The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball program recently added 12 players, including a local high school star, to the class that will begin play during the 2013 season this past week. These players added will help strengthen the program and will help towards the continuing improvement of the team under Head Coach Scott Malone and his coaching staff.
Malone is excited about the players coming in and the quality of class that his coaching staff, led by top assistant and recruiting coordinator Chris Ramirez, picked up in the fall signing period.
"We are excited about the character, versatility, and total value of this signing class," said head coach Scott Malone. "This group of players has quality and depth, and these guys have bought into the vision of Islander Baseball. They are excited about the role they will play in the future successes of this program.
"Once again, coach Ramirez has done an outstanding job of identifying and recruiting players that will keep this program moving in the right direction."
The Islanders program added eight high school players and four junior college competitors that will be looked towards in helping contiue the rise of the Islanders program.
"I am extremely excited about this early signing class," said Ramirez. "It is the largest and most well rounded group of early signees we have put together here at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
"We were able to directly meet the needs we targeted when we began putting this class together. Once again we were able to get into the larger recruiting markets in the state of Texas, as well as expand our recruiting network on a national and international level."
The new additions follow in alphabetical order:
INF • 5-9 • 175
Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal HS
Brett Burner is a middle infielder from All Saints Episcopal School in Fort Worth. During his junior year with the Saints he hit .506 with 18 doubles, five triples and two home runs while leading his team to a SPC Division II Championship. He earned the Hustle Award his freshman season, the Defensive Award his sophomore year and then both the Offensive and Defensive Award his junior year, as well as the Team MVP honor and awards for both leadership and love of the game. In addition to the production for his high school team, during the summer he played for the Fort Worth Cats and hit .4456 with 25 doubles and two triples.
Ramirez on Burner: "Brett is the typical dirt bag, old school player that every coach wants in their program. He has the ability to play middle infield and hit from the left side, which always adds value to that position on the field."
RHP • 6-1 • 180
Montgomery, Texas/Montgomery HS
Chris Cooper is a 6'1" right-handed pitcher from Montgomery High School in Montgomery, Texas. He helped the Bears to a 29-14 record last season and an appearance in the state semifinals while going 2-2 on the year in a relief role. He appeared in 19 games on the year, pitching 32.0 innings as the team made its way through the playoffs. Cooper also helped his team to an area championship and an appearance in the regional quarterfinals. In addition to playing for Montgomery during the school year, Cooper also played for Team Twelve during summer ball.Ramirez on Cooper: "Chris is an exciting sign for us because he already shows the ability to pitch with command and feel for three quality pitches. We are excited get Chris in an Islanders uniform as he continues to develop and get stronger."
RHP • 6-2 • 190
Coriscana, Texas/Navarro CC
Gage Curry is a junior college transfer from Navarro Junior College that went 9-1 a year ago, with a 2.37 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. He was named All-Region XIV and the Region XIV East Pitcher of the year while leading his team to the finals of the Region XIV/Southern District Championship. Prior to Navarro, Curry was a star at Corsicana High School. He was named the Golden Circle Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back years at Corsicana, where he went 4-4 with a 2.07 ERA in his senior season, and went 3-3 with a 1.99 ERA as a junior the year before. He was First Team All-District 16-4A as a utility player during his senior year, and at shortstop in his junior campaign.Ramirez on Curry: "Gage is a proven winner at one of the top junior college program in the country. He has the ability and competitiveness to step into our program and immediately impact our starting rotation."
RHP • 5-10 • 165
Bay City, Texas/Alvin CC
A.J. Flores signed with the Islanders out of Alvin Community College where he was a relief pitcher for the Dolphins. He went 2-0 with two saves in 23.1 innings pitched. Flores gave up 28 hits and 10 runs while striking out 19 and walking 19 for a 3.86 ERA. Flores played at Bay City High School in Bay City, Texas, going 10-5 with a 2.46 ERA for the Blackcats. He also hit .318 with 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 36 RBI while stealing 15 bases.Ramirez on Flores: "A.J. has a very live arm with a low 90's fastball and a true strike out slider. He will step in and immediately strengthen our pitching staff, especially in a late relief and closer role."
OF • 5-9 • 170
Portland, Texas/Gregory Portland HS
Travis Geiser is an outfielder from Gregory Portland High School just over the bridge from Corpus Christi. The incoming freshman has had a successful career for the Wildcats, hitting .374 as a senior, including at a .533 clip in the playoffs. He was selected as all-district at second base and was a Third Team All – South Texas honoree at pitcher. In summer ball, Geiser has played with the South Texas Sliders. In addition to baseball career, Geiser has played football for the Wildcats and was a second team all-district selection at cornerback following his junior campaign.Ramirez on Geiser: "Travis comes from right here in our back yard at Gregory Portland High School. He is probably the top hitter in the Corpus Christi area in the years' senior class and will be a great addition to our program."
