Five prep standouts sign with baseball Bobcats
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2011-01-18 16:15:45
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Winning always helps when it comes to recruiting.
Throw in a new, $2.8 million baseball facility and it is easy to see why Christian Ostrander was all smiles Tuesday morning.
“Obviously, we are very proud of the success we’ve had the past two years,” the third-year head coach said. “We’ve won 74 games. We wanted to get off to a good start and change the perception a little bit and it could not have worked out any better than it has. The main reason is we’ve had some great players who have bought in to what we are doing and they have played the game the right way.”
The Bobcats are trying to capitalize on that success by signing more top-flight talent. Five standouts, including four in-district players, signed with the Bobcats during a signing ceremony in the Media Room of the C.L. Neill Student Center.
Brady McBride of Northeast Jones, Benji Sullivan of South Jones, Stanley Farrar of Wayne County, Codey Minter of Perry Central and Taylor Nunez of Salmen High School in Slidell, La., signed with the Bobcats. McBride and Farrar are left-handed pitchers, Nunez is a right-handed pitcher, Sullivan is a shortstop and Minter is a catcher.
Ostrander said the Bobcats went after a few specific needs with the addition of those five players.
“In baseball, you are always looking to help yourself up the middle,” he said. “We got three arms – two left-handed pitchers and a right-handed pitcher – a catcher, which is important in the middle, and a shortstop, which is the hub of it all.
“We are very excited these guys. Anytime you can feel good about what you have up the middle every year, it takes a lot of pressure off of your defense.”
Ostrander said each of the signees brings several strengths to the table.
“Brady can pitch and play first base,” he said. “We like his arm and we really like his bat. He’s got a lot of juice and a lot of pop and that’s hard to come by these days. We feel like we are getting a two-for-one deal with Brady. Benji is an excellent shortstop. We’ve gotten to know him these last three years through our fall league camps and that relationship has kind of fostered. We’ve just seen him grow and develop as a player. We like his glove and his bat.
“We are very excited about Stanley. He has a very live arm from the left side and he does not know how to throw it straight, which is a good thing. He has a good fastball and slider. I think we will continue to see him blossom and grow as a pitcher. Codey is a left-handed, hitting catcher. He has a chance to be a pretty good offensive player, but we think he is the total package. We think he can block it, throw it, control the running game and handle the pitchers.”
Nunez was unable to attend the signing ceremony, but Ostrander said he is a gifted player.
“Taylor is a power arm,” he said. “He is in that 88-91 (mph) range and those guys just don’t fall off trees for you. He is a highly recruited Division I prospect. If he gets his qualifications together, he might get that opportunity. But he is excited about signing here and knows this is a place to help him get to where he wants to go.”
Ostrander also praised the work of his assistant coaches – Reggie Richardson and Chris Kirtland.
“This is Coach Richardson’s fourth year here and he does a great job with our guys and they respect him, as I do,” he said. “Coach Kirtland is starting his second year with us. He came here from Southern Miss and it’s been a great fit. Those guys do a great job.”
The 2011 Bobcats will open the season in their new, 520-seat facility at 2 p.m. on Feb. 9 against Baton Rouge Community College (La.).
Ostrander, his staff and players are looking forward to being in their home park after playing the entire 2010 season on the road.
“We can’t believe it’s here,” he said. “I’ve been around a little bit and have seen a lot of places. Our players and these players we are signing today probably don’t realize the magnitude of what we have here and how nice it is.
“I played and coached at Delta State – one of the best Division II programs in the nation with a great facility – and ours is a little better. I coached at Arkansas State University – a Division I school in the Sun Belt Conference with a good facility – but ours is better.
“It is something to be proud of and it will help us continue our success.”
Ostrander expects to sign several more players before the recruiting process is complete.
Tuesday’s signing special can be viewed at www.jcjc.tv.