DeLand, Fla. - Stetson baseball head coach Pete Dunn has announced that he and his staff have signed seven top-quality players who will start school at Stetson next year and begin play in the 2012 season. Six of the newcomers hail from Florida, while one will be coming to DeLand from north of the border in Canada. One will be transferring from junior college and six are set to graduate high school this spring.
"I am very pleased with this recruiting class", said Dunn. "This is an athletic and versatile class with a very high ceiling."
Sam Kimmel is a 6'0", 185lb junior college transfer who is currently playing at Indian River State College under former Stetson Associate Head Coach Mitch Markham. This past summer he won the batting crown hitting .378 while playing for the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. As a freshman at IRSC he batted .370 with eight doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Kimmel graduated from Palm Beach Gardens High School where he earned three varsity letters playing baseball. He received all-conference honors each of his three years and was selected to play in the Dick Howser All-Star Game in 2008.
According to Coach Dunn, "Sam will impact the lineup immediately. He can play all the infield positions and can catch. He is a left handed hitter that profiles at the top of the batting order."
Altamonte Springs resident Tanner Blackman will graduate from Lake Brantley High School in June and then join his older brother Trey on the Hatters roster next year. Blackman is a 6'1", 190lb two-sport athlete who can play infield and outfield at the next level. He is currently a high achiever in both football and baseball for the Patriots.
"Tanner is a strong, versatile athlete. He runs very well, has power, and can play middle infield and outfield", said Dunn.
Drew Jackson is the latest addition to Stetson baseball's "Naples Delegation". When he graduates he will join current sophomore Nathan Cox, and freshmen Cameron Griffin, Kevin Lindheim, and Kyle Zech as Hatters who hail from Naples, Florida. Jackson is a 6'3", 160lb right handed pitcher who started his high school career at Naples HS before transferring to Barron Collier for his senior year. In 2009 his Golden Eagles squad finished 28-1 and won the 4A State Championship.
"Drew will come in and make an immediate impact for us", said Dunn. "He throws strikes and has a very high ceiling. Another of our outstanding Naples products."
Kyle Pitts is a 5'8", 180lb infielder who plays for Coral Springs Christian Academy in Coral Springs, Florida. Heading into his senior season he is a three-time All-Conference and All-County middle infielder and was the Team MVP in 2010. He has hit over .400 in each of his three high school seasons. Last season he batted .440 with four home runs and 33 RBI. He was 3-for-5 with a home run and six RBI in his team's win over state champion Westminster. Off the field he has made honor roll each year and is a member of the National Honor Society.
"Kyle is smart and a very good baseball player with instincts. He can play all three infield positions and is a strong right handed bat", said Dunn.
Josh Powers, a local product out of New Smyrna Beach High School is a 6'5", 205lb right handed pitcher who also plays the infield. He is a good hitter and has an ERA that has dropped each season of high school ball. Last year as a junior he batted .375 and had an ERA of 1.35. Powers tossed 12 innings in one day to win the state championship. It was the first time in school history the team had made it to states. He is an honor roll student at NSBHS.
"Josh is a big, strong right handed pitcher with huge upside. He is athletic and can play the corner infield positions too", said Dunn.
Garrett Russini is a 6'0'', 195lb catcher/outfielder who is headed into his senior season at Braden River High School in Bradenton, Florida. Garrett has earned three varsity letters as a member of the Pirates baseball team. He has also played AAU ball for the All-American Prospects and the Braden River Hurricanes. He helped the Prospects to a USA Baseball 16U National Championship under Coach Dave Parra.
According to Dunn, "Garrett is a left handed hitting catcher who is very good defensively. He will make an impact on the program offensively and defensively."
Jalen Harris is a 6'3", 210lb infielder/outfielder out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He played high school ball at Northern Secondary in Toronto and will graduate from the Lambrick Park Baseball Academy in Victoria, British Columbia in 2011. He also played for the Canadian Junior National Team that finished in 4th place at the 2010 Worlds. In 2010 he batted .563 with seven doubles, two triples, and two home runs. On June 20, 2010 he hit for the cycle with a grand slam.
"Jalen is extremely athletic. He can play the corners in both the infield and outfield. He will make an immediate impact both offensively and defensively", said Dunn.
This is another solid recruiting class for head coach Pete Dunn who has 31 seasons under his belt at the helm of the Hatters baseball program. In his time he has guided the team to seven Atlantic Sun Conference championships and 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.