MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Next season, Paul McIntosh figures to become West Virginia’s everyday catcher.
In the meantime, with senior Ivan Gonzalez entrenched behind the plate, McIntosh is serving as DH and occasionally crashing into walls.
His crunching catch at Texas on April 27 saved at least two crucial runs in a 9-8 victory. It also left McIntosh on the unofficial DL with a tender shoulder. The sophomore missed five games over 13 days as trainers made sure West Virginia’s strongest hitter could regain his pop.
“He’s a big, intimidating presence in the middle of the order who can hit the ball out of the ballpark,” said Mountaineers right fielder Darius Hill. “His BP is fun to watch.”
McIntosh is tied with Marques Inman for the team lead with nine homers while slugging .503. (He jacked 16 home runs with 48 RBIs for Motlow State Community College last year.) Teammates project McIntosh could explode next season with more exposure to Big 12 pitching.
“That guy’s got a stick,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve never seen a guy cap balls like he does and still hit home runs. We joke about it, because there has probably been one ball that he’s barreled up and it went 460 feet.”
McIntosh began experimenting in the outfield last fall when Braden Zarbnisky was ruled out with an offseason injury. The muscular kid who played football at Dade Christian High in Miami showed promise with reps.
The catch he made in Austin followed a pregame workout where he misread a drive to the warning track. Lo and behold, the game presented almost an identical chance.
“You look back at the season and every play like that matters,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said. “If we lose one more game, who knows, maybe we’re not hosting.”