Fans of the Stetson baseball team will see plenty of new faces when the Hatters take the field this spring. A group of 16 newcomers, including 12 true freshmen and four transfers from five different states and Canada, will take the field as Stetson begins its quest for an 18th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013.
"We're extremely excited about the incoming class," Head Coach Pete Dunn said. "We have a good mix as most of them are incoming freshmen, but we've had some JuCo kids come in that are going to give us some stability and some experience within the recruiting class."
Nine of the 16 new players hail from the state of Florida, three of which are transfers. Outfielder Jake Pequignot (Miami, Fla.), whose father and uncle both played for the Hatters in the 80s, comes to Stetson after one year at the Community College of Baltimore County Essex.
Infielder K'Shawn Smith (Dover, Fla.) and outfielder Mike Fernland (Ocala, Fla.) are a pair of junior transfers from the Sunshine State. The former played at Indian River State for two seasons - and was selected in the 23rd Round of the MLB Draft after his first season - while the latter spent a year at Miami-Dade College and a year at Marion Military Institute.
Tyler Bocock (Harrisburg, Va.), who like Pequignot will come to Stetson as a sophomore, played one season at Chipola College batting .341 with 30 runs batted in. Bocock's cousin Brian played at Stetson from 2003-06. Hailing from Virginia, Bocock is one of four newcomers who are the only incoming Hatter that hails from his own state or country.
Matt Brandys (Geneva, Ill.) of Illinois, Adam Schaly (Ashland, Ohio) of Ohio, and Konner Lutz (Alberta, Canada) of Canada are the other three. Schaly is the most decorated newcomer to the Stetson squad, earning All-America honors from Baseball America, ABCA, and Louisville Slugger earlier this year.
Patrick Mazeika (Wilbraham, Mass.), one of three new Hatters from the state of Massachusetts, also earned Preseason All-America Honorable Mention honors before his senior season at the Salisbury School. Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.), and Garrison Banas (Hadley, Mass.) round out the crew from The Bay State.
The final six new freshmen come from here in Florida; Kevin Fagan (Boca Raton, Fla.), Carlos Garmendia (Miami, Fla.), Josh Thorne (Stuart, Fla.), Matt Pisciottano (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Brandon Diaz (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), and Frankie Romano (Cape Coral, Fla.).
Fagan and Garmendia were both chosen during this summer's MLB Draft. The former was selected in the 39th round by the San Francisco Giants, while the latter was picked in the 19th round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Both decided to postpone their professional careers to play with the Hatters as freshmen in 2013.
"Obviously we lost a lot of players to the draft and graduation," Dunn continued. "So it's going to be a real challenge to take these new kids and blend them in with our returning players to put together an extremely competitive team this spring."
It will all start with fall practice, which begins in early October. A game against Baseball Canada's Junior National Team and the annual Hatters Series will highlight Stetson's fall before gearing up for the spring season. Baseball Canada will come to play at Melching Field on October 20th, while the Hatter Series will follow sometime in early November.
"This fall session will be very important to get the young kids' feet on the ground, get them to learn the philosophy, and get them to mesh with the returning players," Dunn concluded. "This fall is going to be extremely critical to our success this spring."