The Charlotte 49ers baseball staff has added eight players in the early commitment period to join the team for the 2014 season, when the program returns to Conference USA play.
Pitchers Brett Bond, Matt Davis and Eric Eason, infielders Zach Jarrett and T.J. Nichting, and two-way players Jeremy Schellhorn, Logan Sherer and Brandon Vogler have all committed to Charlotte to wear Niner Green in 2014.
"We had a solid early signing period and were able to sign players who have a chance to develop in our system," said Loren Hibbs, who enters 2013 at 21 seasons in charge of the program. "This class is more physical than some of our recent recruiting classes and has a chance to make our program better as we transition to Conference USA in 2014. We look forward to their continued development over the spring and summer."
Bond is a left-hander who joins the 49ers after a junior college career at Barton Community College, where he posted a 6-3 mark this past spring in 51.2 innings, with 32 strikeouts and 22 walks and a 5.23 earned run average. Barton is the home of former Niners Jamie Rusco, Jason Stanford, Matt Savage, Derek McDaid and Brian Scafe.
The right-handed Davis was the closer for Ashley High in Wilmington and pitched in the State Games of North Carolina this summer. He struck out 62 hitters and posted a 3-0 mark this past spring as a junior for Ashley. In 40.1 innings pitched, he registered a 2.08 earned run average. He also played for the Dirtbags summer team for Andy Partin. He is rated as a national "high follow" by Perfect Game Crosschecker.
His Ashley High teammate Eric Eason is a left-hander who also played for head coach Brian Stewart and has committed to Charlotte. On the mound, he posted a 2-0 record, with 20 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched. Offensively, he stole 15 bases and scored 14 runs after collecting 18 hits, seven of them doubles, when handling a bat this past spring.
Jarrett played third base for the Hickory High Red Tornadoes for coach David Craft, and was a prep teammate of current 49er Tyler Barnette. He also was a participant in the State Games after an All-Northwestern Conference season and a second-round appearance in the state playoffs. He posted 15 RBI in 62 plate appearances with a .355 batting average. He was also rated as a national "high follow" by Perfect Game Crosschecker. A two-sport star at Hickory, Jarrett was a member of the varsity basketball team which finished as the state runners-up in the 3A classification.
Nichting played for Badin High and head coach and former 49er star Brion Treadway. He is a middle infielder who earned Under Armour Underclass All-America Honorable Mention this past season after hitting .470 with 13 doubles and 22 RBI, with eight stolen bases in his junior campaign. Also rated as a national "high follow" by Perfect Game Crosschecker, the Hamilton, Ohio native was a member of the West Side Little League team which made it all the way to U.S. pool play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
Schellhorn is a right handed pitcher and first baseman who hails from Matthews, N.C. and earned a 2012 state championship at Weddington High for head coach Travis Poole. He was a Perfect Game Underclass All-America Honorable Mention, and a two-time All-State and All-Conference selection. Another national "high follow" by Perfect Game Crosschecker, he played for the South Charlotte Panthers summer ball squad, where current 49ers Corey Roberts, Shane Basen, Jordan Hudson, Corbin Shive and Brett Lang have competed.
Sherer played third and pitched from the right side for East Mecklenburg High and coach Clint Koppe. He is a two-time All-Southwestern Conference performer with his senior season left to compete. He has posted back-to-back seasons of hitting .350 or better, and with four homers in each of his previous two campaigns, he has a slugging percentage of .620 or better from 2001 to 2012. On the mound, he posted a 1.51 ERA and a 4-3 record in eight starts in his junior season. He struck out 47 and walked only 10 in 41.2 innings pitched for the Eagles. Sherer was also a member of the South Charlotte Panthers. He was rated as a Top 15 third baseman in the state, in the top 175 of third basemen nationally and a Top 500 player in the country by Perfect Game. He also played for the South Charlotte Panthers.
Vogler is a middle infielder and right-handed pitcher for Reagan High. The Lewisville, N.C. native also appeared in the 2012 State Games. With his father Mark playing for the very first Niners squad, he will become the second son of a former 49er to play for Charlotte (Mark Dunn and son Zack were the first) and is also rated as a national "high follow" by Perfect Game Crosschecker.
The 49ers begin the 2013 campaign on February 15, when they host Delaware State for a four-game weekend series. Season tickets are on sale now by calling the 49ers Ticket Office at (704) 687-4949.
||LHP||6-6||210||Overland Park, Kan.||Barton Comm. Coll.|
||RHP||6-1||165||Wilmington, N.C.||Ashley HS|
||LHP||6-2||185||Wilmington, N.C.||Ashley HS|
|Zach Jarrett||3B||6-3||190||Hickory, N.C.||Hickory HS|
||IF||5-11||180||Hamilton, Ohio||Badin HS|
|Jeremy Schellhorn||P/1B||6-1||215||Matthews, N.C.||Weddington HS|
|Logan Sherer||P/3B||6-2||200||Charlotte, N.C.||East Mecklenburg HS|
|Brandon Vogler||P/IF||6-1||160||Lewisville, N.C.||Reagan HS|
What they are saying about the signees...
