PADEN CITY - There's a youth movement taking place inside the Paden City baseball program.
Of the 10 players Coach Brent Croasmun has on his roster, six are freshman. Still, Croasmun is excited about the Wildcats' prospects.
''Although we only have 10 players, we have the right 10 players,'' Croasmun said as he enters his 25th season one victory shy of 300.
''I think we can put a solid player at each position.''
Of the four returning players from last season's 6-18 club, none are seniors. Sadly, Matt Barker, who would have been the team's lone senior, was killed in an automobile accident last summer.
''We will return a junior (Tyler Stackpole) and three sophomores (Zach Heasley, Levi Meadows and Craig Allen),'' Croasmun said.
Michael Wilcox Luke Cooper, Deven Price, Logan Carroll, Andrew Dennis and Isaac Hall are the newcomers.
''All of these guys played on our summer Pony League team, which had a successful year,'' Croasmun said. ''Of the 10 players we have, six have pitched.
''We will go through a lot of growing pains this year. It's hard to compete against juniors and seniors when your team is so young.
''The good thing is these young players will get to play a lot of varsity baseball.''
Heasley will return to first base, with Cooper also eyeing time there.
Cooper and Hall will share time at third. Hall could play some left field, as well.
Meadows could see time behind the plate, but most of his time will be spent at second. He will also back up Price at short.
Last season's starting shortstop, Allen, moves to center field. Carroll will play left field, center field and also second from time to time. Hall could play some left field, too.
Stackpole, Dennis and Ash are in the mix in right.
Wilcox will be the primary catcher.
''For a young team, I like the skills I have seen so far,'' Croasmun said. ''We just have to be patient and mature.''
Heasley, Meadows and Allen will headline the pitching staff.
''Cooper and Hall have strong arms for freshmen and they will get the chance to pitch, as well,'' Croasmun said. ''Dennis will also get some innings on the mound at some point.''
Jeff Hohn returns for his eighth season as Croasmun's assistant.
''The future looks very good,'' Croasmun said. ''These guys are excited about playing baseball and that's hard to find around here.''