PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Off a school-record for victories, Lake Erie College baseball coach Brian McGee is restocking the Storm program with the addition of six student-athletes who signed letters of intent during the early signing period.
"With the year we had last year on the field and some of the big news off it, like having a player drafted and have success at the professional level, I think we opened ourselves to the opportunity to attract some great talent to our program," McGee said. "All six are not only terrific baseball players, but good students who will represent themselves and the team well and be great ambassadors for our program."
The group is made up for four players from Ohio, including two from Northeast Ohio, and one each from Michigan and Indiana.
Expected to join the Storm next year are first baseman/outfielder Matt Avromov (Shelby Twp., Mich./Notre Dame Prep), third baseman Zak DeCamp (Gahanna, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales), pitcher Parker Devenney (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial), infielder Tyler Kmitt (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) catcher Rutger Luebke (Medina, Ohio/Medina) and infielder Tyler McFarland (Delaware, Ohio/Olentangy).
"We really feel like we filled some areas of need and added top quality players," said McGee. "We will lose a lot of talent and depth among our position players after this spring and it was imperative that we bring in players who can begin to fill those voids starting next year."
Below is a brief rundown of the Storm's 2011-12 recruiting class:
Hometown/High School: Shelby Twp., Mich./Notre Dame Prep
Wt: 190 lbs.
First-team all-district, all-region and all-state selection as a junior in 2011 when he hit .443 with four home runs, 14 doubles and 21 stolen bases… will have earned four varsity letters in his high school career at Notre Dame Prep and was rated as a NCAA Division I or potential low-to-mid round MLB Draft pick by Perfect Game USA's Player Rating System.
Coach McGee's Comments: "Matt is a truly gifted athlete, one of the most athletic first baseman I have seen, and somebody who has an unparalleled work ethic. Matt is somebody who will lead by example both on and off the field. He projects to have a rare combination of speed and power and has the athleticism and versatility to play either corner spot or in the outfield. He comes from a great family, high school and reputable summer organization (South Oland A's) and we are very excited to see how he develops because we think he can be one of the best pure baseball players in the GLIAC."
Gahanna, Ohio/Columbus St. Francis DeSales
Wt: 200 lbs.
Approaching his fourth year as a varsity starter and already is an all-conference and all-district selection… hit the go-ahead home run in the bottom of the sixth inning in the 2011 Division II OHSAA championship game to lift DeSales to a 9-8 win and state title… batted .365 as a junior with .667 slugging percentage despite missing three weeks of season due to injury… invited to attend three of the most prolific player showcases in state… played with fellow recruit Tyler McFarland on one of the state's top summer organization, the Ohio Elite squad that went 37-9-1 this past season… led team in hitting (.470), slugging (.818) and OPS (1.362).
Coach McGee's Comments: "Zak is one of the best corner infielders in the state and plays on one of the best summer teams in the region and is a key component on a defending state champion high school team. Offensively he is a threat in any situation and we think he can be a mainstay in the middle of our lineup. Zak chose Lake Erie because he was dedicated to choosing the right fit for him and being somewhere where he can contribute on a high level at any early stage and we feel that he will do just that. Finding potential recruits who can perform at a high level and help put us on top of the conference is imperative, and we believe Zak has that kind of impact ability. He will come in with high expectations."
Hometown/High School: Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial
Wt: 205 lbs.
Two-year varsity standout at Elkhart Memorial… was a first-team all-conference pick as a junior, along with earning team's offensive excellence and sportsmanship awards… averaged 6.7 strikeouts per seven innings as a junior with a 2-2 record… expected to be team's top hurler in the spring… pitches in the summer for the Michiana Scrappers, one of Indiana's most respected organizations.
Coach McGee's Comments: "We're very pleased to have Parker in our program. With only a small number of arms we're looking to bring in with this class, they all must be ready to make an impact and we feel Parker has that kind of ability. He throws a very sharp, tight breaking pitch as his dominant pitch and is working on developing a changeup that looks like it will be another plus pitch for him. We feel we are not only getting a good arm, but someone who knows how to pitch, when to throw what pitch and is athletic enough to field his position well and hold runners. He has tremendous upside and a very high ceiling, and we hope to see him work to reach it and achieve a great deal here with us."
Wt: 170 lbs.
Local product from nearby Riverside High School… a soon-to-be four-year varsity letter-winner and was first freshman to make varsity squad in over 20 years at Riverside in 2009… batted .437 with eight home runs and an .828 slugging percentage as a junior, earning first-team all-conference, all-county and All-News Herald recognition… finished third in the News-Herald High School Home Run Derby in 2011, an event featuring players from the greater Cleveland area… also threw a no-hitter as a sophomore.
Coach McGee's Comments: "Tyler, in our opinion, is one of the most underrated players in Northeast Ohio. He has just started playing at a more serious level of summer baseball and in so many ways has not even reached his full potential yet. He is one of the most committed and loyal players we have ever recruited here. On the field, he has all the tools. He can hit for power, average, run, throw, play defense, etc. He has the skill level to play all nine positions and his baseball IQ is through the roof. He is tough mentally and has a lot of raw talent and skill. We are really anxious to see him here on an everyday basis.
Hometown/High School: Medina, Ohio/Medina
Wt: 190 lbs.
Selected as an Under Armour Preseason High School All-American prior to beginning his senior season… first-team all-conference and all-county as a junior… threw out 63% of attempted base stealers during the year and hit .356… lead summer league team, the Northern Ohio Hurricanes, in hitting, runs batted in and OPS and was named a Diamond League All-Star… will be a four-year varsity letter-winner at regional power Medina.
Coach McGee's Comments: "We feel that Rutger was one of the top catching prospects in the entire state this year. He is the complete package behind the plate: blocks, receives, throws the ball accurately, not to mention an offensive threat with the bat, etc. He is also one of the most intelligent high school players I've seen behind the plate. He calls pitches for his team, handles the pitchers' emotions well and knows how to control and command the field. The best thing about him is his ability to play multiple positions, not just catch. We like him and we like him being involved. We want him on the field, where he fits in is up to him and his work ethic. He's a huge addition to this program .
Hometown/High School: Delaware, Ohio/Olentangy
Wt: 165 lbs.
Will be a three-year letter-winner who was a second-team all-conference and honorable mention all-district pick as a junior… named team's defensive player of the year for the second straight season… helped Olentangy to district finals last season… played with fellow recruit Zak DeCamp on Ohio Elite team this summer… finished second on team in multiple categories and fielded at a .937 clip… hit .443 with 23 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Coach McGee's Comments: "Tyler is going to be a great addition to our program in many ways. Athletically, he has a great skill set: strong arm, defensive stopper, a threat on the bases, a complete player. Mentally, he was one of the toughest outs I saw all summer. Personality-wise, Tyler has the attitude, character, toughness and leadership abilities you look for in older players as an incoming player. If he continues to work hard he has a great chance to be a leader for this program for years to come. He is the kind of guy who can help this team wherever he is at on the field as well as off it.