Gents Baseball Signs Five Early for 2009
Friday, November 23, 2007

SHREVEPORT – Looking to get an early jump for 2009, the Centenary baseball team and head coach Ed McCann have announced the signing of five student-athletes. The Gents have signed James Hoyt (Boise, Idaho), Ryle Parks (San Diego, Calif.), Michael Tompkins (Walla Walla, Wash.), Trevor Shull (Spokane, Wash.) and Derek Welton (Yakama, Wash.) to a National Letter of Intent.  


Hoyt, who will transfer from Palomar Community College, is a right handed pitcher that saw action in six games last season. In three starts he was 2-0 and was tied for second on the team with a 2.95 ERA. The Boise, Idaho, native also had good control as a freshman, striking out 12, while walking four.


“Jimmy is a guy with a lot of size and an upper 80's fastball,” said associate head coach Mike Diaz. “But the thing we like most about Jimmy is that he is a three pitch guy who can throw any of the three in all counts.”


A teammate of Hoyt’s at Palomar, is Parks, who is a catcher and played in 23 games, while starting 11 times. Parks was a force at the plate as a freshman, collecting 20 hits, had a .392 average, with four doubles, while plating 12 runs.


“Ryles, along with Jimmy Hoyt, come from a great Southern California community college in Palomar,” Diaz said. “Ryles is an outstanding catch and throw guy behind the dish and brings the type of leadership qualities that you need in a catcher.”


The final junior college transfer is Tompkins, who played at Walla Walla Community College and saw action in all 50 games. The first baseman had a .320 average, which was second among everyday starters. The Walla Walla, Wash., native had 63 hits, scored 30 runs, knocked in a team-best 51 RBIs and drew 33 walks.


“We were looking for a big lefthanded hitting guy in our lineup and having Mike sign with us is a big part of the puzzle for our offense.  He led the NWAACCS in RBIs last year, comes from a winning program, and is the type of competitor that would make any club better,” Diaz said.


One of the two high school prospects Centenary signed is Shull, who is a 6-foot-4 right handed pitcher. The Spokane, Wash., native is one of the top pitchers in the eastern part of the state and has a fastball that hits in mid-80’s.


“Trevor is a kid that when he fills out sky is the limit,” said Diaz. “The thing that we really liked is that he is already a strike thrower. His fastball has sat at 83-86 mph, and it is only a matter of time before Trevor will become one of the best Division I pitchers.”


Welton is 24-3 all-time in high school and has struck out 176, along with being named first team all-state as a junior. Last season he helped lead his team to the Washington State Championship game, after going 12-1.


“Derek comes from one of the top high school programs in the state of Washington,” Diaz said.  “He has been a winner his entire career and that is exactly what we will get from him when he arrives in Shreveport. Derek has the size, stuff, and the commitment to be a Friday night guy at the Division I level.”


The five newcomers will be a part of a program that has made it to the conference tournament every year since 2003. In 2007, the Gents advanced to the Mid-Con championship game falling to Oral Roberts.


“This is a very well rounded class that has addressed our key needs to compete for the Summit League championship,” said Diaz. “The thing I like most about this class is that every one of these guys were offered scholarships by other schools, but chose to be apart of our program. It is this type of commitment and trust in our coaches that will continue to take Centenary in the right direction.”