Baseball inks six during early signing period

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 21, 2012) – East Tennessee State University head baseball coach Tony Skole and his staff announced Wednesday that six players have signed their national letters of intent to play for the Bucs starting in the fall of 2013.

Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.), Dallas Deavers (Gainesville, Ga.), Gage Downey (Franklin, Tenn.), Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.), Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Zach Mize (Gainesville, Ga.) will all join the ETSU baseball family come the 2013-14 season. 

“First and foremost, I want to commend my assistants for all their hard work and recruiting efforts,” said Skole. “They have gone above and beyond the call of duty in putting this class together. Coach Barksdale, Coach Bunn and Coach Landreth have worked tirelessly for the last 15 months during the recruiting process, and they deserve the credit for this outstanding group of young men deciding to further their education and baseball career at ETSU.

“We were able to fill many of our needs with this class, while bringing in quality students and individuals, as well as outstanding baseball players. This entire group showed they are excited about the opportunity to play at a championship level while at East Tennessee State. This truly is a group that wants to be a part of the Buccaneer baseball family, and their desire and skill level will be a great asset to our program."

Below is a breakdown of each player along with quotes from assistant coach Xan Barksdale.

Dillon Cate – RHP/IF – Sevierville, Tenn. (Sevier County High School)

Cate, a right-handed pitcher/infielder from Sevier County High School, has started every game for the Smoky Bears and has lettered in baseball, football and basketball … along with pitching, Cate has played second, short, third, and outfield at Sevier County, while generating a batting average over .400 during his first three seasons with the Smoky Bears … Cate, a member of the CABA Wood Bat National Championship Team, pitched his team to the title along with driving in the game-winning run ... as a freshman, Cate received Rookie of the Year honors, while being selected to the TBCA All-Freshman Team in 2009 ... was a member of the 2012 TBCA Showcase Team of Tennessee and named All-Tournament Team as a pitcher at Perfect Game WBBA 17U in Atlanta.

“We are pleased to have another talented player from East Tennessee in Dillon,” said Barksdale. “He is a scrappy ballplayer who was also an impact player for Sevier County’s football team. Dillon is a tough kid who really competes and his makeup is off the charts.”

Dallas Deavers – LHP – Gainesville, Ga. (Lakeview Academy)  

A left-handed pitcher who has gone 8-6 with a 3.75 ERA and 115 strikeouts, along with hitting .375 with three home runs and 52 RBIs in his first three seasons at Lakeview Academy … has received Gainesville Time All-Area Honorable Mention honors in 2011 and 2012, while being named First Team All-Region as a junior … was named to the Perfect Game WWBA All-Tournament Team in 2012.

“Dallas is a physical left-handed pitcher who has a mid to upper 80s fastball,” Barksdale said. “He plays for one of the premier travel organizations in Georgia – Tigers Baseball. Dallas’ high school and summer coaches rave about his work ethic, and he should be able to come in and make an immediate impact on our pitching staff.”

Gage Downey – UTIL – Franklin, Tenn. (Fred J. Page High School)

Downey has spent time playing first, third, short, catcher, and pitcher at Fred J. Page High School … during his career, the Franklin, Tenn. native has compiled a list of accolades such as All-District in 2011 and 2012, All-District Honorable mention as a freshman, and the Golden Glove Award winner in 2010 … meanwhile, last season, Downey was named team captain for the Patriots and also received the “Hardest Worker” award.

“Gage is a strong player who can play multiple positions on the field,” said Barksdale. “He has the ability to play both third and catcher. Gage has good bat speed and will have the ability to hit for a high average, while showing good power as well. Gage has the potential to hit in the middle of the order and drive in a lot of runs for us, and we thought he was the best-kept secret in Tennessee. I thought he was one of the top hitters in the state as a junior, and I don't think he did anything but hit balls hard every time we saw him.”

Austin Hutchison – RHP – Jefferson County, Tenn. (Jefferson County HS)

Hutchison went 9-1 during his junior season at Jefferson County and helped pitch the Patriots to the state Class AAA sectionals … along with his impressive record on the mound, the right-hander struck out 73 batters in 69.0 innings, while registering a 1.53 ERA and held opponents to a .183 batting average in 2012 … Hutchison also earned All-PrepXtra honors, while tossing a seven-inning two-hitter with five strikeouts in Jefferson County’s Region 1-AAA semifinal win over Science Hill, 4-0 … Hutchison was named 2-AAA Pitcher of the Year, TBCA First Team All-Region, and 2-AAA All-Conference, while leading the Patriots to the IMAC regular season and tournament championship titles ... in addition to his pitching, Hutchison also hit .298 at the plate and played shortstop for the Patriots, but he will focus his duties on pitching while playing for the Bucs.

“Austin is another talented player from East Tennessee,” commented Barksdale. “He plays at Jefferson City High School under Coach Josh Warner, who formerly played for the Bucs.  Austin has a mid to upper 80s fastball and a plus curveball. Austin has a very bright future ahead of him. He should be able to pitch a lot of innings for us early in his career.”

Jamin McCann – LHP – Kingsport, Tenn. (Sullivan South High School)

McCann is a two-time all-conference selection for the Sullivan South Rebels … the Kingsport, Tenn. native was named First Team All-Big 8 in 2012 and landed Big 8 District All-Tournament Team honors as a sophomore … in 2012, McCann also participated in the TBCA Showcase for Tennessee … in May, at the District 1-AAA Tournament, McCann went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs against Daniel Boone … as a sophomore, McCann went 2-1 with 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings.

“Jamin is a local prospect from Sullivan South High School,” Barksdale said. “He has a fastball in the mid-80s that he can locate, but his best pitch is his breaking ball – it is a swing and miss type pitch that is going to give college hitters a hard time. Jamin has a huge upside and we are excited to have another talented local player in our program.”

Zach Mize – IF – Gainesville, Ga. – North Hall High School  

Mize has primarily played second base for the Trojans at North Hall High School … as a sophomore, Mize hit .413, while following that up with a .393 average with 11 doubles and two home runs last season … Mize carries a winning attitude as he helped guide the Trojans to the 2012 Regional Championship and the playoffs in 2012 as well as a trip to the second round of the playoffs in 2011.

“Zach is a very good defensive second baseman and can also be an offensive threat because of his speed,” says Barksdale. “He is a hard-nosed player who plays the game very fast. Zach also plays for Tigers Baseball in Georgia and he’s a top of the order type hitter with game changing speed.”

“Within this class all these young men fit the common theme we want in our players at ETSU,” Skole said. “The position players in this class are tough, hard-nosed type of players who play the game the right way. As far as the incoming pitchers, the common theme is they dominate the strike zone, really compete, are very athletic with good arm strength, and possess arm strength that is going to continue to improve.”

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