The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 26, 2013

17 players sign to join Crowder baseball team

NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder College, its 2013 baseball opener just around the corner, held a signing ceremony on Saturday for this year’s prep seniors planning to join the Roughriders next fall.

Crowder released the names of 17 scholar-athletes. Thirteen, surrounded by family members, signed letters of intent.

“It’s exciting to have this many players commit early,” Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said.

The states of Arkansas, Texas and Illinois as well as Missouri were represented. Plus, a foreign country — Japan.

“We’re branching out each season,” Lallemand said. “It’s part of the progression.”

There’s no doubt that Lallemand, who’s in his eighth season at Crowder, and his staff will be watching closely spring performances of the signees with this Roughrider edition loaded with veterans.

Crowder, which opens by entertaining rival Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at 2 p.m. on Feb. 6 in a single game, is ranked No. 18 after a second straight runner-up finish to Jefferson College of Hillsboro (Mo.) in the NJCAA Division I Region 16 playoffs. The Roughriders were 44-17 overall in 2012.

Arkansas schools Greenwood and Fayetteville had three and two families, respectively, come to Crowder for the event.

Greenwood seniors are Ethan Clark (primarily a right-handed pitcher), Hayden Harvey (middle infielder) and Christopher Hunt (right-handed pitcher). Brett Price, another right-handed pitcher, and middle infielder Carson Shaddy attend Fayetteville.

Shaddy’s dad, Chris, is a Carthage High School graduate. He was a shortstop at the University of Arkansas before playing pro baseball for some 10 seasons. He reached Triple A.

Hector right-handed hurler Bryant Haralson and Springdale catcher-first baseman Winston Rasmussen completed the Arkansas group.

From Missouri came Kansas City Oak Park’s William Mahnken (third base), Cabool’s Drew Pearson (catcher-outfielder) and Marshall’s Henry Tietz (infield-outfield).

Completing the signees were right-handed pitcher Branden Bohuslav (Mansfield, Texas), catcher Brady Cox (Fort Worth, Texas) and catcher-outfielder Blake Wilfong (Jerseyville, Ill.).

Those players unable to attend included an area duo in Carthage outfielder Seth Beckner and Monett left-handed pitcher Aaron Patton.

Also, unable to make it were Tokyo outfielder Hirotaka Aida and St. Jacob (Ill.) right-handed pitcher Lucas Infante.

“Hirotaka, a center fielder, is a left-handed better and will be playing in California this summer,” Lallemand said.

Lallemand said the team enters the season with “high expectations. I like our club.

“We’ll be playing one of the toughest schedules in the country, however,” Lallemand said. “Six of our opponents are ranked in the top 20.”

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