JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (September 13, 2011) – Following one of the most successful seasons in ETSU baseball history, the Buccaneers began preparations for the 2012 season when they returned to the diamond for fall practice.
The Bucs kicked off fall practice last Wednesday and held scrimmages over the weekend. Practices are being held at Joe O’Brien Field, the home of the Elizabethton Twins, for the entire fall practice schedule.
Fall practice will culminate with the annual Blue and Gold Fall World Series that will take place in the middle of October.
ETSU returns 20 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished with a 36-21 overall record. In addition, the Bucs have added nine newcomers to the team. Below is some information on the ETSU newcomers.
Zach Thompson – INF – 5-9 – 170 – Science Hill HS (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Helped lead the Hilltoppers to a 20-6 record in 2011 under head coach Ryan Edwards...Hit .453 with 8 home runs and 35 RBIs as a senior…Earned Johnson City Press Super 22 First-Team honors following his senior season…Recorded eight triples in 2008 to rank as the seventh most in Tennessee State High School history for a single season…Named to the 2010 All-NET Baseball team after hitting .393 with 8 home runs and 53 RBI…Was named to the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association (TBCA) All-Region Team following his senior season, while also earning Second-Team All-State honors.
Will Carter – INF/RHP – 6-3 – 170 – Science Hill HS (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Helped lead the Hilltoppers to a 20-6 record in 2011 under head coach Ryan Edwards…Earned Johnson City Press Super 22 First-Team honors following his senior season...Went 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA as a senior, while striking out 35 in 36.2 innings of work…Pitched 12 shutout innings while helping the East Cobb Yankees to a runner-up finish in the World Wood Bat Association’s 18-under tournament in Atlanta.
Jake Long – RHP – 6-0 – 185 – Spartanburg Methodist College (Anderson, S.C.)
Finished 5-2 with a stellar 1.64 ERA in a team-high 49.1 innings during the 2011 season at Spartanburg Methodist…Recorded a team-best 48 strikeouts with just 15 walks…Was a 2010 Second-Team Independent Mail All-Area selection at T.L. Hanna High School…Was a North-South selection following his senior season…Finished 5-1 with a 2.32 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 48.3 innings during senior season.
Chris Riopedre – INF – 5-9 – 170 – Monsignor Pace HS (Cooper City, Fla.)
Was named Third-Team All-Dade Country following his senior season…Excelled for the Spartans as he averaged .380 at the plate in his first three seasons with 10 home runs...A Second Team All-County selection in 2010, Riopedre helped guide Archbishop McCarthy High School to its first-ever Florida State Tournament appearance...Riopedre was invited to take part in both the MLB summer workouts and the Chicago White Sox Showcase, and also played for the prestigious Team Marruci…Was named to Perfect Game Florida Honorable Mention All-High School Team.
Kuehl McEachern – RHP – 6-3 – 190 – Eustis HS (Mt. Dora, Fla.)
Was named Florida Region Honorable Mention in 2011 by Perfect Game…Was 6-0 with a 0.70 ERA during his senior season…Also hit .372 with 2 homeruns and 26 RBIs…In 2010, McEachern was named the Orlando Sentinel Player of the Week. McEachern is a member of the Chet Lemon’s Juice travel team and has helped the team win the George Steinbrenner Inaugural Classic and Perfect Game World Wood Bat Tournament.
Jordan Sanford – INF – 6-2 – 185 – Powell HS (Powell, Tenn.)
Was named Southeast Region Honorable Mention by Perfect Game…Was named All-Region in 2010 and All-District in 2009 and 2010. The Powell,Tenn.native also received Super Sophomore and Freshmen Team honors from the Knoxville New Sentinel. As a junior,Sanfordhit .407 with five home runs, 39 RBI and 19 stolen bases.Sanfordalso was named to the Perfect Game Pre-season All-American Honorable Mention Team in 2010.
Jimmy Nesselt – LHP – 6-2 – 225 – American Heritage School (Plantation, Fla.)
A four-year letterwinner for head coach Todd Fitzgerald at American Heritage School…Helped lead the Patriots to 105 combined wins during his four years on the squad, including a state and national championship in 2008…Earned first-team all-county and second-team all-state in both 2010 and 2011…Was named first-team all-county and third-team all-state in 2009…Played in the Sebring All Star Game following his senior season…Finished his career with 207 innings pitched and a 29-5 record…Had 246 strikeouts and just 43 walks, while finishing with an impressive 1.84 ERA.
Mason Hershey – C – 6-2 – 225 – Potomac State JC (Altoona, Pa.)
Helped lead Potomac to the 2011 NJCAA World Series, where they lost in the semifinals …Finished his JUCO career hitting .278 while gaining a reputation for being an outstanding defensive catcher
Shade Jett – INF – 6-2 – 220 – Jefferson County HS (Dandridge, Tenn.)
Was named to the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association (TBCA) All-Region Team in 2011… Led Jefferson County to a school record 31 wins and a District 2-AAA tournament championship in 2011.
For more information on ETSU baseball please go to ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.