PADEN CITY - Paden City's baseball program continues to move in the right direction.
That's the belief of Coach Brent Croasmun, who is entering his 24th season as the Wildcats' skipper.
''We still have a long way to go, but we have some arms we think we can develop into competitive pitchers,'' said Croasmun who is seven victories shy of the 300 mark.
''We will still be a young baseball team, although we will have four seniors start.''
Paden City went 4-18 last spring and endured plenty of growing pains along the way. Zach Yost (OF/SS) was the only senior that graduated.
''That was probably the most inexperienced team I have ever had at Paden City,'' Croasmun said. ''We didn't have one veteran pitcher on the team and that was a major weakness.
''We threw some young kinds into the fire to pitch.''
The Wildcats' pitching staff this season will include seniors Taylor Still, Jared Stewart and Jay Billiter, along with junior Matt Barker, sophomore Kyle Postlethwait, and freshmen Zach Heasley, Craig Allen and Levi Meadows.
''Postlethwait, a sophomore who pitched the most innings for us last year, appears to be our strongest arm at this point,'' Croasmun said.
''We will pitch by committee.''
Offensively, Croasmun is optimistic.
''We should be better,'' he said. ''Jared Stewart and Jay Billiter came on strong near the end of last season and will have to carry us this year.
''"Kyle Staton improved his hitting as the season progressed and will also be counted upon to drive in runs.
''Matt Barker is much stronger swinging the bat and our three freshmen - Zach Heasley, Levi Meadows and Craig Allen - have shown signs of improving our offense.''
In the outfield, Croasmun said Still, Barker and Stewart or Meadows will start. Staton may also see some time there, along with senior Kyle McFadden and sophomore Kyle Stackpole.
Postlethwait and Stanton will man the hot corner, while Allen will play short. Barker will backup Allen.
Heasley will get the nod at first. And when he pitches, Staton or Stewart will play at first. Stewart, according to Croasmun, is versatile.
Billiter will start at catcher, with Meadows also getting some time behind the plate.
Croasmun is assisted by Jeff Hohn.
PADEN CITY 2012 BASEBALL SCHEDULE
March 24: Beallsville1:30 p.m.
March 24: East Richland 4 p.m.
March 26: Bishop Donahue5 p.m.
March 28: at Tyler Consolidated5 p.m.
March 29: at Hundred5:30 p.m.
March 30: at Beallsville5:30 p.m.
April 4: St. John5 p.m.
April 7: at Frontier (2)noon
April 9: at Cameron5:30 p.m.
April 12: Hundred5:30 p.m.
April 14: at Bridgeport (2)noon
April 16: Valley5:30 p.m.
April 18: Pkbg. Catholic5 p.m.
April 23: Wood Co. Christ.5 p.m.
April 28: Jeff. Co. Christ. (2)noon
April 30: at St. John5:30 p.m.
May 1: at Doddridge Co. (2)5 p.m.