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2024 Potomac State Baseball Season Preview

Jimmy Sadler is back to lead the 2024 Potomac State Baseball season.  Photo by Raymond Burner
Jimmy Sadler is back to lead the 2024 Potomac State Baseball season. Photo by Raymond Burner

Catamounts open season Saturday in South Carolina

By Roy Harper- Potomac State College

What is Culture? 

For 27 years Potomac State Head Baseball Coach Doug Little has worked to establish a program that can be recognized as respected.  A program that the College, the community, alumni and the state of West Virginia can point to with a sense of pride.

“As they say, ‘It takes a village.’  It is more than just me and the coaches.  It is a culture that has been built by the hard work of many,” said Little.  “We have the support of so many that it makes it important to uphold the tradition and success each and every year.”

As Potomac State is set to open its season on Saturday in South Carolina against USC Sumter, Little knows the microscopic light is glaring.

“This time of year, people really start to pay notice, simply because the game are about to start,” said Little.

But as former and current players and coaches know, the work never really ends.

“To run a successful program, at any level, takes beyond a full-time commitment.  There is no ‘off-season’.  Recruiting is a 12-month commitment.  Our fall practice begins the first day of school in August and goes hopefully into June.  And all the work that goes into those months is necessary, just to have a chance to succeed.”

Little continued, “It would be great if it was just baseball we had to worry about, but is so much more: field work, live-stats, streaming games, watching the weather, putting the tarp on and off, painting walls, putting in fence posts, doing laundry, etc.  But you know what?  All of those things make our program better, make our players have a positive experience, and hopefully, they grow from it.  That is our culture.”



A year ago, Potomac State won 30 games for the 22nd time in Little’s reign as Head Coach, finishing 30-18 and ending at the Eastern District Tournament.

In order to replicate the success of past seasons Little knows how important each and every day is this time of year.

“The challenge is to get better each day.  If we can get 1% better every day that gives us a good chance to be successful.”

Another issue is the weather, which constantly revises a baseball schedule.

“I’m convinced that a baseball coach is part meteorologist and part air-traffic controller.  Adjusting the game schedule, reserving hotels, getting buses to travel, securing umpires are all a parts of my job that I enjoy the least.  Our schedule is not worth the paper it is printed on most years.  Follow us on twitter for updates is the best advice I can give.”


New Faces, same goals.

The Catamounts lost many key contributors to last year's team including nine players who are no plating at the NCAA D1 level.

In all, Potomac State Baseball currently has 13 players playing at the NCAA DI level:


Graham Brown & Alexander Meckley (Coastal Carolina), Tyler Henshaw, Jake Arnold & Dakota Miller (Charleston Southern), Brady Whitacre & Zack Whitacre (Radford), Diego Barrett (North Carolina A&T), Noah Farrar (Marshall), Morgan Little (St. Bonaventure), Chance Satcho (Delaware State), Anthony Swenda (UMBC), and Avery Heiple (Towson).


Each year, a team has a different identity, and this year's team is no different.  Replacing so much productivity will be the challenge for Little and his staff.

Since classes began on the Keyser campus in August, Little along with Assistant Coaches Don Schafer (25th season) and Jamison Jones (3rd season), have worked with a group of thirty-six young men six days a week preparing for the season that kicks off on Saturday.

Potomac State hopes all that hard work culminates with a trip to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.  The Catamounts last made the trip west in 2011. 

“It is our goal every year,” said Little.  “It is really difficult to get there.  There are so many good teams to beat, and most of them have way more scholarship dollars than we do.  We like the challenge; we embrace it, and it is what motivates us each and every day.”

An Eye to the Future

The traditions of the baseball program at Potomac State College have mostly been established by Little.  A program known for discipline, player development and winning creates a good reputation.  Despite all the success, Little still has an eye on the future and the program continues to grow. 

“We have things in our program that we had not previously had, like our own indoor facility, multiple pitching machines, a new radar gun, and an indoor and outdoor camera system for player development.  As we look down the road, things we need to add are more improvements to our facility and the most obvious of those is getting artificial turf at Golden Park.”

