Transplanted slugger Joost good fit at OC

Transplanted slugger Joost good fit at OC
Transplanted slugger Joost good fit at OC

Obion Central’s Caleb Joost looks in for a sign from head coach Russ Davis.
While Caleb Joost may not have been the missing piece to Obion County Central’s baseball puzzle, he has proven to be a good fit.
Joost, who transferred to OCCHS after playing three seasons at Westview, has led the Rebels in essentially every offensive statistic this spring after enrolling at Central last fall and gaining a hardship waiver for immediate eligibility.
And though he hasn’t totally reversed OC’s team fortunes of the last few years, he says his decision to play his senior season at Troy was the best for him after his family became involved in litigation against the Weakley County School System due to mold allegedly discovered at WHS that he said led to fungal infections that have depleted his immune system.
“I like it here; the guys have been real accepting of me,” Joost claimed recently. “I thought this was the best place for me when I knew I’d have to play somewhere other than Westview my senior season.
“It’s worked out for the best. I’ve made a lot of new friends here and I’ve had success playing, too.”
Joost talked little about the specifics of his family’s aforementioned pending lawsuit against the WCSS, choosing instead to focus on what he said has been a positive experience — both academically and athletically — at Obion Central in Troy.
“I actually considered Union City — and thought a little bit about Dyer County — but decided this would be the best place for me,” said Joost, who said he carries a 3.74 grade point average in the classroom. “I actually went to church with a couple of guys who played here last year, and they talked favorably about the program.
“I looked at the short porch for lefthanders, and thought I had a good chance to hit well here. I took some hitting lessons in the fall from (Union City assistant coach Jeremy Maddox) and he fixed a few things that really have helped me with both my average and power numbers.”
Though he was sitting out two games for being ejected for what was termed as malicious contact with a catcher during a homeplate collision at the time of this interview, Joost was hitting .514 with four home runs, 22 RBI and a slugging percentage of .814 — all team highs.
He said he hit .370 with five homers and 21 runs batted in as a junior at Westview
And while proud of his individual numbers, he laments the Rebels’ lack of team success as they’ve struggled to a fourth straight subpar season and 8-19 mark heading into today’s District 13AA Tournament play-in game at Gibson County High School.
“I really think we’ve been just a couple of plays from winning a lot of those games, and that’s disappointing,” Joost said. “I think a lot of it is confidence because of what’s happened in the past. I really believe we can play with anybody in our district, though, and hope to prove that in the district tournament.”
OCCHS head coach Russ Davis says Joost was easily accepted in the Rebel baseball family and believes he has the necessary skills to continue on to the next level.
That is indeed a goal of the slugging first baseman/designated hitter, who plans on playing summer ball and attending multiple showcases once the prep season ends.
“His dad told me he felt at home here within the first three weeks,” Davis claimed of Joost’s arrival. “I know there was a cloud surrounding him with the mold issue and his health, and I’m sure he went through a lot emotionally, as well as with his health. We made no special provisions for him, though. He’s earned everything he’s gotten here.
“He’s one of the purest hitters I’ve ever seen. He self-corrects a lot of his flaws, and while maybe not the most talented, he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had. He has a desire to play on the next level and, with his determination and work ethic, I have no doubt that’s a realistic goal.”
Joost says he’s maintained contact with several Westview players since leaving the school and encountered no ill will from them in two regular season meetings between the Chargers and Rebels.
“I don’t have any hard feelings toward anybody at Westview,” he said, before telling that he’d gone 4-for-7 with two home runs and three RBI in those games against his former club this spring. “I miss a few of my friends, but I’ve made good friends here and maybe even more of them.
“One of the neat things, though, was that I hit a home run in the one of the games we played against them earlier, and one of my good friends over there, Bryant Fisher said, ‘Man I wish you were playing for us.’”
Obion Central — on the other hand — is glad he doesn’t.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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