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COLUMN: Cape Catfish stock roster with local talent as inaugural season looms, Forbes rises up draft boards, Burger and Scott City softball get recognition
Baseball season is here. The St. Louis Cardinals' season, an unofficial marker of spring for many in Southeast Missouri, is underway. That means summer, and more baseball, is that much closer.
There's always been plenty of local baseball in June and July to satisfy area connoisseurs, from the Capahas to legion and Babe Ruth baseball. This summer, add a new team to the mix.
The Cape Catfish, the newest member of the Prospect League, begin play May 30 in Quincy, Illinois. The home opener is June 4, and the team is already advertising ticket plans. The Capaha Field renovations are beginning to take shape, as well.
There's been plenty of fanfare over the collegiate wood bat team since a Cape Girardeau franchise was announced in January 2018. Fans later got to vote on the team's logo and nickname, choosing Catfish over Steamboats and Bluebird. Then in October, the team announced its inaugural head coach: Steve Larkin, brother of Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
Now, the roster is beginning to take shape, and there are plenty of familiar names for Southeast Missouri baseball fans.
Former Scott City High School star Braden Cox, currently a sophomore at Three Rivers College, is one of 11 pitchers on the roster. He's joined by infielders Lane Baremore (Meadow Heights), Turner Fritts (Poplar Bluff), Zane Wallace (Kennett) and outfielder Peyton Faulkner (Caruthersville). The Catfish are also taking advantage of having a local Division I university in their backyard, with Southeast Missouri State catcher Andrew Keck plus fellow Redhawks Fritts and Faulkner already on the roster. Prospect League rules dictate teams can't have more than four players from one college.
That rule withstanding, more local names could be coming. Each team is allowed up to 32 players on its roster, and the Catfish currently have 27. Back in July, general manager Mark Hogan told me he wanted to carry 15 position players and 17 pitchers (starters can throw up to 80 pitchers, middle relievers are limited to 40 and closers can't throw more than 25). Right now, the Catfish have 16 position players and 11 pitchers, so expect a few more arms added to the roster before the season kicks off in two months.
One thing's for sure: fans of local baseball talent will have plenty to cheer for when the Catfish take the field this summer.
With Friday's announcement that another Southeast men's basketball player is transferring away from the program -- it's forward Gabe McGlothan this time -- here's some good news for the Redhawk faithful: Drew Forbes is rising up the NFL draft boards.
I was at Southeast's pro day Tuesday when Forbes showcased his athleticism in front of scouts from eight NFL teams. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.87 seconds, faster than any offensive linemen at February's NFL combine. While the 40 was hand-timed -- at the combine it's done electronically -- even if the time was a tenth of a second off, Forbes would have been the fifth fastest offensive lineman at the combine.
He had other head-turning measurables as well with a time of 7.59 seconds in the three-cone drill, which would have been sixth among offensive linemen at the combine, and a vertical leap of 30 feet, 5 inches, good enough to tie for 10th at the combine.
It doesn't hurt Forbes was named an All-American by various publications and was Phil Steele's Football Championship Subdivision Offensive Lineman of the Year. People are starting to take notice of the Bonne Terre, Missouri, native.
NFL.com senior analyst and former vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys Gil Brandt tweeted Thursday that Forbes could get go as early as the fourth round in April's draft and "will be a candidate for highest-drafted player not invited to the combine."
Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons at the FCS level, Marquis Terry almost surely will get an opportunity with NFL teams, even if he doesn't get drafted.
In Notre Dame's season-opening home meet earlier this month, Notre Dame track and field standout Riley Burger had a leap of 41 feet, 3 inches in the triple jump.
As of Thursday, it was the longest triple jump in the nation, according to milesplit.com. If you've been following Burger's career, this achievement is nothing new. She's a two-time Class 4 state champion in the triple jump and has been named Semoball Awards Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year the last two years.
Congrats to Riley on an extraordinary feat.
In other high school sports news, Scott City remained atop the latest state softball poll released earlier this week. The Rams were No. 1 in the preseason poll and have rolled to six consecutive wins to open the season, beating two other top-10 teams in Mt. Vernon and Malden.