ETSU baseball welcomes 20 newcomers to campus
Coach Skole and his staff welcome 20 newcomers to campus.
Coach Skole and his staff welcome 20 newcomers to campus.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2014) – As a new freshman class moved into the dorms on Thursday, ETSU baseball head coach Tony Skole and his staff welcomed 20 newcomers to campus as well.

ETSU’s new class features 17 freshman, two junior college transfers, and one four-year transfer. The group consists of 11 pitchers, three infielders, two outfielders, two catchers, one two-way player (outfielder/LHP) and one multisport player (baseball/football).

“We are excited to be welcoming these 20 young men to campus,” said Skole. “My coaching staff of Xan Barksdale, Chris Gordon and Kyle Bunn worked their tails off to put this class together. They deserve all the credit for bringing in such a talented group.”

Here is a breakdown of the signing class including a quote from the Buccaneer coaching staff.

Christian Bailey – 1B/3B – Kingsport, Tenn. / Dobyns-Bennett High School

“Christian is one of the best pure hitters in East Tennessee. He has an easy, smooth swing that should allow him to hit for a high average. He is very good defensively and can play the corner infield spots. We are really excited about Christian joining our program and we think his bat is going to make an immediate impact for the Bucs.”

Daniel Cox – LHP – Johnson City, Tenn. / Boone High School

“Daniel is a hard-nosed competitor and was a number one pitcher for his high school team. He’s not over powering but has a very good breaking ball and is a strike thrower.”

Seth Cunningham – OF – Bristol, Va. / John S. Battle

“Seth is a very athletic outfielder. He can really defend and throws well. He has a good swing and is a very good runner. Seth profiles as a top of the order type hitter.”

Garrett Dalton – SS – Madisonville, Tenn. / Sequoyah High School

“Garrett is a super-athletic player who won Player of the Year honors last year in his district. He is a solid defender with great range. He plays really hard and his speed is a great tool for him.”

Logan Gentry – RHP – Kingsport, Tenn. / Dobyns-Bennett High School

“Logan was one of the best pitchers in the state last year. He helped his high school team to a state tournament berth. Logan can flat out pitch. He can locate his off-speed stuff and isn't afraid to pitch inside.”

Lee Haeberle – RHP – Hendersonville, Tenn. / Dyersburg State CC

“Lee was the number one starter for Dyersburg CC. He pitched against some of the best JUCO teams in the country. He is a big, physical pitcher who is continuing to develop. He really commands his off-speed pitches. He will compete for a spot in our weekend rotation.”

Kain Hewitt – RHP – Gainesville, Ga. / Stephens Co. High School

“Kain was our first signee of this class. He is a hard-throwing pitcher who comes from a strong program. He has a good breaking ball and nice feel for his changeup.”

Alex Higley – RHP – Knoxville, Tenn. / Webb School of Knoxville

“Alex is the right-handed identical 6'5" Higley twin. Alex's fastball can also reach the mid-80s. We think as his strength increases so will his velocity. Alex has a lot of upside and will develop quickly at ETSU.”

Andy Higley – LHP – Knoxville, Tenn. / Webb School of Knoxville

“Andy is the left-handed identical 6'5'' Higley twin. He has a powerful breaking ball and a fastball that can reach above the mid-80s. He is the type of pitcher who can log a lot of innings and allow very few runners.”

Austin Kiser – RHP – Rosedale, Va. / Virginia High School

“Austin is another physical pitcher in this class. He was one of the best pitchers in Southwest Virginia last year as he led his high school to a State Championship. He throws hard and has pitched in a lot of big games during his high school career.”

Russell Koesters – RHP – Kingsport, Tenn. / Sullivan South High School

“Russell is a competitor. He comes right at you. He was one of the best high school pitchers in our area. He has above average stuff and commands it as well as anyone in our class.”

Dalton Long – RHP – Knoxville, Tenn. / Powell High School

“Dalton is a big, strong young man who throws hard. He was dominate in a very good league in high school. As a former football player, he is very tough kid. We are excited about his development now that he can just focus baseball. He has a very bright future.”

Aaron Maher – OF/LHP – Brentwood, Tenn. / Brentwood High School

“Aaron is an athletic two-way player who can play outfield and also make an impact as a pitcher.  He's one of the most high profile players in the state with a fastball that approaches 90mph. We are expecting Aaron to have a great career and make an immediate impact.”

Robby McCabe – IF – New Port Richey, Fla. / Pasco Hernando CC

“Robby is an above-average defender with great speed and range. He’s a leadoff type hitter who will be a tough out and will put pressure on the defense when he's on the bases.”

Doug McFarland – C – Mohnton, Pa. / Governor Mifflin

“Doug is a strong and physical catcher. He has a short/quick swing and is an above average runner for a catcher. He’s also a strong defensive catcher who moves quickly and has a strong arm.”

Nathan Millsap – C – Kingsport, Tenn. / Dobyns-Bennett High School

“Nathan is a very good catch/throw defensive catcher. He has power and was an excellent hitter in high school. He will add some experience to our catching core and our pitchers will benefit from that as well.”

Hagen Owenby – C/1B/3B – Knoxville, Tenn. / Powell High School

“Hagen comes to ETSU as a two-sport athlete – playing football and baseball for the Bucs. He’s a very versatile power hitter who can play catcher or the corner infield spots. Hagen is one of the best power hitting prospects in the state. He’ll be a threat hitting in the middle of the order for the Bucs.”

Joe Sadowski – OF – Hickory, N.C. / Hickory High School

“Joe is a talented outfielder who runs well and has a strong arm. He projects as a top of the lineup type hitter, who can have a high on-base percentage and score a lot of runs.”

Ryan Simpler – RHP – Lewes, Del. / Homeschooled

“Ryan is a physical pitcher and has a great put away slider. We are excited about his development when he gets in our program. He has a bright future ahead of him and can make an immediate impact.”

Daniel Sweeney – RHP – Johnson City, Tenn. / Science Hill High School

“Daniel is a 6'5" right-handed pitcher from Science Hill who has a ton of potential. He has a big, projectable frame that should allow him to throw really hard.”

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“This is a large incoming class and we feel we have really addressed our needs to be a much improved ball club in 2015,” Skole said. “This is a very physical and athletic group, and we are counting on them to make an immediate impact in our program. There are 12 pitchers in this group and each of them have had great success in their careers already. We have some guys who can really run it up there on the radar and we also have some guys who can flat-out pitch. From a position player standpoint, we have a very balanced group consisting of four infielders, three outfielders and three catchers. It’s a great mix of athletes who can bring a lot to our ball club offensively. In this group, we have some guys who can really run and we have some who can really put a charge into the baseball. What’s even better is all these guys are plus defenders.”

The Bucs begin their fall season on September 8 at Thomas Stadium. All practices and scrimmages are open to the public.

“Our fall season starts on September 8 and will run for about five weeks,” added Skole. We will scrimmage as often as possible – usually 2-3 times a week with the other days consisting of team practice, individual workouts and strength and conditioning sessions. There is going to be great competition at Thomas Stadium this fall. I am excited to watch these guys get after each other. It’s going to be intense as we return six position player starters and seven pitchers, including our top two weekend starters in Jimmy Nesselt and Jamin McCann.”

For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball page.

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