Paden City Was Primed for Spring Success
PADEN CITY – Be it baseball, softball or boys’ and girls’ track, was primed for athletic success this spring. A promising season primed for four-fold athletic winning was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The door was slammed shut when Gov. Jim Justice ordered West Virginia schools remain closed for the balance of the academic year. WVSSAC Executive Bernie Dolan had no choice but to pull the athletic plug.
PADEN CITY baseball and Brent Croasmun are synonymous. Croasmun was set to guide the Wildcats for his 32nd year this spring before the pandemic had other plans.
The Wildcats were coming off a 16-14 campaign and welcomed back two seniors in Clayton Thomas and Brad Baker.
“Brad and Clayton are both three-year lettermen. They would have lettered this year as both would have been key players for our team,” Croasmun said. “Clayton would have been our main pitcher and was going to play shortstop when not pitching. Clayton had been preparing for this season very hard. He was in the weight room and had been throwing since January,” the veteran coach said. “He was a pleasure to have on our team as he led by his hard work and preparation. He would also have been one of our top hitters.
He would have probably batted clean-up. He started at third base when he was a freshman. He was a great kid to be a part of our baseball team.
“Brad started in right field his freshman year and played there as a sophomore. Last year, as a junior, he played left field. We were working with him this year to play first base and possibly second base. He accepted the challenge to play the infield without any hesitation. He was also a great kid to have on our team as he always showed up ready to play. He also started to prepare for the season in January,” he added. “Both boys were important players on the football team this year and lettered there four years. I really feel disappointed that we could not play this year and I really miss the opportunity I would have had to coach both Brad and Clayton their senior year. Both were good students and represented their school with great pride.”
THE LADY Wildcats’ track team featured just one senior on their seven-person roster this spring. She is a dandy, however.
Abbe Stackpole is a prime-time sprinter who will not be able to add to her glittering resume. She enjoyed a superb junior campaign on the oval.
Stackpole came away from the state meet in Charleston with four medals. She anchored the Lady Wildcats 4X100 and 4X200 play teams to fourth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively.
The Paden City speedster also turned in two impressive state meet individual performances. She finished in fourth place in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Although unable to compete this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stackpole’s track career is far from over. She has already inked a scholarship to continue her track and academic careers at West Liberty University.
THE PADEN City boys’ track team had just three senior members back in the fold this spring. All three, however, were poised for productive seasons.
Head coach David Riggle was looking forward to big campaigns from his trio of seniors: Isaac Neff, Jason Anderson and Kyler Wade.
Two were state qualifiers last May, primed for more success in their final go-round.
Jason Anderson gained a berth in the state meet in the discus throw, just missing a spot in the shot put.
“Jason got significantly stronger and was continuing to refine his form. Jason had hopes of qualifying in both events this year,” Riggle said.
Wade was a key member of the Wildcats’ state-qualifying shuttle hurdles relay team and was also a member of the 4X200 relay team. He is also an accomplished 300-meter hurdler.
“Kyler was returning to lead our state qualifying shuttle team. He had gotten better from last year,” Riggle noted.
Neff is a versatile performer for the Wildcats, competing in the 1600, 800 and discus.
“Isaac made large strides in his discus technique. We had high hopes for him this year,” Riggle noted.
SOFTBALL was a program on the rise at Paden City, as Josh Fulks began his second year at the helm.
“We had high expectations for the team this year,” Fulks said.
Much of that optimism was due to a pair of talented seniors in Skylar Fulks and Lauren Little.
“Skylar is a returning letterman and would have been the starting the second baseman. Skylar would have been one of the captains for the 2020 season,” Folks said. “Skylar also has good leadership and would have helped the younger players on the team. Her future plans include attending WVNNC to major in nursing.
“Lauren was a returning letterman and would have been the starting right fielder. Lauren would also have been one of the captains for the 2020 season,” he continued. “Lauren also has good leadership and would have helped the younger players. Her future plans include attending West Liberty to major in criminal justice.”