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Potosi and Cassville to form emergency co-op for baseball
2000 PHS grad Tony Leibfried to lead co-op, replacing Ron Kading
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CASSVILLE — Activities directors in the Six Rivers West conference voted unanimously last Wednesday evening to accept a proposal from Potosi and Cassville, allowing the schools to form an emergency co-op baseball program for the upcoming spring season.

While the principals and district administrators within the conference will also vote on the issue in the next couple of weeks, the recent approval by both school boards, as well as the activities directors within the conference, is enough to get the ball rolling.

With the approval of the conference ADs, the Potosi/Cassville co-op will participate in the Six Rivers Conference this spring, but because the deadline to apply for WIAA approval was not met in time, the Potosi/Cassville co-op is not eligible for postseason tournament play this spring.

The two schools will begin the application process in March to receive approval by the WIAA for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, which if approved will then make them eligible for the WIAA postseason tournament during those two seasons.

According to Cassville Activities Director Chad Infield, there was no resistance from either of the two schools’ parents or players, when it came to missing out on this year’s postseason tournament.

“Tony Leibfried had met with the kids from Potosi and talked to them about it and got their feedback,” said Infield. “They were all OK with missing the tournament this year. He actually had a parent meeting with the Potosi kids and their parents that are out for baseball, and talked to them about it. There was no resistance that way, and no one had an issue with it. It all worked out good.”

Leibfried, who is a physical education instructor and media specialist at Cassville, will be hired by the Potosi School District to coach the varsity co-op team this season. No JV or assistant coaches have been named as of yet.

Leibfried is a 2000 graduate of Potosi High School and former player of longtime Chieftain coach Ron Kading, who retired at the end of last season after 41 years as Potosi’s baseball coach 21 conference titles, four regional titles, five trips to state, one state title and an overall record of 562–304.

Leibfried has 10 years of coaching experience under his belt, having led the varsity baseball team at Lancaster High School for seven seasons, before coaching the last three at Cassville.

Leibfried held a meeting in November to gauge how many student/athletes from Cassville had interest in going out for baseball this spring.

A total of 11 student–athletes showed up for that meeting, one of which had an injury that would keep him out for the entire season, along with a handful of freshmen who were then on the fence.

That’s when Cassville approached Potosi about an emergency co-op for the coming spring, knowing full well the deadline to apply for WIAA approval had already passed.

The idea was first voted on and approved by both school boards, and most recently by the conference AD’s.

Combined, the two schools expect to have anywhere from 22–30 kids out for baseball in all four grades combined, with about eight coming from Cassville. This will allow for separate JV and varsity rosters, something the Cassville baseball program has never had.

Though the 2019 schedule is still in the works, it is expected that most of the home games will be played at Potosi, with a handful being played at Cassville. All practices will be held at the Potosi baseball field.

With the approval of the recent baseball co-op, Potosi and Cassville now hold co-ops in football, girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ track & field and now baseball. Cassville also has a wrestling co-op with River Ridge.

Cassville did have a six-year co-op with River Ridge in softball from 2012 to 2017, but last season did not have anyone from Cassville go out for the team.

The only sports in which Cassville does not currently co-op with another school are in volleyball, cross country and boys’ basketball.