“I really hope that a project like that can become a priority for our campus, our administration and our program.”



“We prepare for our season longer than any other sport.  We start the same time as other sports at the College and before some others that have had their seasons already end before we even begin ours.”

Little knows that despite dealing with the unpredictable weather this month to prepare, what his team looks forward to the most: playing in real games.

“Most people really don’t realize how much time and effort we spend preparing for this time of year.  I have people stop me in the store in the month of April and ask me when baseball starts.  I tell them it started in August.”

“Our guys give us everything they have for 10-plus months a year.  College baseball is truly a grind, but the guys in our program, past, and present have bought in and really embrace the long year and the hard work.”

The 2024 season at Potomac State begins with the same high aspirations after a 30-18 record a year ago. 

“Each team has its own identity, and this team may lack some experience, but they do not lack the ability to work hard.  And they have given us all that they have.”

So, what gives Little pause as the 2024 season is set to begin?

“We lost a lot from last year, especially on the mound.  In junior college baseball there is a constant turnover.  We lost five starters offensively and our top four pitchers on the mound.  I have to remind myself that, as much as I like our team, some of these guys have never really been tested.”


On the mound

Key losses of Meckley, (45.2 IP), Arnold, (52.2 IP), Henshaw, (40.2 IP) and Barrett, (28 IP) make the cupboard seem bare for the pitching staff.  That amounts to 167 innings pitched a year ago.

How will Potomac State replace those four?   “I don’t know,” lamented Little. 

At the top of the rotation will be a pair of returners who compiled a record of 10-2 a year ago.

Ben McDougal, (Bridgeport, WV), went 7-1 a year ago with 53 strikeouts in 36 .1 innings pitched.  While Caden Goodwin, (Marietta, OH) went 3-1 with 23 punchouts in 32 innings.

“Both of these have worked hard, improved, and give us a chance to win.  I have confidence to run them out there against anyone in the country.”

“It's so hard to find quality pitching,” Little continued.  “We feel like we have some decent arms at the top and the challenge is to develop some other guys on the back end.”

Returners Andrew Sokol, (Rostraver Township, PA), and Aidan VanRider, (New Smyrna, FL), are expected to take on an expanded role in 2024.

VanRider was 1-1 in 2023 with 19 K’s in 20 innings or work.

Little is excited to see what a pair of freshmen can do this season on the mound.

The two that Little expects to pitch at the top of the rotation are Cooper Polcovich, (Auburn NY), Dylan Bell, (Hurricane, WV).

“It is an old cliché in baseball, but it all starts on the mound,” said Little.  “These two pitchers really will be forced to keep us in games, and they have a high ceiling to continue to develop and get better-with continued hard work and focus.”  

Building depth on the back end of the rotation will be the biggest challenge for the Catamounts this year.

Aidan Sites, (Falling Waters, WV), Cam Reed, (South Charleston, WV), Cole Sansom, (Rockton, PA), Brandon Mullins, (Winchester, VA), and A.J. Battista, (Baltimore, MD) will fill out the pitching staff.

A trio of two-way players, Tanner Haskiell, (Terra Alta, WV), Chris Harbert, (Bridgeport, WV) and Maddox Brooks, (Waynesboro, PA) will eat up some valuable innings this season as well.


At the plate

When it comes to scoring runs this season, the Catamounts are faced with replacing some big numbers, but have more experience than they did a year ago at this time.

“That is a lot of offense that needs to be replaced,” said Potomac State assistant coach Don Schafer.  “I’m not sure how we can replace it all.  Obviously, it puts some pressure on players who were part-time guys a year ago and some new guys to really step up their game.  Fortunately, we have a group that embraces hard work and has really bought in to what we try to do.”

Returning from a year ago will be four sophomores who will all be in the mix for the Catamount line up and all look to garner heavy playing time for PSC.  Kris Sutton, (Calhoun, GA), Nik Rubendall, (East Norrito, PA), Cam Cole, (Bridgeport, WV), and Jimmy Sadler, (Houston, PA), provide some stability for the PSC lineup.

