FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
NEW ORLEANS – University of New Orleans baseball coach Tom Walter has signed six players for 2009-10, he announced on Tuesday.
The fifth-year head coach signed utility player Alex Byo, catcher Brandon Clark, shortstops Justin Creel and Johnny Thomas, infielder/catcher Phillip Ivey and outfielder Mike Petello.
“It is a smaller recruiting class, but it is certainly not short on talent,” said Walter, who has led UNO to back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances. “Since we have a relatively young team this year, we do not have to sign a lot of guys for 2010.
“This class is certainly a product of the success our program has had.”
Byo, one of two signees from Baton Rouge, was a Louisville Slugger All-American and the Louisiana 3A All-State MVP after leading Parkview Baptist to a state championship last year. He hit .473 with eight home run and 52 RBIs last year and was 9-1 with a 1.58 ERA on the mound.
He was also the MVP of the 3A state tournament.
“Alex has tremendous upside,” Walter said. “He will contribute immediately both on the mound and with the bat. As a pitcher, he has the ability to become a Friday night guy very early in his career.”
Clark is a two-year letterwinner at Klein High School in Spring, Texas. He helped lead the Bearkats to the 16-5A District championship and a 5A state championship quarterfinal appearance.
This past summer, he played for the nationally-ranked Katy Sting Showcase team, which placed third in the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Tournament in East Cobb, Ga.
“Brandon has a great deal of upside,” Walter said. “He already possesses a solid swing with substantial power potential. Once he adds 15-20 pounds, he could really become an offensive force.”
Creel, also of Baton Rouge, led Louisiana 5A schools with 53 RBIs last year at Central High School. He hit .451 with three home runs and had a .537 on-base percentage. He was rated as the state’s No. 2 prospect and the nation’s seventh-ranked shortstop for the 2009 graduating class by Perfect Game.
“Justin is a gamer,” Walter said. “He will step in immediately and compete for the starting job at shortstop. He will make everyone around him a better player, and he will bring an unmatched toughness and work ethic to the park everyday.”
Thomas, a local product from Brother Martin High School, was an all-district and all-Orleans Parish pick after helping the Crusaders to a state playoff appearance last year.
He hit .285 with a home run and 15 RBIs.
“Johnny can flat play defense,” Walter said. “He will help up immediately late in the game. As he gains strength, he could turn into an everyday player down the line.”
Ivey, from Lake Charles, hit .333 with four home runs and 25 RBIs as a junior for Sulphur High School last year. He is ranked as the No.3 prospect in Louisiana and the No. 49 prospect nationally. He has seven home runs in the last two years with the Tors.
“Phillip is a tremendous all-around athlete,” Walter said. “He will be able to hit at our level immediately and adds depth to all three infield positions and behind the plate. He will likely be an all-conference candidate by his sophomore year.”
Petello hit .377 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs in the very competitive Arizona JUCO league. A two-time draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies, he was a redshirt at Arizona State in 2006 before transferring to Scottsdale JC.
“Mike is a five-tool player who will hit in the middle of our order immediately,” Walter said. “He is as good a player as we have ever signed. He should be a conference player of the year candidate from day one.”
“Overall, these are the type of players we would not have had a chance on five years ago,” Walter said. “This is a very versatile and very athletic group of players who can come in and make an immediate impact.”
UNO BASEBALL SIGNEES
Name Pos. Hgt.-Wgt. B-T Hometown/HS (Last School)
Alex Byo UTIL 6’2-190 R-R Baton Rouge, La./Parkview Baptist
Brandon Clark C 6’3-190 R-R Spring, Texas/Klein
Justin Creel SS 5’10-190 R-R Baton Rouge, La./Central
Phillip Ivey IF/C 6’0-185 R-R Lake Charles, La./Sulphur
Mike Petello OF 6’2-200 R-R Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral (Scottsdale JC)
Johnny Thomas SS 5’10-160 L-R Kenner, La./Brother Martin