FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Four pitchers in Jared Hill (Harrisburg, Ohio/Grove City HS), Eric Hinkle (Ocean Township, N.J./Potomac State JC), Marshall Thompson (Denton, Md./North Caroline HS) and Michael Twigg (Berkeley Springs, W.Va./Berkeley Springs HS) highlight a group of new Mountaineers looking to compete in the upcoming year.
Six position players also make up the 2010 recruiting class, including catchers Kevin Griffin (Martinsburg, W.Va./Potomac State JC) and Matt Malloy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills HS), first baseman Matt Frazer (Alum Creek, W.Va./Nitro HS), infielders T.J. Kuban (Valencia, Pa./Pine-Richland HS) and Brady Wilson (Frederick, Md./Frederick HS) and outfielder Dom Hayes (Freehold, N.J./Potomac State JC).
“Our recruiting coordinator Pat Sherald and our other assistant coaches did a great job working hard on this class,” Van Zant said. “The big thing about this class is we were able to bring in some pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders because we needed help across the board after losing the players that we lost. We feel like we fulfilled our needs.”
Wilson is a speedy player who batted .494 with five home runs, 23 RBIs, 13 doubles and 33 runs scored during his superb senior campaign. He was named first team all-Piedmont Player of the Year, and is a three-time first team Frederick News Postall-area performer.
“Brady Wilson is a second baseman who could be one of the fastest players in college baseball,” Van Zant stated. “He will have an opportunity to be our leadoff hitter, and we’re hoping he can get in there, get on base and steal bases for us. He’s a very talented infielder, covers a tremendous amount of ground because he is so fast and can also hit the ball out of the ballpark once in a while.”
Frazer is a natural power threat from Southern West Virginia who was drafted in the 26th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Kansas City Royals. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, a first team all-state selection and competed with Kanawha Valley Post 94 over the summer.
“We felt we needed a big, strong first baseman and we got that in Matt Frazer,” Van Zant said. “He’s got the potential to be a big-time left-handed power hitter for us, and those guys are hard to find.”
Griffin, a former Martinsburg High standout, was one of Potomac State’s main power threats over the last two seasons. The multi-faceted catcher hit .325 with 15 home runs, 69 RBIs and 15 doubles through 78 games played in his junior college career.
“Losing Tobias Streich as a sophomore, we had an immediate need for an older catcher,” Van Zant stated. “That’s why we signed Kevin Griffin. He has a quick release and a strong arm. He catches and throws very well and he’s got a chance to be a pretty good hitter.”
Filling in another spot at catcher is Malloy. The top-notch player finished his high school career as an Under Armour All-American, was a highly-touted prospect by Perfect Game and competed for the Columbus Cobras over the summer.
“Matt is a very strong, hard-working player from Cincinnati,” Van Zant said. “He played very well this past summer and hit 15 home runs – he has a lot of juice in his bat. He’s very quick to second base and has a good arm, but what is exceptional about him is he has quick feet and quick hands.”
Kuban is another welcomed addition after starring for his varsity squad throughout his high school career. The 6-foot-2 recruit batted .483 with five home runs, 30 RBIs, six doubles, 24 runs scored, 15 walks and a .640 on-base percentage in his senior year.
“T.J. Kuban can play third base or left field,” Van Zant added. “He’s from Colin Durborow’s high school and his strongest suit is his bat. He’s a really good hitter and was the WPIAL Class 4A Player of the Year this season, which says a lot.”
Hayes is also a JUCO transfer who earned Division I Freshman All-America honors following his first year at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Hayes enjoyed another breakout season with Potomac State, leading the squad in batting average (.449), RBIs (62) and doubles (22) while sitting among the team leaders with seven home runs and 79 hits.
“Dom is a real good left-handed hitter and will have a chance to play in left field. He’s very athletic and has a smooth swing,” Van Zant said.
Hinkle, one of three left-handers in this year’s class, comes to Morgantown after spending his sophomore year at Potomac State and his freshman season at Long Island University. The junior college transfer emerged as the staff’s ace in 2008, going 8-2 with a 3.69 ERA while striking out 54 batters in 61 innings pitched.
“Eric Hinkle has a legitimate shot to be in our starting rotation this year,” Van Zant said. “He’s a very talented left-hander with a real good breaking ball and has good movement on his fastball. We’re really happy that he decided to be a Mountaineer.”
Thompson, a left-hander, was unable to pitch his senior season due to Tommy John Surgery. He finished his senior year batting .453 with two home runs, 22 RBIs, 14 runs scored, five doubles and only six strikeouts.
“Marshall has a live arm,” Van Zant added. “He’s just now getting into his throwing and if he bounces back he can be really good.”
Twigg is WVU’s lone in-state pitcher who garnered 14 career wins and two saves through three seasons of varsity action. The sharp lefty is a two-time AA first team all-state player, a three-time Potomac Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year and a two-time Apple Valley League first team selection. Twigg also earned team MVP honors in his junior and senior seasons, and participated with Berkeley Post 14 during the summer.
“Michael Twigg was probably the top left-hander in our state,” Van Zant said. “He is a tall, lanky left-hander with a real good curve ball. If he throws like he is capable of and gets stronger, he can definitely pitch for us this spring.”
Right-hander Hill is an intriguing prospect who did not pitch in his senior year due to Tommy John Surgery. Despite the recovery process, he led his team in RBIs and was elected as a Columbus Dispatch all-metro first baseman.
“He has a lot of ability,” Van Zant added. “His fastball can touch 90 and he has a good breaking ball. The question mark on Jared will be the durability of his arm. If his arm responds like we think it can, then he can pitch for us as a freshman.”
The Mountaineers begin fall practice on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and will culminate the season with the 20th annual Gold-Blue World Series on Oct. 13-17 at Hawley Field. Practices are opened to the general public.