Seven Sign Early with Gents Baseball
Sunday, December 3, 2006




The seven players represent
the largest class signed during
the early period

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The largest and perhaps the most successful early recruiting class has signed with the Centenary baseball team during the early signing period, signaling a bright future for the Gents.

Seven players -- five junior college transfers and two high school seniors -- will play their collegiate ball with Centenary starting in the 2008 season, all having a chance to make an immediate impact on the field for the Gents.

"We feel collectively that these seven players can help our program achieve our ultimate goal of winning a Mid-Con championship," Centenary head coach Ed McCann said of the early signees.

Together with Mike Diaz, recruiting coordinator and assistant coach, McCann had a gameplan of bringing in quality student-athletes that will add depth and athleticism to the club. Baseball players on the exterior, but all together pure athletes, all with the strong desire to win.

Three of the seven players coming to Shreveport for the 2008 season are from JUCO powerhouse Palomar College of the Pacific Coast Conference. In leading the Comets to a 31-16 record in the 2006 season, Tim Deering (San Marcos, Calif.), Joey Fandel (Oceanside, Calif.) and Ricky Imperiali (Oceanside, Calif.) come to Centenary with high expectations, all highly-touted players from the JUCO ranks.

"All three of the Palomar guys saw limited action last season due to playing behind guys who were awarded D-I scholarships," McCann said of Deering, Fandel and Imperiali. "Palomar has been among the elite California JUCO’s and is rated as one of the top junior colleges in the nation. We have three of the nine guys that signed D-I scholarships from the school this Fall."

Reliever Joe Hagen (Renton, Wash.) comes to Centenary rated as one of the top closers in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League, one of the premier collegiate summer leagues in the country. Already hitting in the low 90’s on the gun, Hagen may jump immediately into the closer role with the Gents.

Also signing with Centenary is pitcher Boone Whiting, a 6-foot right-hander from Oakdale, Calif. Playing for Oakdale High School, Whiting excelled on the mound in his junior season, averaging over one strikeout per inning pitched and picking up four wins. A versatile player, Whiting earned all-league honors as a junior.

"The pitchers we signed are all strike throwers with live arms," McCann said. "Once they become accustomed to D-I hitters, they will both excel in our program."

One of the top-rated left-handed hitters in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC), Rich Schoenfielder (Portland) will bring power to the Gents lineup once on campus, playing at Treasure Valley Community College and finishing the year with a .360 batting average.

"Rich has hit cleanup for TVCC. When we scouted him earlier in the Fall, we saw a polished hitter with the ability to drive the ball on a consistent basis," McCann said.

With Whiting, Justin Kraft (Yakima, Wash.) represents the other high school senior that signed with the Gents in the early signing period. Kraft rounds out the class as one of the many sought-after prospects in the state of Washington, playing for Eisenhower High School.

The seven players join one of the up-and-coming programs in the Mid-Continent Conference in recent years, making the conference tournament the past three seasons.

"I’m happy with the tireless efforts of coach Diaz. Mike has worked very hard to put this class together, and I am ecstatic that these seven players made the commitment to help build the program into a champion," McCann said of the class.

Centenary opens the season Feb. 3-4, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Shehee Stadium.

QUICK LOOK AT THE RECRUITS

TIM DEERING, IF, 5-10, 170, San Marcos, Calif., Palomar College

A reserve infielder behind highly-recruited D-I prospects last season ... Will start in the infield this season for Palomar, Deering ... Hit .288 with five RBI in 73 at bats ... Finished with a .329 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .402 ... Named first team All-Valley League and second team All-CIF-San Diego as a senior at San Marcos High School.

Coach’s Quote: "Tim is going to be a great addition to our program. He can play all infield positions and can really handle the bat."

JOEY FANDEL, OF, 6-1, 185, Oceanside, Calif., Palomar College

Hit .238 with three RBI last season at Palomar, playing in a reserve position for the Comets ... Will get many AB’s with Palomar this season as an everyday player ... Finished the year with a .310 slugging percentage ... At Oceanside High School, hit .354 with six homers and 26 RBI in his senior season ... Named first team All-Avocado League and first team All-North County as a senior.

Coach’s Quote: "Joey has been somewhat of a late bloomer. He is a legitimate four-tool player that really needed one year of college experience to mature. He had an outstanding Fall for Palomar and we feel he will come in and really solidify the middle of our lineup."

JOE HAGEN, RHP, 6-2, 185, Renton, Wash., Green River Community College

Moved from starting pitcher to reliever midway through his freshman season ... Hits in the low-90’s on a consistent basis ... As a reliever went 3-0 with three saves ... Averaged almost two strikeouts per inning ... Will consistently throw strikes ... Participated in the NWAAC Sophomore Showcase All-Star Game.

Coach’s Quote: "Joe is an exciting player. He is a bulldog on the mound with electric stuff. We feel Joe is something we have not had here in recent years. He is the guy who you know really wants the ball in the pressure situations at the end of the game."

RICKY IMPERIALI, IF, 6-0, 150, Oceanside, Calif., Palomar College

Saw time behind D-I prospect in middle infield last season for Palomar ... Ended year with only one error in 28 games, earning All-Pacific Coast Conference honors ... Batted .329 with eight RBI and slugging percentage of .438 ... Had two stolen bases ... Is a very solid fielder and very athletic.

Coach’s Quote: "Ricky is your prototypical shortstop. He brings to the table outstanding defense and crucial leadership qualities. Everyone knows how important it is to have a solid core up the middle and we feel like Ricky is a great addition to the guys we have coming back."

JUSTIN KRAFT, RHP, 5-10, 150, Yakima, Wash., Eisenhower High School

Kraft had a solid junior year. While at Eisenhower, Justin recorded a 3-3 record with a 3.50 ERA. Kraft threw 37 innings, while fanning 32 batters faced. He is expected to be one of the top pitchers in Washington.

Coach’s Quote: "I feel like we really got a steal with Justin. He is a little under-sized to be a high-end prospect, but when we saw him on the mound this summer, you throw all of that out the window. Justin has been consistently in the mid-80’s with his fastball and possesses a big-league breaking ball. With the development of a third pitch, Justin will be a great guy in the Mid-Con."

RICH SCHOENFIELDER, OF, 6-1, 180, Portland, Ore., Treasure Valley Community College

Can hit for both power and average ... Participated in NWAAC Sophomore Showcase All-Star Game with Hagen ... Has hit in the cleanup position for Treasure Valley ... Ended year with .360 batting average.

Coach’s Quote: "Rich has the chance to be a great D-I hitter. He will bring a needed left-handed stick with power potential to the lineup. Rich has outstanding leadership qualities and we feel he will be a cornerstone to our club."

BOONE WHITING, RHP, 6-0, 160, Oakdale, Calif., Oakdale High School

Three-sport athlete at Oakdale, playing football and baseball, along with wrestling ... Played both at third and pitched for Oakdale ... Picked up four wins and struck out 33 in 32.8 innings ... Had a 2.52 ERA as a junior ... Named all-league third baseman ... Quarterbacked Oakdale football team, playing safety on defense ... Intends to major in predentistry while at Centenary.

Coach’s Quote: "Boone has shown outstanding potential over the last year. He is a guy who already has command of his pitches and shows great mound presence. Boone is one of those guys that when he grows into his frame, he can be very special."