A Look at the Familiar Faces of the Missoula Paddleheads
Another season of Paddleheads baseball in Missoula opened up Tuesday night. Missoula's professional baseball team recorded a league high 69 regular season wins last season.
As the page flips to 2023, the Paddleheads return a majority of their nucleus from a season ago. Here's a look at every returning Paddlehead.
#1 Patrick Chung: No, not the former New England Patriot Pat Chung. This is Missoula Paddlehead Patrick Chung! Look for Chung to be a mainstay atop the lineup this summer after finishing with a .390 batting average last summer.
#2 Kamron Willman: A D1 player at Kansas State and New Mexico, Willman was phenomenal last year batting .336 in 68 games.
#7 Mark Simon: Mark Simon has had quite the professional career thus far. He was named the 2021 Pioneer Pitcher of the Year, he's pitched all over North America (from Oklahoma City to Vancouver, Canada to Aguascalientes, Mexico) and he is one of the longest tenured Paddleheads entering year numero tres.
#8 Jared Akins: I need to give some love to my guy with Minnesota ties! Ohhhh sure you betcha! The former Minnesota Twins farmhand returns for his third season in Missoula.
#10 Austen Seidel: A midseason addition last year, Seidel returns to Missoula for his first full year as a Paddlehead. In his limited time last season, Seidel turned in a robust 7-2 record in ten starts.
#11 Conner Schultz: Conner enters year two as a professional ball player and his second season in Missoula. Schultz, a Pennsylvania native, spent his collegiate career in the Midwest splitting time between Butler and Iowa. Hopefully, Conner enjoys the Montana mountains over the Iowa cornfields...I know I do!
#16 Keaton Greenwalt: Mr. Greenwalt is back for another season in Missoula and off to a smashing start. Three home runs and eleven RBI for the Coloradan through seven games.
#18 Mitch Sparks: Sparks had the honor to start the home opener Tuesday evening. The Willis, Texas native is no stranger to big moments as he started game two of the Pioneer League Championship Series a year ago.
#22 Cameron Thompson: A career .336 hitter in 179 games for the Paddleheads. That'll do, Cam. That'll do.
#23 Liu Fuenmayor: Born in Venezuela, Fuenmayor appeared in 15 games for the Osprey from 2018-2019. Fuenmayor spent five seasons total in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization before returning to Missoula this summer. Fuenmayor was welcomed back to a nice ovation Tuesday night at the home opener!
#26: Mark Timmins: It's year number two for Mark Timmins in a Paddleheads uniform. Timmins pitched at Nebraska-Omaha, home of the NCAA College World Series. If you haven't been to the College World Series you need to move it to the top of your bucket list.
#27 John LaRossa: The New York native returns for his second summer in Missoula. LaRossa appeared in 15 games for the Paddleheads before suffering a season-ending injury. Here's to a healthy 2023, John!
#28 Cody Thompson: Did you know Cody Thompson is a former Grizzly? I mean, not a Montana Grizzly but he pitched for the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League in 2021. That counts for something right? He's got that Griz in him already!
#30 McClain O'Conner: O'Conner's third season in a Paddleheads uniform is off to a booming start. The dude already has 4 bombs in just 15 at bats. Not bad...
#55 Jayson Newman: Last but certainly not least, the defending Pioneer League MVP Jayson Newman. What else do I need to say? He's back looking to rake again!