Bobcat Baseball Coach Rob Jewett Shares Thoughts On Canceled Season And Message For Senior Baseball Players (Senior Bios, Pics Included (05/06/20)

(Photos submitted)

As with all spring sports, the Clarion Area Baseball Team saw their 2020 season canceled. Expectations were high, with Coach Rob Jewett’s team coming off of an 11-7 record, with five of their losses coming by two runs or less, including a 2-0 loss to Elk County Catholic in the District Nine playoffs.

Coach Jewett shared his thoughts on the season lost and his players, as well as a special message for his seniors who had to miss their final campaign due to coronavirus restrictions.

Coach Jewett: It was a shame the season got canceled this year, because we really felt like we had a team that could make another run at the state championship. 

We had a very strong pitching staff coming back, with senior Skylar Rhoades and Sophomore Chase Kriebel as a pair of 1 and 2 starters, this league has not seen in quite some time. 

I felt senior Lake Staub was going to have a big year behind the plate and roaming the outfield.  He seemed to have a nice and fluid swing, with more power while hitting in the cage this year.  He was also throwing some really good bullpens in practice and developing his off-speed pitches. 

Senior Skyler Pastor also had a more powerful swing this year.  He added some velocity onto his fastball and was really starting to command the strike zone in his bullpens.  We were just working him out a first base to try and fill a hole we had this year. 

Senior Nate Datko picked up where he left off last year with his batting.  Always seems to make contact, but with a little more power this year by using his legs and hips more in his swing.  He was going to man center field for us when Rhoades is pitching or one of the corners when he is not.  He was also looking very good in his bullpens so far. 

Senior Skylar Rhoades just finished his run with basketball, so he only got 1.5 practices in.  He was going to be one of our main pitchers and continue his dominance on the mound from last year.  He also was going to play center field or anywhere else we needed him.  With more experience coming back from last year, I was hoping to move him in the lineup to get more RBI opportunities.  He was hoping to have an even better year than last year, both on the mound and at the plate, and take that to college.

 Seniors Josh Craig and Nick Frederick both came back out for the team after taking some years off.  They were really going to help the team by giving us more depth and experience.  I was hoping Josh could compete for playing second base and Nick would compete for playing time in the outfield.  They both played basketball, so we didn’t get much time with them but they did look good in the batting cages! 

Junior Cole Slaugenhoup was going to see a lot more time behind the plate this year as well as playing third base.  His swing looked really nice in the cage and he too got a lot more powerful.  He would have been a 3, 4 or 5 batter in the lineup.  He spent a lot of time in the off-season catching Chase, so he looked really nice behind the plate during bullpens. 

Junior Calvin German was another basketball player who did not get to practice yet.  I was planning on him continuing to man shortstop.  He did a tremendous job there last year, and was hoping he would do even better this year. 

Sophomore Chase Kriebel was coming off one of the most impressive pitching performances as a freshman I have ever seen.  He was going to try to be even better this year.  He got bigger and stronger and looked great during his bullpens.  There is no doubt in my mind he would have had a tremendous pitching season.  He looked great swinging the bat also and was going to compete for first base. 

Other sophomores that were going to help the team compete for starting positions or playing time were Cameron Lapinto at third/second base and catcher, Christian Simko in the outfield, Ryan Alston at second base and the outfield, Aidan Quinn at outfield and shortstop, and Cole Wrhen at third base and outfield. 

New players that came out for the team this year were senior Matt Terwilliger, junior Brandon Beish, sophomores Charlie Franchino and Kade Phillips, and freshmen Gary Matus, Ashton Rex and Reece Geiger.  All these players were improving and looking to help the team in some way. 

I really enjoyed my time with all the seniors and trying to teach them everything I know about this amazing game of baseball.  I hope they take everything they learned by playing this game, highs and lows, and use it to help deal with and overcome any adversities they may face in their future.  There were many laughs, lots of sweat and many blisters, but I appreciate everything these men have given to me, my other coaches, their teammates and this program.  Really wish they had one more opportunity to go after that state title.  They will be missed, but hope they stay in touch and visit once in a while!

