ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville head baseball coach Tom Smith is pleased to announce his recruiting class for the fall of 2013.
The Bulldogs signed seven players in the early signing period. The class includes left-handed pitcher Camby Abell, catcher Ben Bailiff, outfielder Tanner Bush, outfielder Kyle Carruthers, infielder Mike Kelly, left-handed pitcher Spencer Orr and infielder Nick Schofield.
"We are very excited about our 2013 class. We feel like this is a group of guys that will have a huge impact on our program right away," declared Smith. "Our staff has addressed some of our team needs such as speed, adding young arms with upside, a couple of versatile position players who can swing the bat and an athletic catcher who can catch and throw. We're delighted to welcome these young men to the Bulldog program."
Abell is from Apex and has enjoyed a standout prep career at Apex HS. He's lettered for four years at Apex with a 1.42 ERA as a freshman, 2.23 ERA as a sophomore and 1.78 ERA last season. Abel was named Pitcher of the Year as a freshman and helped lead Apex to the fourth round of the state playoffs. He also pitches for the Apex Legion Post 124 squad and helped lead them to the state playoffs last summer.
"Camby is a tall left-hander pitcher with a great deal of potential," commented Smith. "He already has a great frame and a good feel for four different pitches. We love the way he competes on the mound. Camby throws strikes and competes for innings as a freshman."
Bailiff is from Trinity and excelled at both Wesleyan Christian Academy and Wheatmore HS. Last year at Wesleyan, he helped lead the school to the NCISAA 3-A state championship game. While at Wheatmore, he started for two seasons behind the plate and led the school to the 2-A state playoffs each season.
"We believe we have added a very good catch-and-throw type of catcher in Ben," stated Smith. "He works well with pitchers as well as any catcher we saw last summer. His personality allows him to be a great fit right away and mesh with our pitching staff. His abilities will allow him to be a candidate to play early in his career."
Bush is a local product from T.C. Roberson HS in Asheville for former Bulldog player and assistant coach Eric Filipek. Bush has been a two-year starter for the Rams in center field and earned All-Conference honors last season. He hit .398 as a sophomore and .377 last year. Bush helped lead the Rams to the 4-A state championship round in 2011.
"Tanner comes from an outstanding high school program at Roberson," commented Smith. "Coach Filipek does a great job teaching fundamentals to his players, and we are delighted to keep Tanner close to home. He is an athletic outfielder who can jump in and play any of the three outfield spots. Tanner handles the bat well from the left-side of the plate and adds a speed dimension that we need."
Carruthers will come to UNC Asheville from Riverwood International HS in Atlanta. He hit .443 as a sophomore with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Last year, he hit .340 with three home runs and 23 runs driven in. He earned All-Area honors as a sophomore and junior.
"We added Kyle late to our 2013 class and are thrilled to have him," stated Smith. "We think his athleticism will be a huge addition to our team. Kyle has a legitimate chance to be a five-tool player at UNC Asheville and make a huge impact right away. He is capable of playing anywhere in the outfield and has a great throwing arm. With his combination of speed and power, he will give us a lot of options in the batting order."
Kelly is a native of Raleigh and plays at Leesville HS. He has been a three-year starter and was named the team's Offensive MVP in 2011. Kelly earned first team All-Conference honors as a sophomore and junior. In his sophomore year, he led Leesville to the second round of the state playoffs with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate with a home run, two doubles and three RBI. In addition, Kelly played for the nationally-ranked Evoshield Canes South Showcase team last summer.
"Mike will be a valuable asset to our team because of his ability to play about any position on the field," said Smith. "He is a good all-around player who will help us win games. Mike plays the game the right way and has a great work ethic. He was coached in summer ball by one of our former players in Carson McLean."
Orr pitches at St. Francis HS in Alpharetta, Ga. He has been a four-year letterwinner at St. Francis and started every game for the school either as a pitcher or at first base. Orr was a 7-2 as a sophomore with a 3.04 ERA and 58 strikeouts. As a junior, he went 2-3 with a 2.31 ERA and 86 strikeouts. Orr made the All-Region honors as sophomore and junior. His summer league team, the Windward Macs, won the USSSA National Championship in Orlando in 2012.
"Spencer is a tall left-handed pitcher with a ton of upside," exclaimed Smith. "He has a good change-up that will give him a chance to pitch a lot of innings right away. We believe Spencer has a ton of potential and can't wait for him to get going."
Schofield plays both second and third base at Page HS in Greensboro. He was the team's MVP last year, earned the Coaches Award as a sophomore and was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player as a junior. Schofield made the All-Conference team last spring. He made the Perfect Game All-Tournament team in the 2012 East Cobb National Showcase.
"We are looking forward to watching Nick swing the bat in a UNC Asheville uniform the next four years," said Smith. "He has an aggressive approach at the plate and gives us options at second or third base. Nick has a tremendous work ethic and will compete for playing time right away."