BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Looking to continue to add quality depth for the future, the WKU baseball team added 14 signees for the 2014 baseball season, Hilltopper head coach Matt Myers announced on Monday. The class spans from seven different states and features a pair of top-500 players in the nation according to Perfect Game USA.
“I am extremely excited about this signing class,” WKU head coach Matt Myers said. “We filled some needs with quality talent and outstanding young men of high character. What intrigues me the most about this class is the energy level each young man brings and their excitement level about getting the opportunity to become a Hilltopper. They are all about WKU and I can’t wait for our fans to see what these guys can do on the field and the way in which they will represent WKU baseball off the field.
“We were able to go out and find three very solid junior college players, to go along with some excellent high school talent. Coach [Blake] Allen, Coach [Brendan] Dougherty and Coach [Jeff] Mercer did a fantastic job of assessing our needs and going out and fulfilling those needs at the highest level.”
Myers and his staff put together a 2014 class that features six players from the state of Kentucky, including left-handed hitting catcher Tanner Norton from Bishop Brossart High School, who is ranked as the top catcher in the state of Kentucky by Perfect Game USA. Norton joins Oak Ridge, Tenn., right-handed pitcher and shortstop Jordan Lane as two of the Hilltopper signees to be highly ranked by the recruiting site. Lane, who will enter his senior season at Oak Ridge High School, was named a Perfect Game USA Honorable Mention All-American.
The 2014 class will see three student-athletes come from the junior college ranks, while the other 11 members of the class will be 2013 high school graduates. Over Myers’ last two signing classes since being announced as WKU’s head coach, 21 signees have come straight from the high school ranks. Myers has also made it a point to recruit local talent, as 14 members of the 2013 and 2014 signing classes hail from the state of Kentucky.
Myers and the Hilltoppers will open the 2013 season at Nick Denes Field on February 15 against Bowling Green State. WKU’s first six games of the season will all be at home, as the Hilltoppers host Bowling Green State for three, then welcome in Central Michigan the following weekend.
Below is information on each 2014 WKU signee, with a quote from Myers attached to each. A .PDF version of the information is attached to this e-mail.
2014 WKU Baseball Signing Class
1. Brandon Allen – 6’3 190 | R/R | RHP | Wabash Valley CC | Louisville, Ky.
BIO: 8-0 as a freshman at Wabash Community College...GRAC All –Conference selection...coached by Rob Fournier at Wabash Valley CC...High School teammate of current Topper, Ryan Messex.
Myers on Allen: “Brandon is one of two junior college pitchers in this class. He is the number one pitcher at Wabash Valley, one of the best junior college programs in the country. Brandon has a big-time arm with a fastball at 90-92, a plus-slider, change-up and great command. Brandon is a great competitor with a great work ethic. We look for Brandon to compete in the weekend rotation and be an impact guy right away.”
2. Braxton Brinkley | 5’10 170 | R/R | IF | Pope John Paul HS | Hendersonville, Tenn.
BIO: One of the top rated shortstops in the state of Tennessee...Played summer baseball for Legends Baseball...Coached at Pope John Paul by Michael Brown... Named First Team All-County in 2012...Hit .471 in conference play and .375 overall last season with nine doubles...Named a 2012 All-State selection.
Myers on Brinkley: “We filled an infield need with Braxton. He is a first class kid who plays the game the right way, which is fast and hard. A shortstop by trade, but is advanced in his defense that he can play all three infield positions. He has a good arm, good hands and is instinctive. He is a table-setter type of hitter that fits perfect in our offense.”
3. Cody Coll | 6’2 200 | R/R | RHP | Neuqua Valley HS | Naperville, Ill.
BIO: Rated as a high follow by Perfect Game USA...Named an Under Armour Pre-Season All-American...Helped Neuqua Valley to a 30-8 record in 2012...Plays in the summer with the Illinois Sparks.
Myers on Coll: “Cody is another pitcher with a three to four-pitch mix that has great command. He may have some of the best pitchability as he can throw any pitch at any time. Cody is a good student with a good work ethic. We expect Cody to compete for innings right away as a freshman.”
