Weddington High School

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Weddington High School
Conference: Southern Carolina Conference
Coach: Travis Poole
2016 Record: 16-14, lost in fourth round of Class 3A State Tournament
Between the Lines: Weddington won four of its last five games before losing to eventual Class 3A state champion Marvin Ridge in the fourth round of the playoffs. … Weddington was 8-8 in conference games last season. … Five players — Nick Cooper, Elijah Bowers, Bryan Petta, Ryan Sutton and Drake Smith — will play college baseball next season.
Weddington High has picked up where it left off last season and that is good news for the Warriors.

Weddington is off to a 2-0 start this season and won four of five games late last season before losing to conference rival Marvin Ridge in the fourth round of the playoffs.
The Warriors are led by five players who have signed or committed to play college baseball next year.

Tops on the list is senior catcher Elijah Bowers, who has committed South Carolina. Nick Cooper (Liberty), Bryan Petta (Winthrop), Ryan Sutton (Campbell) and Drake Smith (Winthrop) will also play at the next level.

“I think we play pretty good baseball, and at times we execute,” said Weddington coach Travis Poole. “We still have a lot to work on.”

Petta (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is a left-handed pitcher that has been clocked in the mid 80s. Sutton (6-2, 190) is a right-handed pitcher that has been clocked in the upper 80s. Matt Burke, Eddie Rios, Cooper McKeehan, Austin Roseberry and Anthony Casciola will also see time on the mound.

“We have a lot of pitchers that we are counting on,”Poole said. “With the pitch count rules, you need to have six to eight arms ready to go.”

Bowers is a four-year starter and committed to South Carolina in January.  “He does a very good job behind the plate handling our pitchers,” Poole said. “He has a good arm and he is the quarterback of our team right now.”

Poole said the Warriors will have to execute to be successful at the plate.

“We are going to have to get timely hitting,” Poole said. “We don’t have a lineup of great hitters but we have a lineup of guys that are going to get hits and do their job at the plate, whatever their job maybe.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at