The word is out about the successful Western Nevada College baseball team. This year's recruiting class will be the largest ever for the program, as 21 student-athletes have made commitments to the Wildcats for the 2012-2013 season. Most of them have already inked their national letters of intent in the NJCAA signing period that opened January 15.
According to Head Coach DJ Whittemore, the group is also one of the best classes to date. "We think we have successfully recruited an extremely talented group of student-athletes," he said.
Twenty-one players from five states have made commitments to the Wildcats for the 2012-2013 season. Included are five pitchers, six outfielders, nine infielders, and a catcher. Players hail from throughout Nevada, as well as Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
"I think as a program we have finally turned the corner in terms of having a reputation that precedes us in the recruiting process," Whittemore said. "With just 12 freshman on the roster this spring, we have a number of holes to fill for next fall."
Meet the recruits, as described by Coach Whittemore:
Tyler Baker - Shortstop/Second base from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. "Tyler has great range and good speed, with a short left-handed stroke. He plays for the #1 ranked high school team in the country and has already won two state championships."
Nick Dimitrovich - Shortstop/Catcher/Right-handed pitcher from Carson High School in Carson City. "Nick has great tools to play the game - he is blessed with good speed, left-handed power, and a strong arm. He has the versatility to play anything from catcher to center field."
Effie Garcia - Right-handed pitcher from Cimarron Memorial High School in Las Vegas. "Effie is a big, strong right-handed pitcher with good velocity and an excellent breaking ball."
Braiden Gray - Left-handed pitcher from Bonanza High School in Las Vegas. "Braiden is a lanky left hander who has had enormous success in high school. He is a strike thrower who has good movement and plenty of room to grow into his 6'3" frame. Braiden is an excellent teammate and a proven winner with maturity in the classroom, on the field, and in life."
Connor Klein - Third baseman from Sierra Vista High School Las Vegas. "Connor is a physical corner infielder with power from the left side. More importantly he is a 4.0 student with great work habits and outstanding knowledge of the game. Also, Connor will be the first player in our program whose brother also played at WNC. Older brother Brooks graduated from Western last year and now plays for the University of Nevada, Reno.
Christian Stolo - Centerfielder/Left-handed pitcher from McQueen High School in Reno. "Christian is possibly the best all-around player in Northern Nevada this year. He has a nice loose swing from the left side and good range in center field. He also is a great competitor on the mound."
Zane Bambush - Right-handed pitcher from Sunset High School in Portland, Ore. "Zane has a great arm and a great slider. He is a two-way player for his high school team and is one of the top players in the top league in Oregon's 6A classification - The Metro League.
Matt Becker - Center fielder/Left-handed pitcher from Puyallup High School in Washington. "Matt is possibly the best athlete in the class. An outstanding football player with great speed, he is one of the top SPARQ scorers from the entire Northwest. Matt is capable of pitching as well as playing centerfield in college, and may be the rare two player."
Jake Bennett - Outfielder from Forest Grove High School in Oregon. "Jake is a three sport star. He led his team in tackles on the gridiron, won the state championship in wrestling, and was named the Pac-8 conference player of the year - as a junior! In addition to his talent, he is an excellent student, a very hard worker, and a great teammate. On the field he has good left handed power and moves easily to the ball in the outfield."
Tyler Bennett - Third baseman/right-handed pitcher from Grants Pass High School, Ore. "Tyler has a great arm, good speed, and lots of bat speed. He is a multiple sport athlete. We feel Tyler will be one of the top players in his conference this spring."
Tyler Campbell - Shortstop from Lake Oswego High School, Portland, Ore. "Tyler has a great track record of being one of the best infielders in the state of Oregon. He has been a varsity starter since his sophomore year and plays in a great HS program for Coach Anders. He is a division 1 caliber player that is looking to start as a freshman. We feel he has the tools to do just that!"
Rex Carlin - Third baseman from Bothell HS, Seattle. "Rex has good power and a good arm, too. He can play the left side of the infield as well as pitch. He plays in the best conference in Washington, along with fellow recruit Spencer Greer. We are extremely excited that Rex chose our program for his future."
Joey Crunkilton - Outfielder from Puyallup High School in Washington. "Joey is a teammate of Matt Becker's and also plays summer ball for En Fuego. The Wildcats have three players from En Fuego currently on their roster. Joey's talent is his ability to hit. He is a pure left-hand hitter who possesses both power and the ability to hit from average. We expect Joey to hit in the middle of the lineup next year."
Alex Fife - Centerfielder from Jordan High School in Salt Lake City. "Alex is an outstanding talent with a balanced left handed swing that produces good gap power. He is a very polished hitter coming out of the famed Utah Baseball Academy, which has produced countless college and professional stars. Alex is the type of player who can make an immediate impact on our lineup as a freshman."
Spencer Greer - Right-handed pitcher from Woodinville High School in Seattle. "Spencer plays for one of the premier summer teams in the entire country - Taylor Baseball. He also plays in the most talented high school baseball conference in the Northwest - KingCo 4A. He is a huge presence on the mound at 6'6 and 230, and has excellent command as well."
Jack Hall - Infielder/Outfielder from Bonneville High School in Utah. "Jack is one of the top players in the entire state of Utah. He has great strength, speed, and power. He is a throwback player who grinds every day. Because of his great athleticism he can play almost anywhere on the field. Jack is a former teammate of current Wildcat pitcher Evan Parker."
Jake Lessel - Left-handed pitcher from Churchill High School in Eugene, Ore. "Jake is one of the top left-handed pitchers we have ever recruited at WNC. He is big and strong and has a great arm along with excellent command of the three pitches.
Nate Namanny - Left-handed pitcher from South Medford High School, Ore.
"Nate plays summer ball for the Medford Mustangs which in the past has provided our program with some of our top talent. He is a proven winner on the mound who has great command of all his pitches. He is a tireless worker - currently working with WNC graduate and all-time Wildcat great Cole Rohrbough."
Corey Pool - Third baseman/right-handed pitcher from Southridge High School in Portland, Ore. "Corey is a perfect fit in our program. He comes from a powerhouse high school program, has a blue collar work ethic, understands the value of getting an education, and has immense talent on the field. Corey has a strong arm with good line drive power. He was a member of the 2006 Murray Hill All-Star team that finished third in the Little League World Series."
Colby Rice - Catcher from West Salem High School in Salem Ore.
"Colby has enormous passion for baseball and competition. He is an excellent defensive catcher with a great arm. He has a great opportunity to be the everyday signal caller for the Wildcats next spring."
Tony Roque - Shortstop from Bishop Kelly High School in Boise. "Tony played at WNC this past fall from Gary Van Tol's scout team and was very impressive. Tony has all the tools to be a great college shortstop but perhaps his biggest asset is his passion for the game, and his infectious energy and non-stop battery. He has a tremendous love of the game and works just as hard in the classroom as he does the baseball field."