PAOLA — With right-handers Caden Marcum and Garrett Williams, the Paola Panthers have a one-two punch that will keep them in a lot of games.

Marcum and Williams are a solid start to the rotation, Paola coach Tony Brummer said.

Marcum, a junior, was the Tri-County Spotlight Offensive Baseball Player of the Year in 2019. He throws hard, possesses a strong curve ball and has control.

Williams, a senior, has good stuff and is a competitor on the mound.

Junior Dalton Picek also has a strong arm and figures to be in the rotation.

Senior infielder Fletcher Aude is back at the hot corner. He is tough at the plate and has a good glove. Aude will also see some action on the mound.

Twenty-seven student athletes are out for the Paola Panther baseball program.

Junior Kody Hendrickson has been working hard behind the plate. He saw some varsity action as a freshman two years ago.

“We have quite a few newcomers,” Brummer said. “Practices have been going well. We were lucky the first couple of weeks with the weather, but recently have been inside due to rain.”

There is going to be a lot of competition for varsity playing time. Brummer said.

“Ryan Sloan, Dillon Ohlmeier, Aidan Hartig, Carson Boehm, Jon Earlywine, Logan Newkirk, Gus Wright, Noah Gerken, Isaac Meyers, and Gavin Clark are all competing for spots,” Brummer said. “They will be a fun group of young men to watch.”

Hartig recently signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Saint Mary’s College.

The Paola Panthers are ready to compete for league, regional and make a run at state, Brummer said.

“The team goals are to win the league,” he said. “Our league is tough with Tongonoxie and Ottawa opening the year in the top 10 in the rankings. Spring Hill and Bonner Springs, a pair of Class 5A schools, will make this a tough league. We always have the goal to make it to state.”

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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