfield. He paced Linsly in on-base percentage (.594) in 2011.
''He is a solid base runner with good range and a strong arm,'' Cartwright said.
Jimmy Brinsky and Matt Smith are two seniors who bolster Linsly's pitching staff.
Brinsky, a 2011 All-Valley selection, went 5-0 last season with a 0.67 earned run average. He also plays second base.
Smith as been an anchor of the Cadets staff since he was a sophomore. Last year, he finished 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA, fanned 42 and walked 18.
Other seniors in the mix include Kolbe Burwell (OF), Adam Jones (P/IF)), Michael Joseph (OF/C) and Ryan Riethmiller (P/IF).
The lone junior on the roster is Momo Felt (P/OF), son of new assistant coach and Linsly teacher Chad Felt.
Domenic Ellis (P/C), Jameson Murray (P/IF) and Arien Seymour (P/OF) are the sophomores on the roster, while freshman Colton Coss (IF) is also in the mix.
LINSLY 2012 BASEBALL SCHEDULE
Mar. 23: at John Marshall5 p.m.
Mar. 24: at Huntington (2)noon
Mar. 27: Wheeling Central5 p.m.
Mar. 30: at River5 p.m.
Apr. 2: River5 p.m.
Apr. 3: Weirton Madonna5 p.m.
Apr. 4: at Barnesville5 p.m.
Apr. 7: at Kiski (2)noon
Apr. 9: Barnesville5 p.m.
Apr. 11: Shadyside5 p.m.
Apr. 13: at Shadyside5 p.m.
Apr. 14: John Marshallnoon
Apr. 16: Bridgeport5 p.m.
Apr. 17: Morgantown5 p.m.
Apr. 18: at Bridgeport5 p.m.
Apr. 24: at St. Clairsville5 p.m.
Apr. 25: at Wheeling Central5 p.m.
Apr. 26: at Weirton Madonna5 p.m.
May 1: at Cameron5 p.m.
May 2: at Brooke5 p.m.
May 3: Cameron5 p.m.
May 4: Brooke5 p.m.
May 5: at Mercersburg Acad. (2)noon