Nov. 20, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University baseball head coach Jeff Waggoner announced its 2010 signing class, which includes nine players to join the Thundering Herd baseball squad for the 2011 season on Friday, Nov. 20.
The class includes nine players from eight different states, five currently playing in high school, while the remaining four are at junior college. Seven-of-the-nine players are pitchers, two of which could also see time in the batter’s box in 2011.
“Coaches Tim Donnelly and Joe Renner did an outstanding job of reaching our goals with this recruiting class,” Waggoner said. “We had an outstanding position player oriented class a year ago and have complemented that with a talented group of pitchers, along with four highly skilled fielders.”
The MU 2010 signing class includes: Aaron Blair, Ryan Butler, Ethan Cole, Ryan Etsell, Louie Helmburg, Erin McGee, Damian Rivera, Aaron Rosborough and Steven Ross.
Aaron Blair – INF/RHP – 6’4/215lbs – Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley HS
Blair is right hander who was named first team All-Southwest Division and second team All-Sunset Conference pitcher in his junior campaign at Spring Valley HS. The righty posted a perfect 7-0 record on the bump, totaling 57 innings and four complete games. Blair recorded 75 punch outs along with a 2.95 ERA.
At the plate, Blair hit at a .370 clip, while knocking in 31 runs and totaled 13 extra-base hits.
In the fall of 2009, Blair pitched for the Angels Elite Scout Team where he went 4-1 on the hill with a 2.43 ERA. He tallied 41 strikeouts in 31.2 innings of work. Blair also pitched for the Ohio Warhawks in the WWBA Championships in Juniper, Fla.
“We feel that Aaron can be a possible two-way player for us,” Waggoner said. “He throws 86 to 90 mph on the hill and he has tremendous bat speed at the plate. We look for great things out of him next year.”
Ryan Butler – RHP – 6’5/170lbs – Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell HS
Butler was the winning pitcher for Ardrey Kell HS in the 2009 West Regional series rubber game over North Davidson HS. The right hander turned around and tossed a four-hit shutout against Raleigh Sanderson HS in the State Finals series clincher. For his efforts on the mound, Butler was named MVP of the State Championship tournament.
Butler owns a 12-2 record and 1.84 ERA in his first two seasons with the Knights.
He was selected to play in the NC State Games on the District 6 team, which were held at UNC Greensboro in June of 2009. Butler earned a win in the first game as his team would capture the Gold Medal in the tournament.
“Ryan comes from one of the best high school programs in the state of North Carolina,” Waggoner said. “All the kid does is win and the 6-foot-5-inch right hander won the State Championship last year. We feel he will get better and better as his body fills out.”
Ethan Cole – RHP/3B – 6’0/180lbs – Austin, Texas/Northeast Texas C.C.
Cole attended Ranger College in Texas during the Spring of 2008 prior to transferring to Northeast Texas C.C. At Ranger College, Cole hit for a .350 batting average, while slugging four homers and recording 28 RBI.
Cole finished with a 3-4 record in nine starts at Ranger. He recorded 23 strikeouts in 41 innings on the mound.
“He is a right hander with a big league breaking ball,” Waggoner said. “The kid has a great curve ball and we are very excited about him on the mound. He is a left-handed hitter with great bat speed and gap-to-gap power as a possible two-way player for us.”
Ryan Etsell – RHP – 6’5/170lbs – Philadelphia, Pa./Northeast Catholic HS
Etsell earned numerous accolades during his junior season at Northeast Catholic HS. In 2009 he earned All-City honors, first team All-Catholic as a pitcher and infielder, Northeast Times Baseball Player of the Year, Carpenter Cup Catholic League team and was selected to the Area Code Tournament Team in Boston, Mass.
He finished the 2009 season with 7-1 record on the rubber, in 56 innings with a 1.50 ERA. Etsell registered 78 strikeouts to just 11 walks.
At the plate, Etsell hit .438, including a pair of doubles and homers last season.
“Ryan has great upside as both a pitcher and outfielder for us,” Waggoner said. “We feel that once he gets in our strength and conditioning program he can make a major contributor.”
Louie Helmburg – C – 6’0/200lbs – Nicholasville, Ky./West Jessamine HS
Helmburg earned a spot on the 12th All-Region team along with being voted to the Kentucky Junior All-State team after an impressive junior season for the Jessamine HS Colts.
During his junior season, Helmburg hit .395 and totaled 32 RBI. Behind the plate, the catcher was even more impressive throwing out 32-of-39 (.821) attempted base stealers.
“Louie is a catch and throw guy out of Kentucky that is great defensively,” Waggoner said. “He is one of the top defensive catchers in the state of Kentucky and is going to bring a lot of energy and leadership from behind the plate.”
Erin McGee – RHP – 6’0/180lbs – Bella Vista, Ark./Maple Woods C.C. (Mo.)
McGee pitched for Bentonville HS before enrolling at Maple Woods C.C. in Missouri. The righty earned 7A Pitcher of the Year, All-Conference and All-Playoff team honors at Bentonville.
In 2009 at Maple Woods C.C., McGee compiled a 3-2 record and two saves. He recorded 11 strikeouts in 17 innings of work. Entering this year, Cole has maintained a 3.0 GPA.
“McGee is a strike thrower with great stuff,” Waggoner said. “He should make an immediate impact at the back end of the bullpen.”
Damian Rivera – LHP – 6’1/190lbs – Miami, Fla./Braddock HS
Rivera has pitched three seasons at Braddock HS, where he has been named third team All-Dade County and was an All-Dade county honorable mention selection on two occasions.
Last season, Rivera worked 44 innings to earn a 5-2 record on the bump. He held opponents batting average to .228, while compiling a 2.23 ERA.
“Damian is one of the best high school lefties in the country,” Waggoner said. “He can throw 87 to 89mph, can throw three different pitches for strikes and really knows how to pitch.”
Aaron Rosborough – RHP – 6’1/190lbs – Plano, Texas/Seminole State College (Okla.)
Rosborough is a right hander that was sidelined for the 2009 season due to season-ending injury. In the spring of 2008, he finished a perfect 3-0 with 17 strikeouts in 27 innings on the hill. He currently holds a 3.52 GPA.
“Aaron is a bull dog on the mound,” Waggoner said. “He is going to bring a lot of experience coming from a great Seminole program. We look for him to play a major role next year.”
Steven Ross – OF – 6’4/220lbs – Overland Park, Kan./Maple Woods C.C. (Mo.)
Ross spent last year at Maple Woods Community College (Mo.) where he was named first team JUCO All-Region 16. The outfielder led his team in batting average (.408), hits (75), runs (55), homers (13), RBI (67), walks (29), total bases (138) and slugging percentage (.750).
“Ross was one of the best junior college players in the country last year,” head coach Jeff Waggoner said. “He has a great combination of power and speed, which allows him to play any position in the outfield. He can come in and contribute in the middle of the lineup immediately. “