Coach Jewett’s message for the seniors:   “It has been a pleasure coaching you and being a part of your baseball growth through your high school career. Thank you for all your time and hard work you have given me and the team. 

I know you were going to do amazing things this season: Skylar (Rhoades) throwing BBs off the mound, Nate (Datko) vacuuming up anything that comes his way in center field, Lake (Staub) swiping bags and perfecting his changeup, Skyler (Pastor) throwing strikes and scooping short-hops at first, Josh (Craig) coming out of retirement and manning second base, Nick (Frederick) also coming out of retirement and patrolling the outfield, and Matt (Terwilliger) making his debut looking for his first hit!

“I know all of you were itching to hit the heck out of the ball this year, and I am sorry we didn’t get one more try at a state title. I hope you continue to use the knowledge you have gained from the highs and lows of playing baseball, being leaders and working together as a team in your future.

“I wish you all the best of luck and please continue to play the greatest game there is, Baseball! Please don’t be a stranger and keep me up to date with what you are up to!”

Player Bios (Compiled by Kenn Staub):

Skylar Rhoades was heading into his senior season on the Bobcat baseball team as a three year starter, primarily as an outfielder and a member of the pitching corps.

During his career Skylar racked up numerous honors. In 2017 he was named to the All-KSAC third team as an outfielder after hitting .295 with 12 runs batted in during his freshman campaign. The 2017 season provided him with his favorite Bobcat baseball memory, the run to the PIAA Class A state championship game.

During his sophomore season Rhoades batted .388 and drove in 19, stealing five bases along the way. He earned All-KSAC first team honors as an outfielder and was named a second team all-star by the Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express (TCS/CE).

In 2019 he posted a .323 batting average and plated six from his lead-off spot, swiping 19 bases. Skylar was once again named to the All-KSAC first team and TCS/CE second team as an outfielder. In addition, his performance on the mound last year, was good enough for second team All-KSAC recognition. For the season, Skylar made 10 appearances, going 5-2 with a 1.88 earned run average and striking out 64 in 41 innings of work. At various times during high school Skylar played on the golf, football, and basketball teams.

His favorite food is Mexican and in his down time he likes to hunt, fish, and lift weights.

The son of Jason and Kristie Rhoades, Skylar plans to attend college, make some money, and have fun. He is especially grateful to the coaching staff and enjoyed being part of the Bobcat baseball team. His advice to younger teammates is “practice hard and play hard to get it done on the field.”

A three year starter, Nate Datko primarily played the outfield for the Bobcat baseball team and began seeing time on the mound last season.

As a junior he hit .417 and drove in nine runs, earning first team All-KSAC honors and being named a Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express second team all-star as an outfielder. He made five appearances on the bump in 2019, compiling a 2-2 record with 12 strike outs in 12 innings of work. His favorite memory was beating Greensburg Central Catholic in the PIAA Class A semifinals in walk-off fashion during the Bobcats historic 2017 postseason run.

Nate also ran cross country at Clarion and was a member of the teams that participated in the 2017 and 2019 state meets. His favorite food is taco pizza and he enjoys gaming, playing the piano, and jumping on the trampoline.

The son of Darrell and Christie Datko, Nate plans to major in speech-language pathology at Clarion University. He is somewhat philosophical about his missed senior season, noting, “There are bigger tragedies due to the coronavirus. People are losing their jobs, losing loved ones, living life currently uncertain about the future and not being able to visit family.” His advice to his younger teammates is “do not play as individuals, play as a team.”

Lake Staub prepared all winter for his fourth year on the Bobcat baseball team, hitting with Jon and Ed Kemmer and working on his defense with Cole Heffner.

A catcher who did some pitching last season, Lake hit .288 and drove in 13 runs, earning third team All-KSAC recognition behind the plate. He pitched eight innings over the course of five appearances, posting a 2.62 earned run average and striking out nine as he notched three saves.

His favorite memory is going to the PIAA Class A championship game during his freshman season in 2017.

