Valparaiso University head baseball coach Tracy Woodson has announced the six members of the incoming recruiting class that have signed National Letters of Intent to join the program for the 2010-2011 season.
“We are extremely pleased with this early signing group,” Woodson said. “All of these young men are quality individuals as well as outstanding young baseball players. This recruiting class includes several highly ranked baseball players out of Illinois and Indiana and I am very excited to have the opportunity to coach each of them. We look forward to working together to achieve our goal of winning the Horizon League Championship and competing against the best teams in the country. I know they are enthusiastic about joining the Valparaiso Crusader athletic family as we are thrilled to have them join our program. The future is very bright for Valpo baseball.”
Joining the program are Brad Benbow, Jake McMahan, Michael Morman, Ryan Scarpetta, Kevin Upp, and Cyrus Wimberly.
Benbow, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, left-handed hitting first basemen from Delta High School in Eaton, Ind., tallied 34 RBIs and six homeruns while batting .354 his junior season. A First Team All-Hoosier Heritage Conference selection, he participated in the 2009 All-Indiana Crossroads Series.
“Brad is a power left-handed bat who can drive in runs,” Woodson said. “This kid just loves playing the game. Brad was a member of the Indiana Bulls so we know he has faced the best competition around.”
McMahan, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound, right-handed hitting third baseman from LaPorte High School in LaPorte, Ind., hit .389 with five homeruns and 29 RBIs his junior season. A versatile athlete, McMahan can play third base, shortstop and the outfield.
“Jake may become
one of our biggest surprises,” added Woodson. “He has continued to get better each year
which gets us very excited about what he may do here at Valpo. He has the chance to hit some homeruns for
Morman, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound, right-handed hitting outfielder, hit .448 with seven homeruns and 25 RBIs during his junior season at Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, Ill. He is a First Team All NIC-10 selection and ranked No.61 in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report. Morman, a three sport athlete at Boylan, was also named Offensive Player of the Year for NIC-10 in football this fall.
“Michael is an athlete excelling in all three sports in high school,” said Woodson. “His baseball skills will really grow once he begins concentrating on baseball full time. He is a natural athlete who can really swing the bat.”
Scarpetta, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound, right-handed pitcher and corner infielder, is ranked No. 9 in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report. A First Yeam All NIC-10 selection, Scarpetta was 6-2 with a 1.50 ERA on the mound as well as hitting .320 with seven homeruns and 39 RBIs during his junior season at Rockton Hononegah High School in Rockford, Ill.
“Ryan possesses an 88-90 mph fastball,” Woodson said. “We are expecting big things from him both offensively and on the mound. He is from a family with a long history of baseball and has a natural way in which he plays the game which we definitely are looking forward to seeing progress here.”
Upp, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound, right-handed pitcher, was a First-Team All-Duneland Conference selection for LaPorte High School in LaPorte, Ind. with an 8-3 record and 88 strikeouts in 61.1 innings pitched last season. He is ranked No. 35 in Indiana by Prep Baseball Report.
“Kevin has a huge upside and we are excited about how good he can be down the road,” added Woodson. “He throws hard with a good breaking ball and changeup. We think he will be able to contribute right away for us.”
Wimberly, an athletic 6-foot, 180-pound, shortstop and right-handed pitcher from Rockford Guilford High School in Rockford, Ill. is one of the top two-way prospects in the state of Illinois and is ranked No. 40 in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report. A First Team All NIC-10 selection, Wimberly hit .444 along with 26 stolen bases offensively while posting a record of 5-4 on the mound with 79 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched his junior season.
“Cyrus may be one of the most athletic and versatile players that we have ever had at Valpo,” concluded Woodson. “He possesses an upper 80’s fast ball and can play almost any position on the field. His raw talent gives us reason to be extremely excited.”