“We might not be as experienced as I would like, but these four have some veteran skills to give us a boost and be a steadying force in our lineup,” said Schafer.

Cole hit leadoff a year ago and will fill that important spot again in 2024.  His .410 on base percentage and 34 walks look to set the table for the Catamounts.

Rubendall had 51 hits a year ago, with four home runs, with 41 RBIs and a .329 clip.  Sadler drove in 49 runs with a .308 average and three home runs.  Sutton, who split time behind the plat a year ago, hit .326 with 15 RBI.

Other returners include Aiden Milton, (Hedgesville, WV), Brad Zielinski, (Collegville, PA), Sammy Bradfield, (Keyser, WV), Jaylon Sanders, (Solon, OH), and Will Thompson, (Madison, WV), all of whom flashed some brilliance in the fall seasons or last spring and look to take the step up to be major contributors.

Newcomers, Caden Johnson, (Hurricane, WV), Tanner Haskiell, (Terra Alta, WV), Reilly Bubb, (Martinsburg, WV), Seth Healy, (Keyser, WV) Caden DeLauter, (Martinsburg, WV), Jordan Canby, (Martinsburg, WV) and Gabe Templeton, Morgantown, WV), will provide depth and may push for starting positions.

A trinity of transfers, including two NCAA D1 players, all potentially could bolster the Catamount lineup.  Brooks, Harbert and Bryce Suters, (Broadway, VA) all could be impact players this spring.

“Suters and Brooks both transferred from D1 programs,” said Schafer.  “Both bring some experience, maturity and some pop to the lineup.”


Around the horn

Chris Harbert gets the nod to be the primary 1st baseman in 2024.  He is a transfer from NCAA D2 and showed some  power in the fall season.

There is depth at 1st base as Nik Rubendall, Maddox Brooks and Kris Sutton provide some capable options for the Catamounts.

At second-base, Gage Bibey, (Belington, WV) gets the early nod.  The 3rd-year player returns after missing all of last year due to a shoulder injury.

“Gage has worked so hard to get back,” said Schafer.  “I expect big things from him.  He is a gamer, and a tough kid.  He also can play multiple spots for us- so his versatility makes him even more valuable. “

At shortstop, Jimmy Sadler returns to man the position.  The left-hand swinging sophomore gives the Catamounts athleticism up the middle and will hit near the top of the lineup.

“Jimmy is a solid player,” said Schafer.  “He has unlimited potential, like all our guys he needs to keep improving, but he has a chance really have an impressive spring.”

The hot corner is settled as returner Cam Cole gets the nod after manning the position for much of the season a year ago.

“Cam just goes about his business the right way,” said Schafer.  “He puts in the time needed to be a big-time performer, and he sets the table for our offense.”

Behind the plate, Kris Sutton and Maddox Brooks will get much of the playing time. 

“These two have plus arms and can shut down the running game of anyone.  It is a plus that both can hit,” said Schafer.

Providing behind the dish will be returners Aiden Milton and Will Thompson, as well as newcomer Caden Johnson.

“Aidan is as good as anyone defensively and really knows how to call the game,” said Schafer.  “And Will is the heart of this team.  No one works as hard and is as important as he is to our success.”


In the outfield, Potomac State has some experience back.    

“This group can do multiple things to help us win,” said Schafer.  “There is some depth, and each guy brings something to the table to help us win.”

Transfer Bryce Suters will man centerfield.  “He is a guy that is unfazed by anything,” said Schafer.  “He brings some polish to our team and a calming influence.  I expect a big year from him.”

Sammy Bradfield and Nik Rubendall look to man left and right field respectively to begin the year.

Backing them up will be Jaylon Sanders, Jordan Canby, Caden DeLauter and Gabe Templeton.

“There is a lot of talent in the outfield,” said Schafer.  “There is not one guy there that cannot help us win games and from time to time, all will be asked to do so.  I like their athleticism and the depth they give us.”


The Catamounts will open the season, February 24 and 25, with a pair of games each day against USC Sumter.

The Catamounts will open the home portion of their 2024 season against Alpena Community College on Saturday March 9 at Golden Park beginning at1PM.