Dec. 11, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Just before entering final exam week at Western Carolina, the Catamount baseball team announced its team captains for the upcoming 2013 season. Three seniors - right-handed pitcher relief Preston Hatcher, left-handed starter Morgan McKinney and first baseman Tyler White - and one junior in outfielder Cody Jones have been selected to lead the Catamounts.
Hatcher and McKinney led the Catamounts a season ago on the hill, both finishing with six victories apiece. Hatcher made a team-high 29 appearances - all out of the bullpen - and led the team with 10 saves to rank tied for second in WCU's single-season record books and tied for third in the Southern Conference. A native of Atlanta, Ga., Hatcher was also named to the first team All-SoCon by both the league's head coaches and voting media at the end of 2012.
McKinney made 15 starts on the mound in 2012, tied for the most among WCU's pitching staff. The Gainesville, Fla., native ranked second among the Catamount starting hurlers with a 3.74 ERA with his 68 strikeouts ranking second on the squad and just outside the top 10 in the SoCon.
White was only one of three players to start all 56 games a season ago, leading the team with a .354 (75-for-212) batting average which ranked him fifth in the SoCon. He legged out 16 of his 37 career doubles a season ago and fielded an impressive .987 with 414 putouts - mostly at first base. White, a product of Forest City, N.C., is coming off a very solid summer that saw him earn mid-season All-Star plaudits and the Offensive MVP of the All-Star game in the Coastal Plain League with the Gastonia Grizzlies.
The only underclassman selected as a captain, Jones hit .312 a year ago with eight extra base hits, and is coming off a very solid fall performance in the team's College World Series intrasquad scrimmages. The Enka, N.C., native started 40-straight games to end the 2012 season making 50 total starts among his 53 combined appearances including 38 in right field. Jones finished tied for second on the team with 22 multiple hit games and had four multi-RBI performances and was selected second team all-conference in the outfield by the College Sports Madness (collegesportsmadness.com) staff.
Coming off a 32-24 season a year ago, Western Carolina opens its 2013 campaign with four-straight home games at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium including three against Pac-12 foe, Washington State, and Wake Forest out of the ACC. The season opens on Friday, Feb. 15 against the Cougars in Cullowhee.