Wildcats baseball ranked No. 18 in preseason poll | NevadaAppeal.com

Wildcats baseball ranked No. 18 in preseason poll

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

The Western Nevada College baseball team has received its first preseason Top 20 national ranking. Wildcats coach D.J. Whittemore announced today that Collegiate Baseball Magazine has ranked the Wildcats 18th in its preseason poll of the 190 teams playing Division 1 baseball in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

“It is a tremendous honor for our program to be recognized as one of the top teams in the country by college baseball’s premier magazine,” Whittemore said. “The credit goes to the sophomore class of players who had an outstanding freshman season a year ago.”

Brian Barnett, a McQueen High School graduate, was the 2008 Scenic West Conference and Region XVIII Player of the Year. Last season’s starting pitchers Kyle Starratt and Josh Moody will both return to WNC this season.

“Expectations are certainly high for this group of players,” Whittemore said. “However, we understand that playing 28 of 32 games on the road to start the year could take its toll on our record and confidence, so we have to stay even-kiltered and go about our business the right way, every day.”

Whittemore noted that in each of their first three seasons of play, the Wildcats have found their way into the NJCAA Top 20 at some point during the season. But this year’s pre-season Top 20 ranking is a first.

Only two teams west of Texas were ranked higher than WNC. Central Arizona was ranked third and Yavapai (Arizona) was ranked 15th. Five Texas teams were ranked in the Top 20, with Grayson County College picked to repeat as NJCAA national champions after winning their third national title in 2008.