McNeese Baseball signs 6 to NLI

Baseball Signees

by Hunter Bower

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese State baseball head coach Justin Hill announced the addition of six new players on Monday who will take to Cowboy Diamond in Spring 2015.  The new Cowboys signed National Letters of Intent in conjunction with the NCAA early signing period last Wednesday.

Three of the signees will come from the high school ranks while the other three will make the transition from junior college play.

"This is a great start to our 2014 recruiting class," said Hill.  Each one of these young men not only fill needs for us on the baseball field but they exemplify what we look for in our student athletes.  They are all very good students and of very high character.  I know that they will represent our university and our community with class both on and off of the field.  I know that I speak for our staff when I say that we are very excited that each one of these guys decided to become a Cowboy.

Clay Brast – RHP – Houston, TX – Navarro College

Spent last two seasons at Navarro College under coach Whoa Dill… Recorded a 2-0 record with 18 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 16.1 innings pitched with Nevada Griffons summer team… 4 year letterman at Spring Woods HS in Houston… Named to the 2012 all -istrict team as a pitcher… 2010 second team all-district at second base… 2009 second team all-district at second base.

Hill on Brast: "Clay will come to us after 2 years playing for Whoa Dill at Navarro.  He is a RHP and we feel like he will come in and log a significant amount of innings from day 1.  He has a quick arm and will flash some velocity with good command of his secondary stuff.  Another great thing about Clay is that he has the ability to fill different roles because he has the stuff to be a starter or a closer."

Harry Chairs – OF/LHP – Kenner, LA – John Curtis Christian School

Left-handed pitcher who finished with a 6-0 record and a 0.72 ERA for the 2013 Patriots…  Playing in the outfield when not on the mound, his batting average was .393 in 2012, .359 in 2013, and .361 on the Curtis American Legion team last summer…  His on-base percentage was .528 both years on the varsity.

Hill on Chairs: "Harry is an exciting athlete to watch and his best years are no question in front of him.  We feel like, with his skill set, that he can become a special player during his time in Lake Charles.  He will have a chance to help us in the outfield as well as on the mound."

Connor Crane – 1B – Parker, CO – Lamar CC

Spent last two seasons at Lamar CC… Finished 2013 season with .369 batting average with six home runs, 45 RBI, 13 doubles and a triple.

Hill on Crane: "We expect Connor to come in and hit in the middle of our lineup right away.  He will give us an immediate physical presence in the lineup with the ability to drive in runs.  He will come to us after playing 2 years for Scott Crampton at Lamar.  The fact that he will show up with plenty of college at bats under his belt is something that should help his transition to the Southland Conference."

Bryce Packard – INF – Houston, TX – Episcopal HS

Hill on Packard: ""Bryce comes to us from a successful high school program and knows what it takes to win.  He plays the game hard and never takes a play off.  When you watch him play you really appreciate the way he plays the game because of the energy he brings to the table on every pitch. He should fit in nicely in the middle infield for us."

Joe Provenzano – INF – Downers Grove, IL – Downers Grove North HS

Finished 2013 season with a .359 batting average for Downers Grove North HS… Had 37 hits in 103 at bats and scored 26 runs… Hit two home runs, 13 doubles and drove in 23 runners… Selected 2013 all-conference… Named to 17U WWBA all-tournament team… 2012 & 2013 Perfect Game Underclass Honoranle Mention… Named to honor roll all three years along with being placed on 4.0 and above honor roll… Grandfather played baseball at University of Illinois

Hill on Provenzano: "Joe is a guy that we feel can be an offensive minded infielder.  He hits from the left side and has a knack for finding his barrel.  He is very advanced as a hitter for someone his age and just knows how to hit.  We feel like he can play either 2b or 3b and will give us a left handed hitting option in the infield. "

Austin Sanders – LHP – Olathe, KS – Cowley College

Spent one year at Wichita State before transferring to Cowley College… Pitched for Topeka Golden Giants summer team

Hill on Sanders: "Quality left handed pitching is always a necessity when you are putting a roster together and we feel like we have a great one in Austin.  He will come in after playing his first year at Wichita St and his second year for Coach Dave Burroughs at Cowley.  Austin has a loose and easy arm and even though he is a transfer he is just scratching the surface of his potential.  He should impact our staff from the day he steps on campus."