The chase for 400 is on for Paden City baseball coach Brent Croasmun.
On Wednesday afternoon in the Wildcats' season-opener, Croasmun earned his 300th win as a head coach after Paden City defeated Hundred 16-1 in five innings.
The fanfare was quite contained considering temperatures were more conducive to ice fishing.
Didn't ask Croasmun if ice fishing was one of his hobbies, but did get the impression baseball rated high on the list of favorite activities.
This is the same individual who drove an hour and a half with classmates from West Liberty one night just to stand against the airport gate in Pittsburgh to welcome home the Pittsburgh Pirates after they defeated the Baltimore Orioles for the 1979 World Series title.
By that stage in his career, Croasmun was focusing on his studies and eventually became a student-teacher at Magnolia High School. When the spring season rolled around, Croasmun was introduced to Blue Eagles baseball coach Dave Cisar and Croasmun became part of the staff as a volunteer assistant.
The following year, Croasmun was a substitute teacher in Wetzel County and remained an assistant baseball coach at Magnolia. A friendship with Cisar developed and has remained intact since those early days out of college.
"As a high school athlete, Coach Cisar's teams always impressed me just with the intensity and discipline they played with," Croasmun said. "They had an overall skill and knowledge for the game."
Croasmun's professional path soon brought him back to his alma mater at Paden City where he took over the fast-pitch softball team for several years. His baseball mentality required that the girls wear full uniforms and caps.
"One of my biggest wins was against Bishop Donahue, which was the top Class A program around here," Croasmun said. "They had a pitcher who was undefeated . We played on our high school field and when we beat them it was a big time upset."
When the head baseball job became available, Croasmun jumped at the opportunity, and he hasn't vacated the position since.
"Years ago, baseball was my first love," Croasmun said. "But now that I also coach football here at Paden City I love both of them equally. When it's baseball season, I love baseball. When it's football season, I love football."
Of course, at Paden City enrollment runs in cycles. And currently, the Wildcats are anticipating a return to prosperity.
This year's baseball roster consists of 10 members, including six freshmen and three sophomores. The team was aware of Croasmun's approaching milestone when the season began, which consisted of two postponements.
"I've coached a lot of kids and really enjoyed all the players," Croasmun said.
Even though his father, Bud, introduced the Croasmun boys to baseball, it was Brent's younger brother, Bart, who initiated Brent's career path in coaching - starting with T-ball all the way through the high school level. Nearly 17 years separated Brent and Bart, and on occasion someone would mistake Bart for Brent's son.
"One of our biggest baseball wins was probably our first sectional championship game at Paden City when Bart was pitching as a sophomore against Weirton Madonna," Brent said. "That was a memorable year because we started the year 0-9 and we finished 14-16 after getting beat 5-3 in the regional final against Clarksburg Notre Dame.
"I was proud of those kids because of the way we started the season."
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org