Uwharrie Wampus Cats claw into second season

The Cats are now in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League

ALBEMARLE — Now a few weeks into Year 2 following last year’s inaugural campaign, the Uwharrie Wampus Cats wood-bat collegiate baseball team is experiencing its first season in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League.

The Wampus Cats (5-6, 1-3 SCBL) are currently in seventh place in their league standings, besting Concord Athletics (1-5) but trailing the Mooresville Spinners (5-2), Carolina Disco Turkeys (3-2), Queen City Corndogs (3-2), Regulators Baseball Club (3-2), Lake Norman Copperheads (4-3) and Statesville Owls (2-3).

Last season, Uwharrie finished with a 18-17 winning record playing independently of a league.

The team is now adjusting to life in the North Carolina-headquartered SCBL, which was established in 1999 and is partially funded by the MLB as a member of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball.

Boasting over 100 alumni that have gone on to play professional baseball, the league has sent top prospects to Liberty University showcases to play in front of pro scouts during the NACSB Prospect Games.

With the Cats’ home field once again stationed at Albemarle’s Don Montgomery Park, they are now a fourth of the way into their 44-game schedule ahead of a SCBL Tournament slated for July 22.

Year 2 came with a few other changes — Josh Kent is Uwharrie’s new head coach, while Jayson James is the new general manager.

“We’re expecting an electric atmosphere, just like our home opener last summer,” team president and co-owner Greg Sullivan said in a team press release at the opening of the season. “I know the team and coaches are excited to see this year’s team, and the fans I’ve talked to are excited too.”

Among many other returning players, Uwharrie has brought back USC-Sumter infielder and Jackson State commit BJ Williams, who led the Cats in batting average (.347) and home runs (4) last summer in 75 at-bats.

The Cats opened the season in late May with two wins in a three-game series against their Highway 52 Cup rival — the Disco Turkeys — followed by a win over the Race City Bootleggers.

They then suffered a four-game losing streak (Spinners, Corndogs, Tarboro River Bandits, and Kingsmen Baseball) before taking down the Carolina Ducks in a 15-5 home win on June 6.

This past weekend, the Cats lost on the road to the Owls in a 11-1 finish and then knocked off the Disco Turkeys again in a 9-4 win in Albemarle’s Don Montgomery Park.

Rounding out the next seven days, Uwharrie is set for home matchups with the Ducks, Regulators, Concord Athletics and Disco Turkeys before hitting the road to face the Copperheads.