"Brett Bond came to us as a very polished pitcher who needed to gain strength. We knew with his 6-foot-6 frame he had the opportunity to get a lot better, and he did. He was our number-one pitcher as a freshman and will be again this year. He is one of the fiercest competitors I've ever coached and can command three pitches. Not only is Brett polished mechanically, but mentally as well. I am confident he will be another in a long line of players we've had play at Charlotte. Coach Hibbs and Coach Hall have a great reputation as being coaches that are able to take our players to that next level. We are very happy for Brett! We feel he is going to one of the best baseball programs in the country!" - Mike Warren, Barton Community College Head Coach
"Matt has a chance to be an impact player for Charlotte. He has three pitches that he can throw for a strike and he can overpower hitters with his velocity. His fast ball has been clocked in the low 90s." - Brian Stewart, head coach, Ashley High School
"Matt should be able to contribute early for Charlotte. He has made a big jump in the past six months with his pitch-ability. In late May and early June he was more of an arm-strength guy that relied on velocity and his swing-and-miss curveball. Now, he's developed excellent feel for his change-up and the ability to attack the bottom half of the strike zone to go along with his fastball and downer breaking ball. He is a very competitive guy, and he was a very reliable and durable guy for the back end of our bullpen this year. He didn't give up a single run all fall for us in seven outings. Matt is now a polished pitcher with a three-pitch mix. 49ers coaches, teammates and fans will really enjoy all he brings to the Charlotte program."
- Andy Partin, Dirtbags head coach
"Eric is a player that has worked very hard to get where he is now. He is the fastest player that we have ever had at Ashley High School. He is one of the most athletic kids that I have ever coached and has the tools to be an outstanding baseball player." - Brian Stewart, Ashley HS
"Zach is a tremendous student-athlete who excels on the field and in the classroom. He is extremely dedicated and committed to being the best. We all look for him to do great things at Charlotte." - David Craft, head coach Hickory High
"T.J. Nichting is a baseball junkie. He watches and studies the game and aspires to be the best. His dedication to getting better is evidenced by the hours he spends in the cage every day. He has been switch-hitting his entire life and is equally as good from both sides of the plate. I expect T.J. to contribute at Charlotte from day one and go on to have an incredible career for the Niners. T.J.'s goal has always been to play baseball in the south and to play in the Major Leagues. With the incredible facilities, strength and conditioning program and elite level coaching at Charlotte, I believe he will have every opportunity to accomplish this goal." - Former 49er Brion Treadway, head coach Badin High
"Jeremy is the type of player that makes it happen. Jeremy's success defensively, offensively, and on the mound is a reflection of his work ethic. Jeremy has a three-year batting average of .404, which leads our club over a that period. Jeremy has been the cornerstone of our program and helped lead the team to the 2012 State Championship."
- Travis Poole, head coach Weddington High
"Jeremy's bat, fielding, pitching and leadership were missed this past season. In 2011, Jeremy was a leading hitter, leading the team in doubles and RBI. He hit .331 for the year and never went more than one game without a hit. He hit safely in 60 of 69 games. He was 3-1 on the mound with an ERA of 1.58. Jeremy will be a strong addition to the 49ers program whether at the plate or mound as well as a leader in the classroom." - Don Hutchins, head coach South Charlotte Panthers
"Logan is a 'Ball Player' who will do anything for the good of the team. He came up to play on the varsity squad in his freshman year when injuries plagued the team. In his sophomore year, when we did not have a catcher, Logan became an All-Conference catcher. Last year, after graduating 3 pitchers, Logan took to the mound to become the ace of the staff. For his senior year, I expect Logan to challenge for Southwestern 4A Player of the Year and lead the Eagles to their first outright conference title in 38 years. I look forward to following Logan’s future career at Charlotte and know that he will continue to work and push himself and his teammates. He is a very special player that has a limitless ceiling and will have a very long future in baseball."
- Clint Koppe, head coach East Mecklenburg High
"Logan is a two-year starter in the SCP program. He broke the single-season home run record this past year with eight. He is a big, strong and versatile player who played multiple positions in his SCP career including pitching this past season where he consistantly hit 88 to 89 on the gun. He is a good hitter with outstanding hands who rarely got beat with offspeed. He finished his SCP career as one of the top hitters of all time - over 100 RBI, 40 doubles, and 90 runs scored. I feel Logan can be an early contributor to the 49ers program due to his versatility and advanced game."- Don Hutchins, South Charlotte Panthers
"He is one of the most, if not the most cerebral players I have coached. His baseball IQ is outstanding. He remembers things that happen in the game and makes adjustments not only for himself but the team as well. Brandon is a very hard worker and is extremely coachable. He will do the work it takes to make himself better and that will put him and his team in position to win. Because of Brandon's work ethic, I believe he will flourish into a player that will be a solid contributor to the Charlotte program. He is a joy to coach - an outstanding young man with great character." - Gary Nail, head coach Reagan High