Coach Fulks to Lead Wildcats Softball
By ED PARSONS
After several years under the coaching leadership of Chris Neff and Heather Riggle, the Paden City Wildcats Softball team will start the 2019 season with a whole new staff. Josh Fulks will take over as head coach in his first-ever varsity experience and will be assisted by coach Tim Raper, who has been a member of coach Brent Croasmun’s football staff the past several years. Fulks will take the knowledge he has gained as a youth league and middle school coach to keep the program going strong.
“I am excited to get started. Coach Raper has a wealth of knowledge, and I am looking for him to be a great addition to Wildcat Softball. He works well with the kids, and they have taken to him. He has been around a long time and knows how to get the best out of the kids,” Coach Fulks stated.
The Wildcats only have 11 players on this year’s squad, but Fulks feels he has a good group of hardworking and dedicated girls to work with. He said they have great attitudes and love to play the game.
“We are young and inexperienced, with only three seniors out, but we will be looking for them to provide leadership for the younger kids,” Coach Fulks said.
Fulks said he has high expectations for this year’s team, and they are setting their goals high. “Our goal will be to win the OVAC and make some noise in post-season play. With only 11 players everyone should see some playing time and could actually be a starter at any point.”
Right now the ‘Cats have three freshman who should see plenty of time. Neveah Sweeney will get some time on the mound and will also be used in left field. Sophie Lyons is a probable starter in right field, and Madison Kyle will split time in center field.
Sohomore Kelsey Michael will get time pitching and should split time between first and third base, while sophomore Erin McIntyre will spend most of her time on the mound. She was the top pitcher from last season and has a strong arm with decent control.
“We will be counting on Erin to get us through some tough situations throughout the year. She has a year’s experience under her belt, and we are hoping that will pay off this year.”
Raven Fulks will see time behind the plate but will spend most of her playing time manning short stop.
Junior Loren Little will play outfield, and junior Skylar Fulks will be at second base.
Seniors on this year’s squad include Madison Knight, first base and outfield. Hope Cooper will hold down third but could also see time at first. Ashlyn Moses will be back as catcher for the second straight year.
“We have three solid seniors and five other returning players with experience; I hope they will all step up and help carry the team. Our three freshman all have experience at the lower level and should provide us with some much-needed help,” said Fulks.
“We play a tough schedule, and we are working hard to be successful. In our first scrimmage against Caldwell, Ohio, I thought we played real well considering our limited field time during practices. We came away with each team scoring 11 runs. The girls made good contact and sent a couple over the fence. I felt we played well in the field also; we will improve with each outing, and hopefully by the end of the regular season we’ll be able to move on,” added Fulks.
Fulks said he is very happy with the work ethic of the girls so far and is excited to start regular season play. The ‘Cats home opener is scheduled for Monday, March 25 against Valley, beginning at 5 p.m.