Johnson City, Tenn. - East Tennessee State's baseball team has signed six recruits to national letters of intent to attend ETSU and play baseball for the Bucs next season head coach Tony Skole announced today. Signing with the Bucs are Beau Alford (Johnson City, Tenn.), Justin Benard (Erwin, Tenn.), Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.), Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.), Boodle Clark (Bristol, Tenn.) and Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.).
Alford, a left-handed pitcher/outfielder, and Byrne, a right-handed pitcher/infielder both attend Science Hill High School. Alford threw a perfect game last season and struck out 98 in 72.1 innings, winning nine games. Byrne owns a career record of 9-0 with a 0.86 ERA on the mound. A switch hitter, he batted .350 last season. "We are very excited to have players from Bernie Young's fine program at Science Hill," said Skole. "Beau has been one of the top pitchers in the state for two years now. He is a tremendous competitor and simply knows how to win. Shane has developed into one of the finer high school athletes in Tennessee. He is extremely talented and can do many things well. His potential is unlimited."
Benard is a catcher at Unicoi High School where he hit .415 last season with 12 home runs and 42 RBI. He was a first team All-Wautauga Conference selection and was a Johnson City Press Super 22 selection. "We definitely believe Justin is one of the top high school hitters in the area and the state of Tennessee," said Skole. We look for him to rapidly develop into an offensive force in the Southern Conference."
Calicutt, a left-handed pitcher/outfielder is a three-sport standout at Dorman High School in Spartanburg and has been rated as the top left-handed pitcher in South Carolina. Last season he went 9-0 with a 2.27 ERA. He also hit .375 and helped Dorman to the state championship game. "We are extremely pleased to have landed a player of Steven's ability," said Skole. "He is a tremendous overall athlete and will definitely have an immediate impact on our success."
Clark, a right-handed pitcher/shortstop, is a two-time all-state player at Tennessee High School. Last year he went 9-2 on the mound with 99 strikeouts in 67 innings while also hitting .381 with six home runs and 25 RBI. He has been ranked by Baseball America as one of the top-10 prospects in Tennessee and has a fastball that has been clocked at 91 mph. "Boodle has an opportunity to be a very special player at ETSU," said Skole. "He is a tremendous competitor and blessed with a tremendous amount of ability. He will definitely be one of the most exciting players to watch in our program and could be one of the top players in the Southern Conference."
Hall is a right-handed pitcher at Daniel Boone High School. He has been clocked as high as 92 mph with his fastball and was 5-3 with 80 strikeouts in 49.1 innings last season. He was rated as the number one prospect at the prestigious TEAM ONE Midwest Showcase and is currently ranked as the No. 8 prospect in Tennessee and No. 148 in the nation by Baseball America. He has also been a Johnson City Press Super 22 selection the past two seasons. "Jeremy is the most highly touted and decorated recruit
to ever sign at ETSU," said Skole. "He has been very highly recognized over the summer and fall as one of the top prospects in the U.S. He possesses all the intangibles to have an outstanding career at ETSU.
"We are extremely excited about this early recruiting class. Two years ago when we arrived on campus and put together our recruiting play, we targeted this senior class when they were sophomores. It has been a goal since out arrival to get the best players in the Tri-Cities to stay close to home and come to ETSU. These young men are a great representation of that goal. We believe this group of young men are the most highly decorated and celebrated baseball recruiting class in ETSU history. All of them are ranked very high in numerous publications as being the top prospects in the respective state and the entire U.S. We are very fortunate and proud that these young men chose ETSU over some other very fine baseball programs. This group is obviously talented, but more importantly they are great kids and come from great families. We are looking forward to the impact they will have on our program."
This recruiting class is a great testament to the hard work of my assistant coaches, Nathan Goulet and David Shelton. We take a great amount of pride in our recruiting and those tow individuals, along with our players, deserve all the credit for attracting such high-quality players to our campus. We sincerely believe it is an honor and a privilege to be a baseball player at ETSU, and we hop we can continue to attract those special, high-quality individuals."