By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
North Arkansas Community College didn’t just land one or two baseball players from Neosho High School.
The Pioneers loaded up. Assistant Sean Griesenauer nabbed four Wildcats.
“It is unusual,” North Arkansas head coach Phil Wilson said. “But I believe before we’ve had four from the same high school a couple of times.”
Said Neosho coach Donny Pennington: “Typically, you see them spread out. But they went together (to see the school, etc., at Harrison) and they really enjoyed the visit.”
The Wildcats who will become Pioneers are Nathan Bankson, Lane Brodie, David Dean and Wayde Hartman.
Pennington, looking at the upcoming prep season, projected Bankson, a left-handed batter, as the regular shortstop with an occasional stint out of the bullpen.
Brodie, another right-hander, probably will be the closer, Pennington said.
The right-handed Dean likely will be the Wildcats’ No. 2 pitcher and play outfield,. Pennington said.
The right-handed Hartman is scheduled to play right field and start games from the mound when needed, Pennington said.
Added Wilson: “I think those guys wanted to stay together. They’re good students. They’re versatile (on the diamond). They have some capabilities.
“We don’t pigeonhole anyone,” Wilson said. “We’ll give them a chance to play every day.”
North Arkansas is NJCAA Division III in baseball, Wilson noted, and the Pioneers have been successful during his tenure. They were ranked No. 1 at one time in 2012.
Wilson, originally from Illinois, has undergraduate and master’s degrees from Kansas State. His experience includes a stint as its head coach.
Pennington, a 1994 graduate of Nevada High School, is in his second season as the Neosho head coach. He was an infielder in college at Brown-Mackie (Overland Park, Kan.) and Milligan (Johnson City, Tenn.)
There are at least nine Neosho graduates playing in college, Pennington said, with four at North Central Missouri College of Trenton.
Playing for Donnie Hillerman are veterans Silas Bohannan and Tyler Marion and freshmen Ethan Pogue and Tyler Rathmann.
Bohannan is a 6-foot-4, 260-pound right-handed pitcher.
“Silas worked out for the Royals last week and threw 93, 94 mph,” Pennington said. “He should be drafted. The question is the round.”
The Wildcats also have Jared Brown and Jake Barnes at Crowder, Alex Wise at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Drew Miller at Southwest Baptist and Kyle Dickens at Arkansas-Fort Smith.
Practice for Missouri prep baseball players will start Feb. 25, Pennington said, and the Wildcats’ debut on March 15 will have them playing a doubleheader at Sperry (Okla.) against the Pirates and Pawhuska.
MSHSAA has five classes this year with Neosho returning to the largest (Class 5). District foes will be Joplin, Webb City, Carthage, Republic and Willard.
Pennington is assisted by Brian Ellis and Drew Osborne (pitching). All have coached at El Dorado Springs and Pennington assisted Ellis with the Bulldogs.