WHEELING - When Momo Felt and his dad, Chad, joined the Linsly baseball family last season, they quickly became an integral part of the Cadets' success.
Chad Felt arrived in Wheeling after teaching in Germany, where Momo spent the bulk of his life. The two joined a veteran-laden Linsly team that proceeded to win 24 games, the OVAC Class AA crown, and EOBL regular-season and tournament titles.
With 11 seniors having graduated, Momo Felt goes from one of many building blocks of Linsly's success to perhaps the key one.
''He was a force on the mound for us last year, and we expect more from him, this, his senior season,'' Linsly coach Jay Cartwright, said.
Felt, the only returning senior letterwinner, garnered first-team All-Valley recognition last year after going 9-1 with an ERA of 1.41. He struck out 54, including a season-high 12 against Wheeling Central.
Cartwright, who sports a 114-40 as coach, knows he has a young team. But he's eager to see it develop.
''This will be a young team with some veteran presence,'' he said.
''Veteran leadership from our upper classmen will be the key for this group.''
Gone are the lines of Alex Stephens, Neil Tennant, Dillon Williams, Colby Burwell, Leighton Gibson, Michael Joseph, Haydon Stanley, Matt Smith, Jimmy Brinsky and Ryan Reithmiller.
Stephens repeated as an All-valley captain last year after leading the Cadets in almost every offensive statistic. He batted .533, slugged .967 and also led Linsly in at-bats (92), runs scored (40), doubles (12) and triples (5).
Gibson earned All-Valley first-team accolades after anchoring the Cadets' infield. He knocked in a team-leading 39 runs to go along with seven homers, two triple and six doubles.
Other returning letterwinners include juniors Jameson Murray (P-IF), Dom Ellis (P-C) and Arien Seymour (P-OF), and sophomore Colton Coss (P-IF).
Murray batted .280 last season with 21 hits and 12 RBI. Seymour posted a 4-0 mark on the mound, striking out 18 in 24 innings work.
Coss had 16 hits and six RBI.
Newcomers this season include seniors Justin Lee (P-1B), Zach Hanlin (1B) and David Brinsky (IF), juniors Kalib Winters (P-OF), John Giovengo (P-OF), sophomores Antione Dorsett (P-OF) and Dillon Curtin (C-IF), and freshmen Tyler Ashbrook (P-Util) and Logan Goodnight (P-IF).
Cartwright is also assisted by Ron Stephens. James Wallace and B.J. Depew are the junior varsity coaches.
''I am pleased with (the team's) enthusiastic approach to their work but it's very early in the preseason,'' Cartwright said. ''We will need to continue to progress at a consistent rate to be competitive in the OVAC and EOBL.''