The team, which includes eight seniors, is hoping to improve on its performance a year ago in Region 7-AAAA, in which it finished 13-13 and 10-10.
Unquestionably, this edition of the Wildcats has some serious talent. Pitchers Luke Patterson, John Hood and shortstop/second baseman Camden McGill have already signed scholarships to attend Georgia Highlands. Also taking his skills to the next level is Chris Cuzzort, the Wildcat second baseman/shortstop who has signed with Chattanooga State.
“We’ve got a good group of kids,” Gochee said. “Their chemistry also seems really good and, hopefully, we can continue with the process and get better each day. I like our club a lot.
“We’ve got a good group of seniors who’ve played together a long time. Now it’s their turn in a more leadership role, and they have done a good job so far and hopefully will continue that as we move through 2013.”
There will be a big senior imprint on virtually the whole team.
“We could at times have four seniors across the infield,” Gochee said.
Since the Wildcats may shift to different positions depending on who’s pitching and the team’s needs, at times underclassmen will be a part of the mix.
“We could use sophomore Braden Harris at second or third and he could start at shortstop,” Gochee said. “He’ll be a big part of our game because he can play all those positions.”
At third base, senior Tyler Stringer also has experience and freshman Hayden Siniard is capable.
At first base, it more than likely it will be Stringer and Lance Glockner. “Stringer played there for us all last year. Both those guys are quite capable. It’ll really be just a matter who swings the bat.”
He said in the outfield, the Wildcats expect to turn most often to four or five guys.
Those players start with seniors Gavin Livsey and Luke Patterson at left and right field.
“Junior Mason Robinson will be playing center field because he’s such a good athlete,” Gochee said. “He started 13 games for us. Senior Blake Hall also has played center field and will play one of the other two positions, too.
“He’s also played all three positions.”
Another experienced option is Justin Allen, also a senior.
Gochee said the team’s catcher is Hunter Siniard, a junior.
“Siniard caught for us last year. We were hoping Will Parsegian could help at that position but he had shoulder surgery about three weeks ago and it’ll be four or five weeks before he can pick up a bat, much less throw a baseball.”
Woodland has a lot of capable arms to handle pitching duties, starting with Hall, a left-hander, and righties Patterson and Hood. All three drew mound time last year.
Stringer and Livsey, both righties, also will be in the mix on the mound.
“These probably are the five guys who will eat up most of our innings,” the coach said.
He said Woodland’s hitting game will require attention.
“It is probably where we need to improve the most,” he said, “but that’s probably to be expected. In most years pitching is ahead of your offense.”
Although Woodland will be in a new region, Gochee noted the teams are no strangers to the Wildcats.
“We’ve played Rome since 2005. They are coming with us to the new region,” he said. “We’re familiar with the four Paulding County teams. We’ve played these guys in some years as nonregion opponents and it hasn’t been that long since they were in our region.”
The Wildcats are expecting a challenge from most region foes.
“East Paulding is always good and South Paulding has done well several years now,” he said. “Villa Rica made a push last year. If I had to guess, I’d say the top three teams this year probably will be East Paulding, North Paulding and Allatoona.”
The coach said his seniors offer experience and the team should benefit.
“We have a bunch of guys who’ve seen a lot of time from the mound and playing positions for us,” he said. “We’ve lost some talented seniors, and it’s a void that has to be filled.
“Hopefully our players will do a good job for us. I know it’s a cliche but we’ll have to take it one pitch at a time and one game at a time.
“I have a lot of confidence in us defensively and on the mound. We will have to play small ball, bunt our players over, play hit and run. We’re going to rely heavily on our pitching and defense to keep the games close and let our hitters be the difference makers.”
The season kicked off for the Wildcats Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Pepperell. This year’s Military Appreciation Day, featuring Woodland, Cass and Pepperell, will be hosted by the Wildcats on Saturday, March 2. Games start at 11 a.m. and each school will play in two games throughout the day.
Region play begins March 5 when the Wildcats visit New Manchester.
The team’s final game is April 26, when the Wildcats visit North Paulding.
Woodland 2013 baseball roster
1 Mason Robinson Jr.
2 Gavin Livsey Sr.
3 Camden McGill Sr.
5 Luke Patterson Sr.
6 Blake Hall Sr.
8 Chris Cuzzort Sr.
9 Justin Allen Sr
10 Lance Glockner Sr.
13 John Hood Sr.
14 Braden Harris So.
15 Seth Gunter So.
17 Jarrett Kilgo So.
20 Cody Crump Jr.
21 Will Parsegian Jr.
22 Tyler Stringer Sr.
25 Hayden Siniard Fr.
27 Josh Bruce Fr.
28 Hunter Siniard Jr.
Woodland 2013 baseball schedule
Saturday, Feb. 23
Langston Hughes vs Woodland, Homeplate Classic, 5:30 p.m.
Whitewater vs. Woodland, Homeplate Classic, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Woodland at Cass, 5:55 p.m.
Saturday, March 2
Pepperell at Woodland, 11 a.m., Military Appreciation Day
Cass at Woodland, 5:30 p.m., Military Appreciation Day
Tuesday, March 5
Woodland at New Manchester, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, March 8
Woodland at Paulding County, 5:55 p.m.
Monday, March 11
Allatoona at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13
Woodland at Villa Rica, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, March 15
Rome at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, March 22
Lithia Springs at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Monday, March 25
Woodland at Hiram, 5:55 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27
East Paulding at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, March 29
Woodland at South Paulding, 5:55 p.m.
Monday, April 1
North Paulding at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3
Paulding County at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, April 5
Hiram at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Monday, April 8
Villa Rica at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10
Woodland at Rome, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, April 12
Woodland at East Paulding, 5:55 p.m.
Wednesday, April 17
Woodland at Lithia Springs, 5:55 p.m.
Thursday, April 18
South Paulding at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Monday, April 22
New Manchester at Woodland, 5:55 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24
Woodland at Allatoona, 5:55 p.m.
Friday, April 26
Woodland at North Paulding, 5:55 p.m.