Baseball Signs 12 During Early Signing Period
Nov. 13, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball program signed 12 players to National Letters-of-Intent during the early sigining period, head coach Andy Lopez announced on Thursday. The class includes eight pitchers, two infielders, a catcher and an outfielder from Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico.
'This is a really strong class,' Lopez said. 'We received a number of commitments early, which allowed us to wrap up the process before scheduled. I believe, with this class, we've continued to build on the foundation we started two years ago of bringing in the type of athletes we need to get back to Omaha. Although there is no headliner like Delmon Young (A 2002 signee with Arizona and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 MLB amateur draft), all the guys who signed with us are very good and will make an impact here in Tucson.'
Among the eight pitchers who inked their names on Thursday, six are left-handers. Four of the six southpaws - Matt Baugh, Eric Berger, David Coulon and Gregory Duke - hail from California, and the other two - Robbie Nickols and Ashton Shewey - from Arizona.
Baugh, a 6-foot-2 lefty from Antioch, Calif., led Deer Valley High School to the North Coast Section East Bay title in 2003, pitching six-plus innings of three-hit ball in the championship game win over Clayton Valley. He also pitched at the 2003 Area Code games in Long Beach Calif., and in the California North/South Series, as well. Baugh is the son of Lorie and Eric Baugh and will play his senior season for Dennis Luquet.
Berger, a 6-foot-2-southpaw pitcher/outfielder from Roseville, Calif., was member of the 2003 USA Junior National Team that took home the silver medal at the Pan Am Cup in the Netherlands last summer and also pitched at the 2003 Area Code Games. Berger is the son of Rich Berger and Sandy and Ron Gather and plays for coach Lance Fussett at Woodcreek High School
Coulon, a 6-foot lefty pitcher/outfielder from Hanford, Calif., was named by Baseball America as having the second-best control and the fifth-best slider and change up at the 2003 Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. He is the son of Karen and Danny Coulon and plays for coach Ryan Champlain at Hanford High School.
Duke, a 6-foot-3 southpaw from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., did not pitch his junior season, but made an impression at the 2003 Area Code Games. He will return to the mound in the spring for his senior year after pitching for the Angels Elite Team this fall. Duke is the son of Debbie and Kevin Duke and plays for coach Sean Sullivan at Rancho Cucamonga High School.
Nickols, a local Tucson product out of Sabino High School, was rated as the ninth-best prospect in the state and helped lead the Sabercats to the 5A conference championship and to the semifinals of the state championship in 2003. Nickols is the son of Joe and Marion Nickols and plays for coach Bob O'Donnell.
Shewey, from Payson, Ariz., garnered AzBCA second-team all-state recognition for class 3A in 2003 for Payson High School. He is the son of Mark and Lori Shewey and plays for coach Ted Pettet at Payson High School.
The two right-handers that signed with the Wildcats include one from Texas - Drew Bishop - and one from Arizona - Lee Taylor.
Bishop was named second-team all-state for 5A schools as a junior by the Texas Sports Writers Association. He went 12-2 with 121 strikeouts in 90 innings as a starter in 2003, helping Rockwall High School to a co-championship in District 9-5A. He is the son of Cathie and Randy Bishop and plays for coach Randy Talley at Rockwall.
Taylor is another local player to sign with the Wildcats. Hailing from Marana, he will pitch his senior season at Mountain View High School for coach Blair Hillig before heading across town to Arizona. He is the son of Susan and Steve Taylor.
Among the position players that signed NLIs on Thursday are pair of infielders - Bryan Kervin and Jason Seefeld.
Kervin, a 5-foot-10 shortstop out of Grapevine, Texas, was named all-District 5-5A as a junior in 2003. Texas Baseball News rated him as the No. 25 player in the state for 2004. He is the son of Rick and Becky Kervin and plays for coach Tim McQuen at Grapevine High School.
Seefeld, from neighboring Clovis, N.M., is an infielder that can play shortstop or third and is ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the state of New Mexico. Seefeld played at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., last summer. He is the son of Margaret and Larry Seefeld and plays for coach Shane Shallenberger at Clovis High School.
Arizona's lone catching and outfield recruits are Tucson University High School backstop Brett Sheppard and Chaparral High School outfielder Ryan Weimar.
Weimar was named all-state for 4A schools by the AzBCA as a junior last season. Sheppard is the son of Patricia and Don Sheppard and plays for coach John Roberston. Weimar is the son of Jan and Rick Weimar and plays for coach Jerry Dawson.
2003 Arizona Baseball Early Signing Period Recruiting ClassName Pos. Hometown/High SchoolMatt Baugh LHP Antioch, Calif./Deer ValleyEric Berger LHP/OF Roseville, Calif./WoodcreekDrew Bishop RHP Rockwall, Texas/RockwallDavid Coulon LHP/OF Hanford, Calif./HanfordGregory Duke RHP Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho CucamongaBryan Kervin INF Grapevine, Texas/GrapevineRobbie Nickols LHP Tucson, Ariz./SabinoJason Seefeld INF Clovis, Calif./ClovisBrett Sheppard C Tucson, Ariz./UniversityAshton Shewey LHP Payson, Ariz./PaysonLee Taylor RHP Marana, Ariz./Mountain ViewRyan Weimar OF Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral