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Thirty-three freshmen and 12 transfers comprise a record class of 45 recruits for the 2019 Barton College baseball program.
Head coach Jim Chester, entering his second season, reports the 12 transfers will all be juniors.
The 45 newcomers combined with 25 returnees leaves the Bulldogs with a roster of a record 70 players, and will lead to the implementation of a developmental team for the first time in 2019.
“I’m exhausted,” Chester said of his recruiting endeavor. “This is as hard as I’ve recruited in my 13 years as a head coach.
“I believe we have outstanding students, athletes and contributors to the community.”
Chester was encouraged that, of the 29 possible returnees, only four elected not to do so after the Bulldogs went a wretched 12-36 in 2018, posting the poorest record in Barton’s NCAA Division II history.
“To have 25 coming back shows a commitment on their part,” Chester expressed, “somewhat a belief in my vision and is a testament that they love Barton.”
The Bulldogs, with Chester the lone returnee on an expanded coaching staff, are pointing to a big-time turnaround from last season’s woes.
Heading the list of newcomers expected to help are freshmen David Morgan, a utility player from Bunn High, left-handed pitcher Connor Patterson of Providence Grove High and right-handed pitcher Donovan Waitman of Alemany High in Valencia, California. Transfers include Trevor Edior of Yavapai College (Arizona), Jakob Ryan of George Mason University and shortstop Jo Jo Allen of Tennessee-Martin.
Other recruits include freshmen Tyler Wells of Hunt High and Austin Worley of Beddingfield High. Both are right-handed pitchers.
Barton coaches believe Morgan can swing a potent bat. Waitman, said Chester, is a pitcher who can throw three pitches for strikes.
Edior, an outfielder, was selected out of high school in California by the Colorado Rockies in the 38th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Ryan, a left-handed pitcher, played for the Wilson Tobs in the summer of 2016.
Of a whopping roster of 70 players, Chester explained: “It’s one whole program. We will ID players ready to help at the Division II level and players who are not will have a chance to play the developmental schedule to help adjust to the speed of the game.”
The 2019 schedule lists 50 Division II contests and 25 developmental assignments against teams such as Pitt Community College, Louisburg College, Methodist University, North Carolina Wesleyan and a few Northern teams on an early season Southern swing.
“This will help immensely from a recruiting standpoint,” Chester reasoned.
Chester indicated fall workouts will begin in mid-September.
“Big changes around here,” he declared. “Everybody’s here. We’re excited; let’s go to work!”
Head coach Jim Chester's first recruiting class for the 2019 Barton College baseball program. Players' information includes hometown, high school and previous school if a transfer. All transfers will be juniors.
David Morgan, Sims, Bunn High.
Connor Patterson, Randleman, Providence Grove High.
Donovan Waitman, Valencia, California, Alemany High.
Payton Bass, Nashville, Nash Central High.
Sevastian Cardona, Tampa, Florida; Cambridge Christian School.
Caige Clayton, Hillsborough, Orange High.
Gavin Jones, Wilmington, Laney High.
Chance Justice, Riegelwood, Wilmington Christian Academy.
Jacob Lacetera, Bay Shore, New York; Bay Shore High.
Zachery Spires, Richlands, Richlands High.
Luis Tua Vargas, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico; Carlos Beltran Academy.
Jacob Marcos, Miami, Florida, Gulliver Schools.
Kendall Vincent, Durham, Voyager Academy.
Cameron Pifer, Wake Forest, Heritage High.
Byrce Prescott, Wilmington, Delaware; The Tatnall School.
Ian Ramirez, Newport, Croatan High.
Tyler Robinson, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania; Blackhawk High.
Wilton Short, Henderson, Vance Academy.
Trevor Wilder, Castalia, Louisburg High.
Andrew Williams, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts; Sturgis Charter School.
Austin Worley, Wilson, Beddingfield High.
John Keel, Cedar Point, Croatan High.
Tyler Wells, Wilson, Hunt High.
Lonnie Weatherington, Vanceboro, West Craven High.
Brett Widerman, Wilmington, Laney High.
Nicholas Cole, Rural Hall, Ronald Wilson Reagan High.
Paul Frey, Hampstead, Topsail High.
Nicholas Gonzalez, North Bergen, New Jersey; Paramus Catholic Boys High.
Luke Hinson, Troy, West Montgomery High.
Nathan Lozar, Manheim, Pennsylvania; Manheim Central High.
Michael Mayer, Newport, West Carteret High.
Gabriel Morales, Lyndhurst, New Jersey; Saint Mary High.
Jeremiah Phifer, High Point, High Point Central High.
Trevor Edior, Lynwood California; Carson High, Yavapai College (Arizona).
Jakob Ryan, Carrollton, Virginia; Smithfield High, George Mason (Virginia).
Jo Jo Allen, Clarksville, Tennessee; Kenwood High, University of Tennessee Martin (Tennessee).
Fredrick May, Folsom, California; Folsom High, American River College (California).
Ronaldo Del Duca, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Upper Saint Clair High, Allegheny (Pennsylvania).
Christian Murua, Antelope, California; Grant High, American River College (California).
Colby Shimmel, Windsor, Pennsylvania; Eastern High, Hagerstown Community College (Maryland).
Jovan McClatchey, Erie, Pennsylvania; McDowell High, Mercyhurst North East (Pennsylvania).
Nathan McKenrick, Lake City, Pennsylvania; Girard High, Mercyhurst North East (Pennsylvania).
Brayden Olson, Spokane, Washington; John R. Rogers High, Spokane Community College (Washington).
Benjamin Tinnell, Salem, Oregon; Sprague High, Olympic Community College (Washington).
Juan Martinez, Weston, Florida; Chaminade Madonna High, St. Thomas (Florida).
Background notes and Coach Chester's comments on new assistant coaches:
ZACH ULLRICH — Recruiting coordinator, pitching coach and first-base coach at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. Played collegiate baseball at Mansfield University of 2006-2010. Graduated from Mansfield in 2011.
Chester: "Coach Ullrich brings eight years of collegiate coaching experience. He will have an immediate impact from the recruiting side, as he was instrumental in Roanoke College making an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Division III World Series."
KRAMER SNEED — Played baseball three seasons for Barton, earning first-team all-conference and academic all-conference accolades. Drafted by New York Yankees in 32nd round in 2010. Played three seasons in the Yankees' organization. 2013 California League All-Star.
Chester: "Coach Sneed is arguably one of the most decorated pitchers to wear a Bulldogs uniform. His experience in professional baseball, love for Barton baseball and experience as a Division II player make him a perfect fit for our staff."
WILEY JACKSON — Graduate assistant at East Carolina University. Graduated from UNC Pembroke in 2016. Played for the Braves for four years and was a captain his senior year. An assistant coach for the Morehead City Marlins of the Coastal Plain League.
Chester: "Coach Jackson spent the past two seasons at one of the best Division I programs in the country (East Carolina University). Coupled with his experience as a Division II player, Wiley is an outstanding addition to our staff."
ANTHONY MARKS — Played at Coastal Carolina University from 2013-2016. Batted lead-off and started in left field for 2016 national championship team. Tabbed first-team All-Big South in 2015 and named to the 2016 College World Series All-Tournament team. A 2016 graduate of Coastal Carolina.
Chester: "Coach Marks was an integral part of the 2016 Coastal Carolina national championship team. His energy and playing experience will be a key piece to the success of the 2019 season."
GAVIN HITE — Played collegiately at Western Oregon University and New Mexico Highlands University. Received degree from Washington State University in 2015. Helped guide the Seattle Studs to a National Baseball Congress national championship in 2013. Played summer collegiate baseball in the West Coast League.
Chester: "Coach Hite comes to our program from Seattle, Washington. He has a great relationship and knowledge of Driveline. This will have a direct impact on the development of our players."