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Cullowhee, N.C.Luke Robinson, a junior catcher, has been selected as the 2019 “Leggett No. 7 Legacy” recipient as chosen and announced by Western Carolina head baseball coach Bobby Moranda and his coaching staff during a team dinner Thursday night at South of Philly in Sylva. Robinson is the third catcher and just the second underclassman to earn the honor.

The ninth Leggett No. 7 Legacy recipient all-time, Robinson joins a select list of players to previously have the honor bestowed upon them that includes last year’s winner, infielder Cameron Blaquiere, who was a third-straight infielder honored following Nobu Suzuki (2017) and Reece Strong (2016). Former catcher Danny Bermudez, the only other recipient to garner the honor as a junior, wore the coveted No. 7 jersey during the 2015 season.

Former WCU catcher Stephen Notaro was the inaugural recipient back in 2011, followed by consecutive southpaws in LHP Vance Chavis (2012) and Morgan McKinney (2013) and utility player Luke Gragg (2014), each donning the No. 7 jersey in their final seasons. 

Western Carolina additionally named its 2019 team captains on Thursday evening as redshirt senior OF Matthew Koehler and redshirt senior LHP Taylor Purus were elected by their teammates and the coaching staff. Koehler was a preseason All-SoCon selection for WCU from the league’s head coaches while Purus enters the season riding the high of earning SoCon All-Tournament team plaudits after recording a win and a save in last year’s run through the conference tournament.

Robinson has played in 71 games over his first two seasons with 56 starts, though only 18 of which have come at his recruited position behind the plate. A career .257 hitter, Robinson returns after batting a career-best .281 a season ago with 39 hits including seven for extra bases and 20 RBI giving him 37 for his career. Last spring, the McLeansville, N.C., product was sidelined for nearly a month with a hand injury stemming from a HBP suffered in mid-April. He returned to the lineup in the Southern Conference tournament, tallying six hits and a RBI in WCU’s late run, adding an offensive threat to the Catamount lineup in Greenville, S.C.

Robinson will carry a four-game hitting streak and a string of 12-consecutive games of reaching base safely into the 2019 campaign.

“We’re very, very happy to name Luke Robinson as this year’s Leggett Legacy recipient,” said Moranda. “The Robinson family has meant a lot to Catamount baseball over the past several years with the three brothers that have played here. We just have so much respect for the family and all three brothers. For Luke to be named is extra special – and he fits the bill. He’s shown the toughness in fighting through injuries and has worked to earn the starting job.”

The annual "Leggett No. 7 Legacy" program was introduced by Moranda at the second "Celebration of Catamount Baseball" banquet held in conjunction with the 2011 season-opening weekend. The WCU coaching staff selects one player each year that is committed to keeping with the principles and integrity established by the former Catamount skipper during his tenure.

"Among the many great past individuals that have influenced the success and the prestige of Western Carolina baseball, Jack Leggett stands out above most. His legacy lives on here every day," Moranda said of the Leggett Legacy tradition upon its creation in 2011. "Every season, we will name one player who exemplifies what it is to be a Catamount baseball player and that deserves to wear the No. 7 jersey to honor the foundation laid by Jack."

A 2001 WCU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and a 2014 selection into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, Leggett helped shape the future of WCU baseball by recruiting and coaching his three successors in Keith LeClair (1992-97), Rodney Hennon (1998-99) and Todd Raleigh (2000-07). Leggett's three protégés combined to win 567 games and a combined eight SoCon titles in 15 seasons, while also capturing five SoCon Coach of the Year honors.

As a collegiate head coach, Leggett won 1,332 career games – 302 of which came at WCU – and made 26 NCAA Tournament appearances. He coached over 140 professional baseball signees, nine first rounders, and 25 players who have played in the Major Leagues.

To earn the honor of the "Leggett No. 7 Legacy," a Catamount baseball player must have a passion for the game of baseball; show total intensity daily; do more with less; use adversity as preparation for greatness; have an uncommon commitment to his teammates and the standard of T.E.A.M. by displaying A+: T-Toughness, E-Effort, A-Approach and M-Master the Fundamentals.

The Catamounts are slated to open the 2019 season on Friday as WCU opens an eight-game homestand, first hosting the Oakland Golden Grizzlies out of the Horizon League for a three-game set at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Due to unfavorable forecasts, first pitch of Friday’s opener has been moved to 2 pm with Saturday now hosting a doubleheader beginning at Noon.  

Fans are encouraged to stay abreast of the weather conditions and any further updates on potential game-time changes online at CatamountSports.com and through social media channels such as Twitter using the handles, @Catamounts and @WCUCatamountBSB.

Both season and single-game tickets for the 2019 home schedule are available online at CatamountSports.com or by calling (800) 34-GOWCU.

WCU’s All-Time Leggett No. 7 Legacy Recipients:
2011: Stephen Notaro, C

2012: Vance Chavis, LHP

2013: Morgan McKinney, LHP

2014: Luke Gragg, UT

2015: Danny Bermudez, C

2016: Reece Strong, INF

2017: Nobu Suzuki, INF

2018: Cameron Blaquiere, INF

2019: Luke Robinson, C

 Western Carolina's 2019 team captains - <a class=Matthew Koehler (left) with Taylor Purus (right) with WCU head coach Bobby Moranda (middle).

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