Cleveland State Baseball Coach Mike Policastro announced the Cougars’ recruiting class for 2012 -2013. Policastro commented, “Overall we are very pleased with this year’s recruiting class. We feel like we have addressed some needs, as well as strengthened our overall roster.”
The Cougars will return four position starters from last year, as well as five pitchers who saw time
throughout the year.
Highlighting the class will be centerfielder Zach Janes from perennial power Louisville Male High School in Kentucky. “Zach is an outfielder with great range who runs a 6.5 60 and can be a top of the order hitter who stole 35 bases this past season,” stated Policastro.
Outfielder Cory Collum from Cartersville High School in Georgia is a 2011 draft pick of the Washington Nationals. “Cory is an athletic player who has all of the physical tools and can
play any outfield position, as well as pitch.”
Catcher Austin Smith from Halls High School in Knoxville was an All-District and All-State player this past season. Policastro said, “Smith possesses an outstanding arm, as well as a solid bat and will give the Cougars much needed depth behind the plate.”
Freshman Keith Buckhault from Eastside High School in Covington, Ga., will give the Cougars added offense. “Keith is a versatile player who hit .492, with 8 home runs and 43 RBIs,” the coach said.
The Cougars added quality arms to their pitching staff that include sophomore Andre Wilson from Conyers, Ga., who is transferring from Georgia Perimeter College where he had a 1.54 era working out of the Jaguar bullpen this past season. Policastro said, “Andre has an electric arm that will have a chance to pitch on the weekend.”
Freshman lefthander Johnathan Maldanado from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., was 5-0 with a .45 era. The coach said, "The lefty throws in the mid 80’s with a good breaking ball and changeup.”
Freshman Tregg Scheer from Charlestown High School in Georgetown, Ind., struck out 95 hitters in 57 innings pitched while going 8-4. “Tregg has an outstanding breaking ball that buckles hitter’s knees,” Policastro said.
Josh Morgan from Lafayette High School will transfer in from Oglethorpe University. “Josh can run his fastball up in to 87-88 mph with an effective breaking ball and changeup,” Policastro said.
Justin Willis is a left-handed pitcher from Gibbs High School in Knoxville, who signed at East Tennessee State University out of high school and is coming off shoulder surgery. “Justin
continues to make progress in his rehabilitation and when he is healthy, we anticipate him being
in the mix for the spring season.”
This year’s recruiting class will have a number of area players, including All-District third baseman Chris Caffrey who hit .437 with 30 RBIs and Pitcher of the year Bobby Towne who was 10-1 with a .89 earned run average for Walker Valley High School, who finished third in the TSSAA State Tournament. Also joining the Cougars will be Bradley County’s Jordan Whitmire, the 6’5" righty was 6-3 this past season with a 1.41 era.
The Chattanooga area will be represented with infielder Dalton Rogers who hit.352, with 36 RBIs, right-handed pitcher Hadyn Baily who was 7-2 with a 2.33 era and corner infielder Jake Leffew from Soddy Daisy, as well as McCallie High School’s Evan Speicher and Chase Marsh, both infielders who will strengthen the Cougars middle infield.
Other area players previously signed include Sequatchie County right-handed pitcher Keegan Fredrick and South Pittsburg lefthander Matthew Allen and brother infielder Michael Allen, and catcher Ryan Longwith from East Hamilton High School.