4. Phil Diedrick | 6’1 210 | L/R | OF | Connors State CC | Ajax, Ontario
BIO: 2012 Region 2 All-Tournament selection at Connors State Community College...Drafted out of high school in the 45th round by the Toronto Blue Jays...Member of Team Canada Junior National Team in 2009 and 2010...Played summer baseball with the prestigious Ontario Blue Jays organization coached by Dan Bliewas.
Myers on Diedrick: “Phil is a former teammate of current Hilltoppers Scott Wilcox and Matthew Paculan. Phil has tremendous power and bat speed from the left side and can run for a physical kid. He gives us an immediate punch in the middle of the lineup. Phil can play both corner outfield positions and has a very good arm. He is a very good student and I look for him to contribute right away.”
5. Clint Hardy | 6’2 190 | R/R | IF/RHP | Greenbriar HS | Evans, Ga.
BIO: Named a 2012 Underclassman Honorable Mention by Perfect GameUSA...Played summer baseball for Team Georgia Baseball coached by Chris McRaney...Coached in high school is Chris Wilkins...Standout wide receiver at Greenbriar.
Myers on Hardy: “Another athletic kid who can play both infield, outfield and pitch for us. Clint has played a lot at third base, but can also play a great outfield and pitch. At 6-2, Clint has good power and a flat stroke and can run for his size. A tough kid who played football in high school, we are looking forward to Clint making an impact here on the Hill.”
6. Sam Higgs | 6’0 180 | R/R | RHP | Henderson County HS | Henderson, Ky.
BIO: In 2012, helped Henderson County make the Kentucky High School State Baseball Tournament...Second Team All-State selection in 2012...Also named all-district and all-region his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons...Career strikeout and wins holder for Henderson County High School...Played summer baseball for the Evansville Razorbacks coached by Jeremy Johnson...Coached at Henderson County by Nathan Isenberg.
Myers on Higgs: “Sam is a tough competitor, who loves to win. He has great command of three pitches and his fastball sits 87-89, with great command. He is a former high school teammate of current Topper, Jordan Cessna. Sam is another local kid that we feel will help immediately in our program, and is also a great student.”
7. Jordan Lane | 6’2 175 | R/R | RHP/SS | Oak Ridge HS | Oak Ridge, Tenn.
BIO: Ranked as one of the top 500 players in the country by Perfect Game USA...Ranked as a top-20 player in the state of Tennessee by Perfect Game USA...Rated as 160th-best right-handed pitcher in the country by Perfect Game USA...Named all-district and all-region his sophomore and junior seasons....Named a Perfect Game USA All-American honorable mention...Coached at Oak Ridge by Tom Froning...Played summer ball for the Knoxville Thunder coached by Brad Beck.
Myers on Lane: “The first time we saw Jordan we knew right away how good he was. Jordan is a great student and has a passion to be good and win. His athleticism allows him to have the potential to be a great two-way guy for us. He has a great demeanor and presence on the mound. He attacks the strike zone with three pitches including a fastball 88-91 with sink. We think the sky is the limit for Jordan and could be an impact guy from day one.”
8. Sam Melchior | 6’0 170 | R/R | RHP | St. Xavier HS | Louisville, Ky.
BIO: Named all-district, all-region and honorable mention all-state in 2012...Selected to play in the East-West All-Star Game...Finished his junior season with a 1.02 ERA, going 9-1 on the year...Helped lead St. Xavier to the Kentucky State Baseball Tournament in 2012...Played summer ball with Phenom Baseball coached by Mike Clark...Coached at St. Xavier by Andy Porta.
Myers on Melchior: “Sam is another great player from the St. Xavier program in Louisville. Sam reminds me of Ross Hammonds, a low three quarter arm angle with run and sink and has very good breaking stuff. He creates a lot headaches for hitters from where he throws from, and can be very successful in Nick Denes Field.”
9. Paul Murray | 5’11 180 | R/R | IF/OF | Junipero Serra HS | San Bruno, Calif.
BIO: Rated as a top 1000 player according to Perfect Game USA...Coached by Craig Gianinno at Serra High School...Played summer ball with California Club Baseball...Named WCAL First Team All-League...Hit .423 in league play and .381 overall in his junior season in 2012.
