LONE GROVE — Success never rests.
LONE GROVE — Success never rests.
Unfortunately for the Madill Wildcats baseball team, this is a reality which has already set in this summer.
Fresh off a spring season in which they won a Bi-district championship and claimed a victory in the regional tournament before being eliminated, the Wildcats are already working towards 2019.
However, they will have to do so without several key players who were lost to graduation.
The situation though isn’t one 2018 All-Ardmoreite Baseball Coach of the Year Mike Matlack is worrying about.
“We graduated some guys who were very beneficial to our success last season,” Matlack said. “This summer we are trying to play some guys at different positions and see who is going to fit that particular role the best for us.”
Among those guys who were key parts of the Wildcats run to a 20-12 season last year was All-Ardmoreite Baseball MVP Devon Chapa, along with Jake McHatton, and Tanner Barnes.
The 20 wins for the Wildcats were the most in the last five years, as Madill had won 15 games in 2016 and 2017 after failing to win 10 or more games in 2014 and 2015.
Chapa was just as strong at the plate as he was on the mound last season for the Wildcats, as he registered a 2.16 ERA for the season with 91 total strikeouts, allowing just 22 earned runs on the year as he totaled an 8-3 record.
At the plate, Chapa compiled a batting average of .360 with a .539 slugging percentage. He had 32 hits with two home runs and 11 RBI.
Barnes was another solid two-way player for the Wildcats as he went 6-1 on the season pitching, allowing just seven total earned runs. He finished with an ERA of 2.29 with 28 strikeouts and 13 walks.
Hitting wise, Barnes was also strong as he had an average of .355 with a .654 slugging percentage. He tied for the team lead with 38 hits while being second on the Wildcats squad with 24 RBI. Barnes led Madill last season with 37 runs scored, and in home runs with seven.
McHatton was the other solid piece of the puzzle for the Wildcats on the mound and at the plate last season as he went 5-2 on the hill with a 3.61 ERA with 77 strikeouts for the season with just 30 walks.
At the plate McHatton finished with a .317 average and a .558 slugging percentage. He led the Wildcats with 27 RBI for the season, and had 33 hits for the season.
While the Wildcats did lose some important pieces, they have plenty of pieces coming back next season.
Among those returning players are Nash Matlack, Bret McDaniel, Ethan Nixon and Case Coble.
As a sophomore last season, Matlack led the Wildcats with a .432 batting average with 16 RBI and 38 hits which was tied for the team lead.
McDaniel will also be a junior this season as he will look to improve on last year when he hit .299 with 10 RBI and 25 hits.
Nixon will be a returning senior in 2019, after hitting .385 with 22 RBI and 35 hits last season.
As a freshman last season, Coble hit .366 with 15 RBI and 30 hits for the year.
“I’m looking for a lot of good things out of Ethan (Nixon),” Matlack said. “He’s not only playing summer ball for us but playing a lot of other baseball elsewhere. Bret is going to be a junior and has been starting since he was a freshman. I’m expecting some good things out of Nash, along with Aaron Vann, and Case Coble and several others. They just need to make sure they work hard in the offseason and get stronger for us.”