Today’s Senior Spotlight shines on Bobcat Baseball, as we bid a fond but regretful farewell to four team members: Joel Ogletree, Connor Pomering, Kyle Giefer, and Westin Gann. Although their season was unfortunately cut short due to COVID-19, we have the opportunity to look back and see the positive impact they have had on the team’s success during their tenure.
Joel Ogletree, who hails from Norwood (Mo.), played his first season as a Bobcat in 2019 after transferring from Hesston Community College (Kan.). The Agriculture Business major worked at the College's hog farm. A versatile player, Joel spent time at first and third base last season, as well as in left field. His bat was instrumental in a pinch-hitting role, since he had the ability to make a game-changing impact with one swing. Joel had 54 at bats last season, with a .315 slugging percentage. His biggest game at the plate featured a 3-5 performance against Manhattan Christian, which featured one double, one home run, five RBI, and two runs scored. During his senior season, Joel showed his versatility, playing first base and left field on numerous occasions with a .090 fielding percentage. Joel also served as a pinch hitter and designated hitter for the Cats and was looking forward to seeing his bat provide key hits as the season progressed. “Joel worked hard this year at being more consistent at the plate,” stated Head Coach Neale Richardson. “He was beginning to see success, but unfortunately it came just as the season was being canceled.”
Connor Pomering was a three-year member of the Bobcats. He played high school ball at Rogersville and transferred to C of O from Drury University following his freshman year. He majored in Exercise Science and worked in the Day Care. The right-hander was a major contributor on the mound as a sophomore, pitching 39 innings over nine games with 2-2 record. Connor’s season featured four games in which he struck out eight hitters, closing out the season with 49 total strikeouts. Unfortunately, an injury caused him to miss all but a few innings of the 2019 season. Connor was working his way back to the mound during his senior season with hopes of contributing in a closing role this spring. “Despite the setbacks he encountered,” stated Coach Richardson, “Connor remained positive and always looked for ways to help and encourage our team.”
Kyle Giefer transferred to C of O last year from Harding University. A southpaw from Springfield, Mo., Kyle played high school ball at Kickapoo. Kyle pursued a Business Administration: Marketing degree and worked in the College's power plant. A multi-purpose player, Kyle was successful all aspects of the game. During the 2019 season, Kyle pitched in 51 innings over the course of 11 games for the Bobcats, posting a record of 4-6. His key performance of the season was against Manhattan Christian, where he gave up one run on three hits while striking out nine batters. He held a .266 batting average and .494 slugging percentage, which included seven doubles, one triple and three homers. Playing in 43 games at varying positions, typically first base when he wasn’t pitching, Kyle committed only 4 errors and turned 13 double plays while fielding his position at a rate of 98%. His senior season found Kyle off to a good start. In his 21 games played, he held a .279 batting average, .436 on-base percentage, and .442 slugging percentage. Kyle led the team in RBI with ten and recorded a stat line featuring 12 hits, four doubles, one homer, nine walks, and four stolen bases. On the mound, he held a 1-3 record, pitching 29 innings and striking out 19 batters. In his first start of the season, Kyle picked up a win. He went 6-1/3 innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out five. Kyle finished his Bobcat career on a great final note. In what proved to be the Bobcats’ last game of the season, he went 2-3 at the plate with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored to help the Bobcats pick up a big win over Ecclesia College. For his career, Kyle hit .270 with a .403 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage. In 80 innings pitched, Kyle struck out 61 batters against 47 walks. His fielding percentage was stellar at 98.4% with 329 putouts. “Kyle was an exciting addition to our team,” noted Richardson. “He had the ability to change the course of a game be it on the mound, in the field, or at the plate.”
Westin Gann is a four-year member of the Bobcats, who is a Business Administration Management major. His on-campus job found him working in the College's Electric Shop. Westin hails from Kickapoo High School (Mo.) and has provided hundreds of innings behind the plate as the team’s primary catcher for three seasons. He is a solid and steady presence for the pitching staff, boasting a .960 career fielding percentage. Westin was always quick to hop on a bunted ball or make a stellar play at the plate. His bat has also been a key component in numerous games, coming up with clutch hits in critical situations. Last season, Westin tagged eight home runs and nine doubles for the Cats, driving in 35 runs. One of his highlight games took place in April 2019 against Williams Baptist. Westin went 2-for-4 at the plate and belted a grand slam in the sixth inning. His efforts were recognized at the close of the 2019 season, when he was named to the 2019 NCCAA All-Region Team. Westin’s senior season found him starting off strong at the plate, posting a .317 average, .451 on-base percentage, and .463 slugging percentage. He was 13-41 at the plate, including three doubles and a homerun, along with four walks and a team-leading six hit-by-pitches. Despite the short season, Gann’s final game for the Bobcats was a sweet one for the memory bank, as he went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double in an 11-3 victory over Ecclesia College. At the close of the shortened season, he was awarded 2020 A.I.I. All-Conference honors. Westin’s career totals feature 20 doubles, one triple, ten homers, and 53 RBI, with 38 walks. He posted a .224 batting average, on on-base percentage of .351, and a slugging percentage of .388. Richardson commented, “Westin became a great leader for our team and was motivated to have a terrific season. We are thankful for the significant contributions he has made to the team’s success during his tenure.“
Best wishes Joel, Connor, Kyle, and Westin! Thanks for the memories.