St. Catharine College head baseball coach Luther Bramblett knows how tough the competition is in the Mid-South Conference. The Bat Pats mentor also knows that upperclassmen are obviously more ready to handle those pressure weekends of conference play. With that in mind, Bramblett, in his 11th season at St. Catharine has put an emphasis on quality transfer players to restock his roster for the 2012 season.
“Pitching and catching were the biggest needs we had to fill,” said Bramblett who lost two catchers and three starting pitchers to graduation. “And I think we have done a good job in getting guys who can come in and compete in our conference.”
A total of seven pitchers have transferred to St. Catharine to compete for spots on the Patriot staff. Justin Angel, a southpaw, comes in off a 4-1 season at Lamar Community College in Colorado. Another lefty, Javier Perez, compiled an impressive 3-1 record and a 1.40 ERA at Western Nevada Community College.
Jake Waardenburg is a transfer from Pacific University, a D-I school in Oregon. Before his stint there he was 9-4 in two years at Western Nevada. Other newcomers include Eric Donnelly (3.00 ERA in 16 appearances at Brevard Community College), Chase Dial who averaged one strikeout an inning at Volunteer State, Ryan Rizzi (8-4, 1.97 ERA at South Suburban CC outside Chicago) and Gable Maverick from College of the Desert in California.
Transfers will not only be on the mound for Bramblett’s bunch as some position players are also relocating to Edelen-Haydon Field. Eric Standafer, a 6-5 first baseman/pitcher who played at Shelby County, is transferring from Bellarmine. Joey Xavier, a first baseman/outfielder batted .333 with two homers and 22 RBI’s for College of the Sequoias. Joey Andrade will bring excellent defensive skills as a catcher from College of the Sequoias where he gunned down 50 percent of would-be stealers last season. Matt Foster, a third baseman/outfielder from Volunteer State also will join the Patriots. Foster led Volunteer State with nine homers and 37 RBI’s while batting .341.
But while the transfers will be counted on heavily for experience, Bramblett also feels good about quartet of freshmen. Left-handed pitcher Dylan Shoffner comes from state champion Central Hardin High School and Charlie Pal is a talented infielder from Pompano Beach High School (FL.) James Hendron from Henry Clay High school will add depth to the catching corps and Marcus Brown, a utility player from perennial power Pleasure Ridge Park High School, will compete for playing time.
“This is the largest class we have ever signed,” said Bramblett. “We should have some great competition in fall practice. Not only do we have some quality transfers but we also have a very talented incoming freshman class.”