Jan. 27, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Led by two-time team captain Cody Jones, four senior members of the Western Carolina Catamount baseball team have been dubbed captains for the upcoming 2014 season. Jones, who was selected a captain a year ago as a junior, is joined by classmates Aaron Attaway, Taylor Sandefur and Dykota Spiess entering the squad's regular season title defense.
"Leadership and toughness are No. 1 and 2 in team sports success. Our four senior captains are a tremendous representation of our Catamount baseball tradition," said WCU head coach Bobby Moranda. "Our team voted all four into this very important leadership role and I expect them to perform excellent service and direction for the entire program."
A product of Enka, N.C., Jones is coming off a 2013 co-captain season that saw him hit .283 with 54 hits including 11 for extra bases. He tallied a career-best eight doubles and matched a single-season high with three home runs. He played in 59 games with 53 starts in the outfield including 39 in right and 14 in center.
Attaway, who has twice been dubbed a preseason All-America selection entering the 2014 season, started all 59 games last spring. Amassing a Southern Conference-leading 97 hits atop the Catamount batting order, the Morganton, N.C., native hit .363 en route to both first team all-conference and ABCA All-Atlantic Region accolades. His name additionally graced the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, and Attaway was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy.
Sandefur, a third team captain in 2014, is amidst a position switch entering his final season. Last year, the Mechanicsville, Va., product returned from a shoulder injury that sidelined him during the 2012 season to make seven appearances on the mound including four starts. Only three of the 16 hits allowed went for extra bases - all doubles. Over his career, Sandefur has tossed 107.2 innings with four career victories and 71 strikeouts.
This season, Sandefur is poised to see time in the WCU infield, and, coming off a solid off-season at the plate, could see time as the designated hitter or in a pinch hitting role.
Rounding out the four team captains is Morganton native, outfielder Dykota Spiess. The left-handed hitting, sure-handed fielder played in 48 games last season with 40 starts. He finished the year with a .260 batting average with 17 extra base hits including 13 doubles and four home runs. His seasonal average included a career-best .361 mark against left-handed pitching.
Western Carolina continues its preseason preparations this week. To date, the Catamounts have held three intrasquad scrimmages with hopes of taking advantage of warmer temperatures this week to up that number to near six by the weekend. WCU returns to the diamond on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons with scrimmages scheduled for each day this weekend.
Season tickets for the 2014 campaign are on sale now through WCU Athletics Ticket Office. Pricing begins at just $50 for an adult general admission and $25 for a youth for all 30 home dates. Reserved seating options in both field and upper level are available. Call the ticket office at (800)34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401, or purchase online at CatamountSports.com.
The 2014 Opening Day is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14 as the Catamounts host Ohio for a three-game, nonconference set at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.