MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry University’s baseball team head coach Marc Pavao announced the signing of ten recruits for the 2014 class. The final signees that round out this year’s recruiting class include seven transfers and three high school players.
The class consists of two catchers, three outfielders, three right-handed pitchers, a middle infielder and a first baseman.
“We feel this recruiting class is a special one. We have brought in a total of 15 new student athletes. We had originally signed seven in the early signing period [in November] but we lost two of them: one to Major League Baseball (Elier Rodriguez, 14th round to the St. Louis Cardinals) and the other to injury. The remaining ten round out a very well balanced recruiting class,” Pavao said.
The Buccaneers return starters around the infield and both corner outfield positions but they will have to replace two-year starters Michael Slabach in centerfield and Luis Arrizurieta behind the dish. Head coach Marc Pavao has put together another strong recruiting class to complement the early signees from December to reload for the upcoming 2014 season.
Ramon Valdez, C
Valdez joins the Buccaneers out of Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois where he played in 49 games, including 38 starts for the Cobras. He helped guide the Cobras to a 34-23 record batting .343 with seven doubles, three triples, two home runs and 38 RBI. He also showed great discipline at the plate, walking 38 times to boast a .478 on-base-percentage. This summer he competed in the Ohio Valley Collegiate Baseball League where he hit .363 for the Railroaders in 29 games. In 29 games, Valdez compiled 29 hits, eight doubles, one triple, three homers, scored 24 runs and finished with 23 RBI. Ramon also showed tremendous plate discipline, drawing 30 walks to finish with a .560 on-base-percentage.
Greg Brodzinski, C
Brodzinski comes to Barry from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he red-shirted during the 2012-13 season. The catcher originally signed with Division I University of South Carolina where he appeared in ten games for the Gamecocks and finished with a .333 batting average. As a prep-school standout, Brodzinski earned 2010 National high School Baseball Coaches Association All-District Honors, Second-Team All-State in New Jersey as well as Under Armor All-American honors.
Will Walker, OF
Walker transfers to Barry out of Enterprise Community College where he hit .305 with four homers and led the team in RBI. Walker graduated from Beauregard High where he finished his senior year with a .402 batting average including five home runs, 55 RBI and a team-high five triples. Last year he transferred to the University of Alabama and joined the Crimson Tide during the fall before being sidelined with an injury and was unable to participate in the spring.
Jace Herrera, RHP
After spending a year with the cross-town Division I Miami, Herrera joins the Buccaneers’ staff under the guidance of pitching coach Alex Gonzalez. Last spring the right-hander tossed 6.2 innings in relief and allowed just one run while striking out three batters. Herrera made his postseason debut against Oklahoma State in a 7-0 victory in the Louisville Regional on May 31. A native of Apopka, Fla., Herrera was named the FACA District 10 Class 6A Player of the Year at Wekiva High where he was a five year letterman. Out of high school Herrera was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 36th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Carlos Matomoros, OF
Matamoros comes to Barry from South Florida State College in Avon Park, Fla., where he spent one year as an outfielder for the Panthers. The left-hander started in 46 games and finished with a .301 batting average. He amassed 11 doubles, one triple, three homers and 31 RBI. The Coral Gables native also drew 41 walks in 47 games and swiped a team-high 14 bases last spring. In his first year out of high school, Carlos was a member of the Miami Dade College baseball team where he batted .263 as a freshman.
Branden Shaw, OF
Shaw comes to Barry after by way of Broward Community College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he excelled as an outfielder for the Seahawks. His sophomore season he finished second on the team with a .377 average while also belting four homers, seven doubles and 31 RBI. Shaw also wrecked havoc on the base paths by stealing a team-high 21 bases and was caught just twice all season.
Jesse Montalto, RHP
Montalto joins the Bucs’ staff after a pair of seasons with Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa. He appeared in 16 games for the Falcons and made 12 starts, leading the team with 75.1 innings pitched. He finished 2013 with a 5-4 record and 3.11 ERA and fanned a team-high 83 batters. Of his 71 hits allowed all season, only five went for extra-base hits and the right-hander went the distance three times including one shutout. Montalto was instrumental in leading Lackawanna to the NJCAA Division II College World Series.
Tanner Thompson, 1B/RHP
A two-way player out of Strawberry Crest High in Dover, Fla., Thompson helped guide the Chargers to an 18-10 mark last spring. Thompson finished the year with a 2.56 ERA and struck out 34 hitters in 38.1 innings enroute to four wins a senior. At the plate, he finished with a .269 average in 67 at-bats, adding three doubles, two homers and driving in 18 runs.
Khalil Denson, SS/2B
Denson was a prep-school standout at Serra High in Gardena, Calif. His junior season he hit .429 for the Cavaliers and he followed it up with a .506 average in 24 games his senior season. He collected 39 hits in 77 at-bats, scored 30 runs and swiped 15 bags last spring. Denson was also a member of the U.S. junior team that played on a European tour.
Blaine Duncan, LHP
Also joining the Buccaneers’ staff is left-hander Blaine Duncan out of Pasco High in Davie, Fla. Duncan led the Pirates to a 21-9 overall mark including a 13-1 conference record by striking out 100 batters in 64.1 innings. He finished the spring with seven wins and a 1.09 ERA while holding opponents to a mere .140 batting average all season.
“The group that this coaching staff has assembled as far as recruiting is a great balance of high school youth and college experienced transfers. Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job identifying talent and bringing in our type of student-athlete,” said Pavao.
“This fall should be very challenging for our players with a ton of competition.”