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Baseball: Like Father, Like Son at Linsly

Next generation of Coss, Stephens turning double plays for Cadets

March 23, 2012
By RICK THORP ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Ron Stephens and Mike Coss are familiar names in Linsly baseball lore.

In 1985, Stephens, a senior, played shortstop for Coach Gary Sprague. Coss, a sophomore in his first season on the varsity roster, played second base.

In their one season together, Stephens and Coss helped lead the Cadets to the first of what would be three straight OVAC crowns.

Article Photos

Colton Coss (26) and Alex Stephens, right, are turning double plays at Linsly, just as their fathers did 27 years earlier.

Photo by Rick Thorp

It was then that Stephens and Coss developed a bond that remained strong after their days playing at Holloway Field were finished.

This season, another Stephens-Coss relationship is being forged. And again it's Stephens at short and Coss at second.

Senior Alex Stephens and freshman Colton Coss are in the midst of making their own memories as teammates. And the fact they are playing the same positions as their fathers is, as the younger Stephens and Coss both said, ''cool.''

Fact Box

Linsly 9, John Marshall 3

GLEN DALE - Michael Joseph homered, singled, and drove in two as Linsly defeated John Marshall.

Haydon Stanley also hit a homerun and drove in two for the Cadets. Alex Stevens finished with a triple, a single and an RBI.

Jake Lucas had a single and a RBI for the Monarchs.

''Colton has been like a little brother to me forever,'' Alex Stephens said. ''His dad has helped me leaps and bounds on hitting and so forth. So, I've kind of taken Colton under my wing as a little brother and teammate.

''He's really playing well. He has a nice glove and he's going to be a special player.''

Just like the elder Stephens did 27 years ago.

''It's pretty special,'' said Ron Stephens, now an assistant for head coach Jay Cartwright.

''Mike is a great friend of mine. It was great playing with him. It's really special seeing our two sons work the double plays together.''

For Mike Coss, the realization of seeing a second generation Stephens-Coss combination is mind-blowing.

''It's pretty neat and it means I'm old,'' Mike Coss said laughing during a break in Friday's action. ''I'd never really thought about it before.''

The 1985 Linsly team had five players that went on to play in the minor leagues, including Coss and Stephens.

Stephens played at the University of Cincinnati, where he was converted into a pitcher. After college, he played in the Chicago White Sox organization for five years.

Coss, who graduated in 1987, enjoyed a solid four-year career at Notre Dame University before playing in the Baltimore Orioles' farm system.

''He was very good,'' Mike Coss said of Ron Stephens. ''He was probably the best I've played with at any level.''

Even though the newest Stephens-Coss combo is relatively new, the building blocks for its success were put together the past few years.

''Good shortstop-second base combos definitely have a special bond,'' Mike Coss said. ''You can tell when you see them play if they get along and are on the same page.

''Fortunately for Colton, Ron is my best friend. He's grown up around the Stephens family. He had never played with Alex until this season, but we've been to a lot of Alex's games, and Alex has been to a lot of Colton's.''

Both fathers have certainly passed on plenty of baseball advice to their sons. Those same fathers have also worked with each other's sons.

''We've been friends for a long time,'' Colton Coss said. ''(The chemistry) between Alex and I has developed pretty quick. We're on point with it right now.''

While most senior-freshman duos might have to endure an acclimation period of sorts, Alex Stephens and Colton Coss got a jump on avoiding that.

''Colton played basketball and when he didn't have a game Alex would pick him up and they'd go down to the gym to work on double plays and such.

''They really have a good relationship.''

Just like their fathers did.

''It's brought back a lot of good memories,'' Ron Stephens said. ''There were some not too good ones, but not many.

''Those were definitely some fun times.''

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