Lake was a four year member of the Clarion golf team, winning one conference megamatch and being named to the All-KSAC second team as both a junior and senior. He qualified for the District IX tournament in 2018 and 2019.

His favorite food is shrimp and he enjoys golf, gaming online with his friends, and playing baseball for the Brookville Grays (he was an outfielder on the 2019 Federation League championship team).

The son of Kenn and Suzie Staub, Lake plans to attend Clarion University, going undecided for his first year. Lake’s advice to his younger teammates is “make the most of every opportunity.”

Skyler Pastor was looking forward to his fourth year on the Bobcat baseball team.

An outfielder and pitcher, he played in all 18 games last season, batting .189 with six runs batted in, two doubles, and a triple. On the mound he threw two-and-a-third innings.

His favorite memory is going to the 2017 PIAA Class A championship game during his freshman year. He also fondly recalls running into a left field fence at full speed that season, hitting it so hard many of his teammates thought he might have died. His favorite food is Hawaiian pizza and he enjoys spending time with his friends and hunting.

The grandson of Joe and Cheryl Pastor, Skyler is enlisting in the Air Force where he will specialize in software engineering. After serving a four year stint, he intends to enroll in college for either software of civil engineering.

Skyler is especially appreciative for coaches Jewett, Weber, and Klein working with him throughout his high school career. His advice to his younger teammates is “enjoy what you have now and never live with regret, one day what you have will be gone and the worst thing you can do is regret you didn’t do something.”

This season was to be Josh Craig’s return to the Bobcat baseball team after a two year hiatus following his freshman season.

A member of the 2017 team that played in the PIAA Class A championship game, Josh fondly recalls that season and especially a game against East Forest. Though he played some second base in 2017, Josh was used primarily as a designated hitter, securing All-KSAC honors in that role after compiling a .211 batting average and driving in 12 runs.

A member of the golf team throughout high school, Josh won four KSAC megmatches and was named to the All-KSAC third team as a freshman, the second team as a sophomore, and first team as a junior and senior. He advanced to the District IV tournament all four years he played, making the cut to the final day as a freshman and junior. In addition to golf, he also played basketball.

Josh’s favorite food is tacos and he enjoys gaming, robotics, golf, and fishing.

The son of Jason and Tracy Craig, Josh plans to attend Clarion University for three years and then transfer to Case Western Reserve University as part of a cooperative program, pursuing a degree first in physics and then aerospace. After college he plans to be in the very successful business of space hotels. His advice to younger teammates is “stretch your arm in the off season or you will regret it.”

After playing on the Bobcat baseball team as a sophomore, Nick Frederick had plans of returning to the diamond this season.

A member of the 2018 team Nick appeared in 13 games (primarily in the outfield), batting .231 and driving in three runs. His favorite memory was watching a former teammate catch balls with his bare hands (when they weren’t meant to be).

Nick was a member of the 2019 cross country team that advanced to the state meet, earning second team All-KSAC honors for his efforts. He also played basketball during high school, earning Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express Honorable Mention honors in 2019-2020.

Nick’s favorite food is crab legs and he likes being outdoors, hanging with friends, and riding bikes during his down time.

The son of Darren and Teresa Frederick, Nick plans on attending Penn State-Behrend to major in engineering. His advice to younger teammates is “take advantage of high school sports because before you know it they will be gone.”

Matt Terwilliger was looking to make his debut on the Bobcat baseball team this season, practicing with the squad up until spring sports were suspended in March.

He appreciated his time with the team and especially liked playing football at practice. Matt’s favorite food is chilli and he enjoys trap shooting and video games.

The son of Thomas and Sandra Terwilliger, Matt plans on attending Clarion University where he will major in marketing. His advice to younger players on the team is “you guys should have games.”

(Thanks to Coach Jewett for the article, to Kenn Staub for the Senior Bios and to Christie Datko for coordinating the info and photos for Clarion Sports Zone.

Sad for the team to lose out on the season. All The Best to the Seniors!!!!)