Iron man baseball lives on in Dadeville for another season.
The Bearcats are likely to feature a 10-man roster as they seek a rebound season in 2017. Dadeville finished 7-19 overall a year ago, losing to eventual Class 1 runner-up New Covenant in the Class 1 District 7 tournament semifinals.
“I think we will have 10 (players), but we should overall be more athletic, and definitely experienced,” said Dadeville coach Brent Rountree.
The senior duo of Jarrett Sappington and Wyatt Sneed lead the way for Dadeville.
Sappington has piled up all-conference and all-district awards since his freshman season. He was first team all-conference in the Polk County League last season after hitting .481 with four doubles, three triples and nine RBIs. He also pitches.
“(Sappington) can play multiple positions well,” Rountree said. “We will look for him to drive in runs and be a leader for our younger players.”
Sneed received second team all-conference honors, after posting a .283 batting average with four doubles and 15 RBIs.
“(Sneed) really stepped up and drove in runs for us. We will need him to continue his success at the plate if we want to continue to improve as a team,” Rountree said.
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Skylor Horton had a breakout season as a sophomore. He returns to the starting lineup for his junior season and will look to build on his 2016 numbers (.224 BA, four doubles and nine RBIs).
“(Horton) carried part of our pitching load and played a couple different infield positions,” Rountree said. “If Skylor continues to improve on the mental game, he will have another solid year.”
Expect Dadeville to be aggressive on the base paths. The trio of Sappington, Sneed and Horton combined for 55 steals last season, 28 of which were by Sappington.
Despite the lower roster numbers, the Bearcats have had no shortage of team success during the O-Zone era. Dadeville won three consecutive district titles from 2013-2015 and made the state final four in two of those seasons (2013, 2014).
Joining Dadeville in Class 1 District 7 this season are: Halfway, Humansville, Lakeland, Niangua, Walnut Grove and Weaubleau. Humansville will host the district tournament.