By Daniel Hooker
Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
Six upperclassmen including five seniors – four returning for their second seasons in the Purple & Gold – and a pair of veteran mainstays in the Catamount lineup have been named team captains for Western Carolina baseball’s upcoming 2024 season announced today by second-year head coach Alan Beck.
Seniors in infielder Zach Ketterman, outfielder Nate Stocum, RHP Jonathan Todd, catcher Kyle Harbison, and outfielder/LHP Kyle Riesselmann, along with redshirt junior outfielder Cole Jones have each been selected as captains by their teammates and the coaching staff. Stocum, who has been on the Cullowhee campus since 2020, and three-year starter Ketterman are among the longest-tenured players on WCU’s 2024 roster.
A three-year starter and last year’s Leggett No. 7 Legacy recipient, Ketterman returns for his fourth season, anchoring the left side of the Catamount. He has started 153 of his 155 career games at WCU. The Biglerville, Pa., product hit .261 a season ago with 27 extra-base hits among the 53 he collected including a career-best 17 doubles, a triple, and nine home runs. A two-time College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District selection, Ketterman drove in a career-best 50 in the 2023 season
Stocum has been on the Catamount roster since the COVID-altered 2020 season. A .259 career hitter with 111 starts over 129 career games, the Raleigh, N.C., product hit .243 a season ago with 24 extra-base hits including 11 doubles and a team-best 13 home runs. Stocum scored 41 runs with 45 runs driven in including 17 two-out RBI.
The remaining four elected team captains return for their second seasons at WCU. Right-handed pitcher and Reidsville, N.C., senior Jonathan Todd made 16 appearances with eight starts last spring. He finished the year with two wins over 40.2 innings of work including 29.0 as a starter with 38 combined strikeouts. He’s joined by two-way playing senior Kyle Riesselmann who saw action both on the mound with 14 appearances with 13 starts and 24 starts in the outfield. The Georgia State transfer batted .267 with five extra-base hits including four doubles and a home run with nine RBI.
Senior catcher and State College of Florida transfer, Kyle Harbison played in 38 games a season ago with 32 starts behind the plate. The veteran backstop hit .228 with a pair of doubles and a home run, finishing the season with 12 RBI.
The lone underclassman voted captain for 2024 is redshirt junior outfielder Cole Jones who transferred from Parkland College ahead of the 2023 season. The Champaign, Ill., product played in 40 games in 2023 with 35 starts including 21 in the outfield and 14 as the designated hitter. Jones batted .308 last season, tops among the Catamount returners this season, with 16 of his 41 hits going for extra bases including 10 doubles and six home runs. He recorded 30 RBI including 14 with two outs, and closed last season riding a season-long seven-game hitting streak as a part of reaching base in 10-straight games.
Preseason practice for the Catamounts’ 2024 season begins when the squad returns to campus following the winter break here in early January. Combined, WCU returns 21 letter winners including seven players who saw multiple starts a season ago and four pitchers who made four or more starts on the mound.
The Catamounts open the 2024 season with seven of their first 11 games at home at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium, beginning Feb. 16-18 against nonconference foe Iona. WCU will also play four of its seven Southern Conference series - a total of 12 games in league play - in Cullowhee.
Season tickets for the 26-game 2024 home baseball schedule at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium are on sale now through the first-floor Athletics Ticket Office in the Ramsey Center, by phone at (828) 227-2401, or online at CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets. Season ticket prices start at just $51 for adult general admission or $26 for youth general admission. Additional seating options include field-level chair back seats and upper-reserved chair backs under cover beneath the press box.
Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public in mid-January ahead of the mid-February opening weekend.