Freshman class could impact ASU
By Steve Behr
Appalachian State baseball coach Chris Pollard looks at the upcoming Major League Baseball Amateur Draft with anticipation and with some worry.
Ardrey Kell centerfielder Ryan Stetson is one of several ASU recruits who could make an impact in 2010. Photo by Steve Behr
Pollard looks forward to the draft because three of his players, third baseman Isaac Harrow, center fielder Rand Smith and relief pitcher Zach Quate, have received interest from pro scouts.
Pollard also looks at the draft with some concern, since a couple of its recruits could also be drafted. Nate Hyatt, a hard-throwing right-hander from Brevard High School has drawn some interest. So has Starmount ace Tyler Jackson, a 6-foot-4 left-hander whose fastball has been clocked around 90 miles per hour.
Jackson struck out 20 batters in a 1-0 no-hitter he tossed against Surry Central in April. He also struck out 16 in a game against North Wilkes and 11 in a game against Ashe County.
“Both could be a big part of our rotation,” Pollard said of the two. “They have high velocity, power-type arms. We’re excited about both being at Appalachian.”
The draft was little more than an afterthought until last year, when the Mountaineers sent three players to major league organizations. Pitcher Garrett Sherrill was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers, outfielder Jason Rook by the Baltimore Orioles, and David Rubinstein by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
So Pollard will be keeping an eye on the draft, which is June 9-11.
“Right now, we’re making sure that everything is fine for our incoming players,” Pollard said.
Appalachian State could be a very young team next year should everybody they signed report to campus next fall. Ardrey Kell outfielder Ryan Stetson is still playing in the state 4-A playoffs after the Knights beat Providence, the home of future ASU outfielder Tyler Zupcic, and then South Caldwell Tuesday night.
Stetson, Zupcic and Butler catcher Tyler Tewell are three of 16 North Carolina players selected to play in a three-game all-star game against 16 South Carolina players June 11-13 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Tewell was named the Charlotte area’s High School Baseball Player of the Year in the second annual Greater Charlotte Hot Stove League Dinner back on Jan. 24.
Hyatt, Tewell and shortstop William Head from Asheville will represent the West team in the West-East All-Star game to be played this summer. Head stole 46 bases for Asheville this spring, five short of the state record, and 100 in his prep career.
The exciting thing is that this will allow us to have the fastest team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Pollard said of his recruits. We’ll be an aggressive team. These are guys who can really run. It will probably be the most athletic we’ve been since I’ve been here.”
Appalachian State first baseman David Towar-nicky was named to ESPN The Magazine’s academic All-America team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Towarnicky, a junior from New Bern, finished with a 4.0 grade point average as a double major in banking and finance and risk management. He also has a minor in international business.
Towarnicky hit .328 with 12 doubles, a triple, four home runs and had 35 RBIs this year for the Mountaineers. He earned all SoCon Tournament honors after hitting .65 (5-for-8) with three RBIs in three games.
Towarnicky also made just three errors in 486 chances this year. He is the first ASU baseball player to receive academic All-America recognition since 1984, when second baseman Jamie Harris was a first-team honoree.