The Charlotte 49ers baseball program has signed six players to National Letters of Intent in the early signing period to join the team for the 2013 season. Three pitchers and three position players will add depth to the roster, starting next fall.
"We had a good early signing period," said Charlotte head coach Loren Hibbs, who begins his 20th season with the 49ers this year. "(Associate head coach) Brandon (Hall) and (assistant coach) Kris (Rochelle) did a good job with our initial evaluation process and we expect each of these six signees to immediately compete for playing time. We continue to stick with our plan of signing a low number of players during the early signing period. We place a high value on player development and we want players who want to be at Charlotte. This group has a chance to make our program better and we look forward to their continued development over the spring and summer."
Middle infielders Matt Creech and Kory Shumate, catcher Nick Daddio and pitchers Sean Geoghegan, Jason Harris and Adam Huffman have signed to join the Charlotte baseball program next year.
"All three of our position player signees have solid work ethics and are athletic," said Coach Hibbs. "Although under-developed physically, all three have quickness and the type of playing mentality we value in our program."
Creech hit .364 as a sophomore at Colquitt County High for coach Tony Kirkland. He played in the East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase and was a 2010 and 2011 All-Region performer. He is ranked in the Top 70 in the state of Georgia and holds a Top 100 ranking by position from Perfect Game CrossChecker. He is Charlotte's first baseball signee from Georgia in Coach Hibbs' tenure with the 49ers.
"Creech can run, he catches the ball consistently and has arm strength," said coach Hibbs. "He grew up in a baseball family."
Daddio catches for Hough High School and coach Jimmy Cochran. The native of nearby Huntersville is one of the top ranked catchers in the state of North Carolina. He was All-IMeck Conference in 2011 and participated in the State Games. He played for the CBC O's summer team for 49ers alum and former All-American Bo Robinson.
"Nick showed improvement every time we saw him," added Hibbs. "He is an athletic kid who loves to catch and has great arm strength, but he can also play in the outfield."
Shumate played for Grimsley High coach Jason Simmons and is the son of former North Carolina A&T Coach Keith Shumate. He batted .368 this past spring and slugged at a .395 clip with 18 runs scored and 11 RBI. He was an All-Metro Conference performer in 2009 and 2011.
"Shumate can run, has quickness with the bat and catches the ball consistently," said Hibbs. "He is the son of a coach and has a high baseball IQ."
On the mound, Sean Geoghegan played at Southwest Guilford, the alma mater of current sophomore hurler Brock Hudgens for coach Reid Holmes. The 6-6 left hander is coming off an All-Conference season last year.
"Geoghegan is another guy that improved every time we saw him," noted Hibbs. He is a big, physical kid who is still developing to his body."
Harris is a 6-5 lefty out of Austin, Texas. He comes in from Barton Community College, continuing the pipeline from that school that produced former Niners Jamie Rusco, Derek McDaid and ex-major-leaguer Jason Stanford. He will be playing his first season at Barton after transferring from Division II Abilene Christian, where he appeared in 11 games with seven starts for the Wildcats last spring.
"Harris is a good sign for us because he brings experience and he has an advanced approach," said Hibbs. He is another big-bodied guy, with a positive mound demeanor."
Huffman is the lone right-handed signee for this class to date. He played at Western Alamance High for coach Lance Huff and also plays for the Warriors football squad. 6-2 Burlington native participated in the State Games and has been named All-Conference each of the past two seasons.
"Huffman is a good athlete with a positive arm action," added Hibbs. "He has shown the ability to spin a breaking ball and we are excited to add him to our staff."
"We are excited about all three of our pitcher signees," added Hibbs. "Harris is a little more advanced than Huffman or Geoghegan but all three have a chance to compete immediately for innings. This group also brings versatility, something that we place a high value on."
Charlotte is in search of a fifth Atlantic 10 Conference title since joining the league six seasons ago. The 49ers finished 43-16 last year, winning their opening game over No. 19 Arkansas in the Tempe, Arizona regional round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Charlotte is one of only seven teams in college baseball with a winning percentage better than 70 percent (70.1) over the last six seasons. The 49ers are also among just 14 teams with a Top 75 win percentage in each of the last six seasons.
The 49ers continued another impressive streak in 2011, defeating a team ranked seven or higher in a national poll. Charlotte took down then-number-six North Carolina on March 29 in a 4-3 final, extending the team's streak of recording a win over a team ranked seven or higher in four straight seasons. That win turned into a win over the number-one RPI team at season's end.
The 2012 season gets started Friday, February 17 at home against Saint Peter's at 4 p.m.
|Matt Creech||IF||5-11||165||Moultrie, Ga.||Colquitt County|
|Nick Daddio||C||6-2||185||Huntersville, N.C.||Hough|
|Sean Geoghegan||LHP||6-6||230||High Point, N.C.||Southwest Guilford|
|Jason Harris||LHP||6-5||187||Austin, Tex.||Barton (KS) Comm. Coll.|
|Adam Huffman||RHP||6-2||195||Burlington, N.C.||Western Alamance|
|Kory Shumate||IF||6-0||155||Greensboro, N.C.||Grimsley|
What they are saying about the signees...
Nick is an athletic player with speed and power. He plays the game with a passion and is an honor roll student. His character is second to none, and he will be a great addition to the 49er Baseball Program. He has a passion for the game and was the first-ever Hough baseball player to commit." - Jimmy Cochran, Hough HS head coach
Nick is a coach's dream with his work ethic and love for the game. He is going to be a great fit for the 49ers program because he is an old-school throwback type player who plays the game the way it is supposed to be played. He comes from a baseball family with his dad being a high school baseball coach for 20-plus years and understands the work it takes to compete at the higher levels. Nick is an athletic Catcher who possesses 6.8-6.9 speed on the 60 yard dash and has a very good frame to add size and strength. His tools also include a very strong arm and good bat speed which gives him a chance to be a really special player at the college level and maybe beyond. I am very excited for Coach Hibbs and the 49ers staff for getting such a great ballplayer but an even better person to represent the 49er Baseball Program." - Bo Robinson, CBC Coach
"Sean has improved tremendously over the past three years and I'm excited about his continued development. He was an all conference performer for us as a junior and I truly believe his best baseball is ahead of him." - Reid Holmes, head coach, SW Guilford HS
Sean's emergence this summer was fueled by his passion to excel. He is calm and focused in pressure situations and physically overpowering, Geoghan spearheaded our Area III run. He has all the tools necessary to mature into a top of the rotation college pitcher." - HiToms President and Post 87 Athletic Director Greg Suire
Jason Harris transferred from Abilene Christian University and made an immediate impact for us this past fall. He has worked very hard to improve his command and has increased his velocity from what it was a year ago. He will be our Friday starter and will be counted upon to set the tone for our conference series. His fastball currently is in the 88-91 mph range and has a chance to increase over the winter. Jason is an outstanding person and has worked very hard in the classroom to be just as successful there. I believe he will be a mainstay in the weekend rotation for the 49ers in the future and help them continue their winning tradition in the A10 Conference and the NCAA's." - Mike Warren, head coach, Barton Community College
Adam Huffman has been and still is a great leader for us here at Western Alamance. Athletically, as well as academically, Adam is a player that I am proud to have had an opportunity to coach and call a Warrior. He is not only a great teammate on the field but off as well." - Lance Huff, Head Coach Western Alamance
Kory has been our everyday shortstop since the moment he stepped foot onto camps at Grimsley High School. Kory's inner drive and focus over the past four years has been unmatched and has led to not only his development as an outstanding player but also as a young man. The Grimsley family is very proud of him" - Jason Simmons, Grimsley HS head coach