C • 5-11 • 190
Georgetown, Texas/Georgetown HS
Lukas Hermanson is a 5'11" catcher from Georgetown High School. He helped lead his team to a 30-6-1 record during his junior year, including a new school record for consecutive wins. Hermanson hit .325 for the Eagles on the way to the third straight bi-district championship and the best fielding season in school history. His summer ball team, the Austin Wings Black team won back-to-back national championships in 2011-12.Ramirez on Hermanson: "Lukas is a strong-bodied catcher that has above average arm strength at that position. He already has a good understanding of how to play the game; every time you would look up he found his way on base."
LHP • 6-2 • 190
Weatherford, Texas/Weatherford HS
Grayson Huffman is a 6'2" left-handed pitcher from Weatherford High School. A former teammate of current Islander Jacob Dorris, Huffman helped his team to an appearance in the area finals of the UIL playoffs and a 31-6 record while finishing the year with a 3.57 ERA over 15.2 innings pitched. Huffman also occasionally hit for the Kangaroos, putting up a batting average of .333 during his sophomore season. During the summer, Huffman spent his time playing for the Fort Worth Cats.Ramirez on Huffman: "Grayson is a very athletic left-handed pitcher with a live arm and lot of upside. With us graduating the majority of our left-handed pitchers, Grayson will have every opportunity to pitch in a big role early in his career."
RHP • 6-1 • 180
Terrell, Texas/Royse City HS
Jared Jordan is a 6'2" right-handed pitcher from Terrell, Texas who plays for Royse City High School. During his junior season, Jordan earned a 1.07 ERA while striking out 77 batters while being named first team all-district at pitcher. He also earned second team all-district as a pitcher following his sophomore season. In addition to his exploits on the mound, Jordan hit .316 with four doubles, one triple and one home run. During summer ball, Jordan plays for the DBATS Mustangs Randle.Ramirez on Jordan: "Jared is a perfect fit for what we look for in a high school pitcher. He already has the ability to pitch with his fastball and has a lot of upside in his frame. Jared will be exciting to watch develop within our program."
RHP • 6-2 • 205
Ganado, Texas/Wharton CC
Glenn Sparkman is a 6'2"right-handed pitcher from Wharton Community College and is originally from Ganado, Texas. For Wharton, Sparkman pitched 14.2 innings as the primary closer on the team, picking up a team-high five saves and a 3.34 ERA. Sparkman had a nearly 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and was also earned a win during the season.Ramirez on Sparkman: "Glenn is a physical right-handed pitcher with a live fastball in the low 90's. He will be the No. 1 pitcher at Wharton Community College this spring should be able to step into our pitching staff and solidify the top of our rotation."
OF/LHP • 6-1 • 195
Omaha, Neb./Iowa Western CC
Tyler Ware is a 6'1" outfielder and left-handed pitcher from Iowa Western Community College, and originally played high school baseball in Omaha, Neb. for Millard West High School. As a freshman for Iowa Western, Ware pitched 43.0 innings while giving up 14 earned runs for a 2.93 ERA. The freshman notched a 2-to-1 K/BB ratio after striking out 28 and walking just 14 batters. He was named Second Team All-State following his senior season in school.Ramirez on Ware:
"Tyler is one of the top overall athletes we have brought into the Islanders Baseball program. He has all the tools to be an impact player in our conference and in the state. He will also be able to impact the back of our bullpen as a power arm from the left side."
INF/RHP • 6-2 • 195
Benbrook, Texas/Western Hills HS
Matt Wagner is a 6'2" infielder and right-handed pitcher from Western Hills High School in Benbrook, Texas. Wagner was named First Team All-District 6-4A as an infielder following his junior campaign. His team advanced to the bi-district round of the playoffs after leading the 4A Region I District 6 standings. He was one of three new Islanders to play summer ball for the Fort Worth Cats.Ramirez on Wagner: "Matt is a true two-way player. He is a big, physical player that has the ability to be a power hitter and a power pitcher in our program. Matt has a lot of upside and it will be fun to watch him develop here as an Islander."
INF • 6-0 • 185
Kelowna, British Columbia/Kelowna HS
Hailing from north of the border, Dawson Yates is a 6'0" infielder from Kelowna, British Columbia in Canada. The Canadian comes to The Island after helping his British Columbia team to a finalist appearance in the Canada Cup. During the tournament, Yates hit .414 with three doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI to lead the way. In the British Columbia Premier Baseball League he finished with a .299 batting average and 20 RBI for the Okanagan Athletics while also going 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA on the mound in limited action.Ramirez on Yates: "Dawson is one of the most exciting high school pure hitters that I saw in this years' recruiting class. His the ability to hit for power from the left side is a perfect fit in our program."