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UC Davis grabs five during Early Period

DAVIS, Calif. – UC Davis head baseball coach Rex Peters announced this week that five recruits have signed National Letters of Intent during the fall 2008 signing period. The prospects, in alphabetical order, are Seth Batty of Buchanan High, Karl Kobler of Cardinal Newman High, Andrew Lassen of Clayton Valley High, Andrew Rich of Washington Union High and Evan Wolf of Clovis High. All five are expected to enroll at UC Davis beginning in the fall of 2009.

“We are extremely excited about the group of athletes we have signed during the early NLI period,” said Peters. “All of these players are leaders from winning high school programs and are well coached. They are all extremely athletic and good competitors who like to win. Coach (Tony) Schifano has done a tremendous job in his first year as recruiting coordinator in compiling this impressive group of student-athletes. All five have the potential to contribute very early in their careers and we look forward to getting them on campus wearing the Aggie blue and gold.”

Batty, a native of Fresno, batted .465 and drove in 30 runs to earn All-Tri-River Athletic Conference (TRAC) first-team honors. He also put up a .545 on base percentage and a .634 slugging percentage en route to adding second team All-Central Section accolades. In addition, he was named the Rawlings NorCal Word Series most outstanding player and Cal-Hi All-State Underclassmen second team. He excels academically and is in the top 50 of 761 graduating seniors.

“Chase is a very athletic outfielder who has the defensive instincts to play all three outfield positions,” said Peters. “He’s a good contact hitter who can hit to all fields with above average power. He has the chance to be an impact player in the Big West Conference.”

Kobler, a Sebastopol native, batted .524 with 19 RBIs, 12 doubles and 30 runs scored in 82 at bats to earn first team All-North Bay League (NBL) and Press Democrat All-Empire honors. He also stole 14 bases. Kobler added to his honors by nabbing San Francisco Chronicle second team All-Metro accolades along with being named to the all-tournament team during the 2008 Rawlings NorCal World Series. He helped lead CNHS to the NBL title and a runner-up finish at the North Coast Section championship in the 2A Redwood Empire.

“Karl is a great athlete who has a big upside,” said Peters. “Karl already has a Division I body. He has good size and good strength that will only improve as his career progresses. He also has above average speed and good bat speed. I think he will develop into a good power hitting leftfielder at some point. Most important he is an excellent student whose athleticism is off the charts.”

Lassen, who is a Concord native, has earned All-Bay Area Athletic League (BAAL) accolades for the past two seasons. He finished his junior season with a .333 batting average to go with 33 RBIs, six doubles and a .623 slugging percentage. Lassen helped CVHS win 19 games in 2008 and 22 games in 2007 to finish second in the BAAL and qualify for the semifinals of the North Coast Section. He batted .448 as a sophomore with a .603 slugging percentage. Lassen was named a team captain last season as a member of the basketball team. He also earned the team’s Mr. Defense award for the second consecutive season.

“Andrew is a great athlete who has a tremendous upside,” said Peters. “He throws well, runs well and has above average bat speed. He projects as a centerfielder or rightfielder in our program. He is a bit raw in his baseball skills but could develop into an exceptional player in our program. We are excited to get our hands on him and start working with him.”

Rich, also a native of Fresno, repeated at North Sequoia League (NSL) MVP last season as he finished his junior year with a .495 batting average, 32 RBIs, 42 runs scored, 12 doubles and nine home runs. He added a 10-1 record, 1.51. ERA and 77 strikeouts. His efforts helped lead WUHS to back-to-back league titles and semifinals appearances at the Central Section championship. Rich was also named to the All-Fresno Bee Team and Fresno Bee All-State Medium Schools first team. Also won 10 games and struck out 60-plus batters as a sophomore. He was a NSL first-team honoree as a freshman and was team’s Cy Young winner with a 7-3 record, 1.91 ERA and 53 strikeouts. Also plays basketball for WUHS and has helped lead that team to three straight league titles and appearances in the section finals and quarterfinals. He was n amed all-league second team as a sophomore. Excells academically as a three-year member of the honor roll.

“Andrew is a tough, hard-nosed competitor who plays the game with passion,” said Peters. “He has the ability to play multiple positions. He is also a good contact hitter with above average power for his size. He’s a kid of good character who’s mental make-up fits well into our program philosophy. He’s not flashy with his skills but helps win ball games.”

Wolf, a native of Clovis, batted .303 with 25 RBIs and three homers as a junior en route to earning his inaugural All-TRAC accolades. Also pitched relief for CHS, striking out 20 batters in 25 innings as a sophomore. Wolf helped guide CHS to back-to-back TRAC titles and an appearance in the Central Section Division II championship game last year. Wolf also played tight end and linebacker as a sophomore on the CHS football team and was reported to have been recruited by several Division I schools. The CHS football team made the section quarterfinals that season.

“Evan is a big physical RHP/1B who has a chance to be a legitimate two-way player for us,” said Peters. “He is a great competitor who loves to win and wants the ball in big games. He has a chance to develop into a power right-hander that can pitch on the weekends for us and possibly bat in the middle of our lineup.”

UC Davis opens its 2009 season with a three-game series at UCLA beginning Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.

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