2024 Spring Preview: Nevada Baseball


By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

After a pair of runner-up finishes in district play, Nevada’s baseball team got over the hump last season and won the Class 4 District 12 crown–and then a sectional game against Monett–before suffering a close loss in the quarterfinal round and finishing 19-10.

“We saw a lot of guys continue to get better and we had a strong senior class that was able to lead us on and off the field,” head coach Danny Penn said. “We had some underclassmen fill in some spots and they did a nice job of continuing to work through the season.”

The Tigers graduated five players and three of them were pretty regular starters in Case Sanderson, Cade Beshore and Kennedy D’Elia. Sanderson, who’s now playing at Nebraska, was named the Big 8 West Player of the Year and was a unanimous first team pitcher and unanimous first team infielder in the conference, and a first team All-State DH/utility player. He went 9-3 with a 0.54 ERA and batted .476 with 20 extra-base hits and drove in 27 runs. Beshore, now at Evangel, was a second team Big 8 catcher who earned honorable mention All-State honors; he went 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA on the mound and was a .340 hitter. D’Elia went 2-1 with a save and a 3.60 ERA on the mound.

Nevada, though, returns virtually its entire starting infield from the end of last season: junior Caden Klumpp at third base (.299 hitter, 28 RBI’s, 9 SB); senior Drake Ketterman at shortstop (.333 hitter, 30 hits, 15 RBI’s); junior Barrett Nadurata at second base (.237 hitter, 14 RBI’s, 6 SB); and sophomore Jett Snyder at first base (.250 hitter in limited action).

Klumpp earned honorable mention All-Conference honors and first team All-District honors as an infielder; Ketterman was second team All-Conference and 1st team All-District as an infielder.

Seniors Blake Woods (.303 hitter) and Hunter Seaver (.407) will also be competing for playing time at first and third and could serve as designated hitters. Seaver was an honorable mention designated hitter in the district.

After losing a three-year starter behind the plate, Nevada has sophomores Kellen Braden (.267 hitter and honorable mention Big 8 utility player) and Jacob Hope in the mix. Braden saw some varsity innings as a freshman and can also be a utility infielder. Junior Gage Hollands and sophomore Drew Miller will be infield reserves.

The Tigers return senior Riddick Shook (.281 hitter, 12 RBI’s) and senior Kellan Ast (.286, 8 RBI’s) in the outfield and will be looking for a third starter. Shook was a second team Big 8 outfielder and earned first team All-District honors. Hollands will have a chance to earn the job, and junior Graham Walker, who got varsity time last year, and sophomores Kanton Ast and Kobe Buck will also compete for time in the outfield.

The pitching staff will be anchored by Klumpp, who was the No. 2 starter a year ago when he went 3-3 with a 3.16 ERA. Shook (1-2, 3.91) will throw a lot of innings, and Walker (1-1, 3.97) could also earn a starting spot. Woods (2-0, 3.76) should see a lot of innings, as well, and Ketterman and junior James Qiu will pitch in relief.

“We’ll give a lot of guys opportunities early in the year and see who takes off and runs with it,” Penn said. “All of our infielders are capable of throwing on the mound. We’re fortunate to have a lot of guys who are capable of playing anywhere on the infield who can step in and play and there not be a noticeable drop off.”

The graduation of Sanderson and Beshore leaves a leadership void, and Penn is eager to see who steps into their leadership positions.

“In terms of play on the field, we’ve got guys who have been very hungry for opportunities and early in the season it’s just a matter of seeing who’s going to take advantage and claim a job or at least claim an opportunity to get more reps and see how it plays out,” he said. “Pitching wise there are some question marks, not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of having done it at the varsity level before. I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road early in the season, but we’ll make improvements and adjustments so at the end of the season we’re peaking again and hopefully able to make another solid run in postseason play.”

Nevada will participate in the Buffalo jamboree on March 8 along with Bolivar and opens the regular season at the Clever tournament before hosting Frontenac, Kan. on March 25. The Tigers will play in the Sedalia Smith-Cotton tournament in April.

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