Myers on Murray: “Paul is a physical and athletic kid in this class. From San Francisco, he plays the game extremely hard, and has a motor that never stops. Paul has a very good approach with a combination of bat speed and power. He knows how to play the game and is relentless in his work ethic. Paul can play both infield and outfield and gives us options when putting a lineup out there.”
10. Tanner Norton | 6’1 200 | L/R | Catcher | Bishop Brossart HS | Mountain View, Ky.
BIO: Ranked as one of top 500 players in the country by Perfect Game USA...Ranked as the top high school catcher and eighth-best overall prospect in the state of Kentucky by Perfect Game USA...Helped Bishop Brossart to a 2012 state runner-up finish...Coached at Bishop Brossart by Ron Verst...Hit .437 with five home runs and 32 RBI in 2012...Named first team all-region and honorable mention all-state in 2012...Selected to play on the 2012 Kentucky All-Star Team...Member of the East Coast Pro Showcase Team....Played summer baseball for the Indiana Pony Express coached by Mike Farrell and Jon Richardson.
Myers on Norton: “Tanner is a very hard worker and a leader, a player that I expect to make an immediate impact in our program. He has an advanced approach at the plate with big time power from the left side and can be a middle of the order type of guy. As a catcher I think Tanner has all the tools to be a high profile catcher and make our pitching staff better.”
11. Harrison Scanlon | 6’5 215 | L/R | OF | DuPont Manual HS | Louisville, Ky.
BIO: Coached at Manual High School by Josh Wolf...Played summer ball for the Louisville Panthers...Named all-district, all-region and region player of the year nominee as a junior.
Myers on Scanlon: “Harry reminds me of Wade Gaynor, only left-handed, He’s 6-4 and has a great swing with a very good approach. For a big guy, Harry is very athletic and can play both outfield and infield positions. He has a great desire to be good and to work at it, and I think he can be a great leader in his tenure on the hill”
12. Bryan Stevens | 5’9 175 | L/L | LHP | Kellogg CC | Portage, Mich.
BIO: Named all-conference as a freshman at Kellogg Community College....Led all Division II junior colleges with a 0.85 ERA...Pitched in 16 games, striking out 39 over 32.0 innings pitched...Named all-region, all-district and all-conferences his senior season in high school...Went 7-1 with a 0.90 ERA his senior season.
Myers on Stevens: “The other junior college pitcher in this class, Bryan plays at Kellogg Community College. Bryan led the country last year in era and can start or close for us next season. He is a three-pitch guy that can run his fastball up to 91 with swing and miss stuff. He loves to compete and wants the ball. We look for Bryan to make an immediate impact with our staff from day one.”
13. Ryan Thurston | 6’2 165 | L/L | LHP | Madison HS | Madison, Ind.
BIO: Played summer baseball for the Cincinnati Flames...Coached at Madison High School by Shannon Barger...Went 7-5 with a 2.88 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 2012, and was a perfect 7-0 with a 2.18 ERA during the summer baseball season...Named 2011 and 2012 First Team Hoosier Hills All-Conference.
Myers on Thurston: “Ryan is a left-handed pitcher with a great pick-off move. Another three-pitch guy that has great command and a plus breaking ball. Ryan is a great competitor and student that wants to be highly successful. We look for Ryan to make his presence known from day one on the mound.”
14. Hunter Wood | 6’1 205 | S/R | C/OF | Bullitt East HS | Mt. Washington, Ky.
BIO: Named 2012 all-state honorable mention and was selected to the the Kentucky Junior East-West All-Star Team...Named 2012 all-region and all-district, while also earning academic all-state...Hit .400 with six home runs, 10 doubles seven triples and 37 RBI in 2012...Plays for Jeff Bowles at Bullitt East High School...Played summer ball for Louisville Baseball Club under head coach Corey Alphin.
Myers on Wood: “Hunter is a switch hitter that is physical and has as good of an approach as we saw all summer and year. I think he has the chance to make an impact offensively from day one. Hunter is another athletic player that has the ability to catch and go to the outfield. He has a great work ethic and wants to be successful, and I think will have a big impact in our program.”