Baseball signs nine

From an IU release:


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Head Coach Tracy Smith and the Indiana baseball staff have signed nine players to continue their baseball careers at IU beginning in the 2010-11 season, the program announced today. Blair Betts (Cary, N.C./Athens Drive), Matt Dearden (Newberry, Fla./Gainesville), Dustin DeMuth (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), Joey DeNato (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines), Ty Downing (Bowling Green, Ky./Greenwood), Eric Kartman (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead), Brian Korte (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder), Chad Martin (Lexington, Ky./Vincennes University) and Reed Reznicek (Vista, Calif./Rancho Buena Vista) have all signed on to join the Hoosier family.

“It is no secret that we lost a plethora of talent from last year’s team through the draft and graduation,” Smith said. “The 2010 class reminds me a lot of last year’s juniors that got drafted, in that we have some definite professional prospects in this incoming group. Because we lost four underclassman pitchers last year to the draft, we felt we needed to go heavy on pitching in this class, and we accomplished that.”

This marks the second year in a row that the Hoosiers have signed prospects from all over the country. After IU signed players from six states to NLIs a year ago, Indiana has seen six states represented in its signees again this season. This national draw has been due to both the Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament appearance last year and the presence of the Big Ten Network.

“Once again, we were able to pull kids from all over the country to come to IU,” Smith said. “The exposure from the Big Ten Network is huge for us. We can literally pick up the phone and talk to a prospect anywhere in the United States and there is a good chance they have seen us play on TV.”

Betts joins the Hoosiers after posting stellar seasons both at Athens Drive High School and over the summer for the Cary Bulls. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound lefthanded pitcher struck out 76 batters in 49 innings for Athens Drive, while posting a 1.71 ERA to earn all-conference honors for his efforts. For the Bulls, he posted a 1.02 ERA and allowed just 13 hits in 34 innings while striking out 64. He was named team MVP after setting the single-season and career strikeout records.

Smith on Betts: “I had a chance to see Blair pitch last summer in the Tournament of Stars in Cary. The event showcases the top talent in the country. Blair stood out to me because of his ability to compete and his above-average breaking ball. He is a proven winner not only in high school, but also for one of the top amateur programs in the North Carolina under Coach Ron Powell. We are getting a talented left-hander that knows how to pitch.”

Dearden, a 6-foot, 190-pound righty out of Florida, signs with IU after earning two letters for Gainesville High School. The righty, who possesses a fastball in the low 90s, was named Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year and earned his school’s Scholar Athlete Award. He also played for the Florida Hardballers, a select all-star team, and posted an ERA under 2.00 in 50 innings of work.

Smith on Dearden: “I can’t wait to hear the comments about Matt later this spring, because he was kind of flying under the radar this summer. He played a lot of infield for his high school team. He is still learning how to pitch. We saw Matt a couple of times, and both times he demonstrated a power arm. He has a chance to be a dominant pitcher at our level, not only because of his talent, but also his strong desire to get better every time he takes the mound.”

DeMuth joins the Hoosier family after being a three-sport star for LaPorte High School. The middle infielder hit .455 with two home runs and 28 RBI. He also struck out just three times in 95 plate appearances as he led the Slicers to a 21-10 record. He played quarterback for three years for LaPorte and also played basketball, earning all-conference honors in all three sports. His older sister, Jenny, was a two-time All-Big Ten basketball player for the Hoosiers.

Smith on DeMuth: “Dustin is no stranger to IU. His older sister, Jenny, played basketball for the Hoosiers from 2002-06. Dustin plays and excels at three sports now, and it will be interesting to see how he develops once he focuses on one sport in college. He is extremely gifted athletically, and does so many things well on the diamond. He will have a chance to play right away in our program.”

DeNato is a crafty lefthander that has displayed an outstanding breaking ball for Torrey Pines, where he teamed with current Hoosier Jerrud Sabourin for one season. DeNato posted 7-1 records in both his sophomore and junior seasons, and struck out 79 last year for Torrey Pines. He has been named First Team San Diego North County and conference Pitcher of the Year in each of the last two seasons, and was a first team all-California Interscholastic Federation selection as a junior.

Smith on DeNato: “Every time you ask someone about Joey, the first thing they would always say is, ‘He is a winner.’ Joey knows how to pitch and just keeps getting better and better. When we were recruiting Joey, I told him I wanted to see more strikeouts. So the next time I went to evaluate him, he struck out 16 hitters against a very good team. That’s what I love about him, he always plays with a chip on his shoulder.”

Downing is a 6-foot, 190-pound catcher out of Bowling Green, Ky. As a junior, he hit .367 with seven doubles, three triples and three home runs for a .592 slugging percentage. He also was a standout defensively, posting a .988 fielding percentage and catching six out of 14 runners who tried to steal on him. He earned all-state and all-district honors for his efforts and was chosen for the Junior East/West All-Star Team. A two-sport athlete, Downing has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns so far this season.

Smith on Downing: “We felt we needed to add a quality catcher in this class, and we found one in Ty. He has a tremendous arm from behind the plate and very advanced receiving skills. His athleticism, as a standout football player as well as in baseball, and knowledge of the game are going to allow him to be successful very early in his career at IU.”

Kartman brings a tall, 6-foot-8 frame to the Hoosiers as a left-handed pitcher. The Fort Wayne native went 6-1 with one save in 40 1/3 innings for Homestead as a junior. He put up a 2.21 ERA and 59 strikeouts against just 15 walks a season ago, as Homestead posted a 23-4 record and won a sectional championship in 2009. It marked the first time in school history that Homestead has won 20 games in a season.

Smith on Kartman: “I love projectable pitchers. Eric fits this profile to a T. Right now he doesn’t possess the overpowering fastball, but he still misses a lot of bats with his ability and understanding of how to pitch. He also has a strong ability to spin a breaking ball. When he develops into his 6-foot-8 frame, he could turn into a top prospect.”

Korte joins the IU family after going 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA and three shutouts in his junior season. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound southpaw was named first team all-Cincinnati following the season after earning second-team all-city honors as a sophomore. He led Elder – which has the most wins all-time of any Ohio high school – to a district runner-up finish in 2009. The three-year letterwinner also played a year of basketball at Elder.

Smith on Korte: “Brian comes from one of the best programs in Ohio, and is a proven winner for them. He received a lot attention from schools because he is a polished lefthander. He has a plus breaking ball to go with his upper 80s/low 90s fastball. Because of that, he should get a lot of innings for us next year.”

Martin will join the Hoosiers as a junior in eligibility, as he is entering his second season for head coach Chris Barney at Vincennes University. The righty, who has a fastball in the low 90s, pitched in just six games a season ago due to illness but has returned to health this fall. The 6-foot-7 power pitcher played his high school baseball at powerhouse Paul Dunbar in Lexington, Ky., where they won a state championship and were ranked 11th in the nation in his senior campaign.

Smith on Martin: “Chad has the makings of a Big League body right now. He is 6-foot-7 and throws in the low 90s. Because Chad battled an illness last year, he didn’t get a lot of innings and therefore a lot of people didn’t know about him. However, I think people are going to hear his name quite often this spring because of his overpowering stuff. He has an above-average changeup and an impressive breaking ball to go along with his fastball.”

Reznicek joins the Hoosiers after a strong career for Rancho Buena Vista. The 6-foot-3, 197-pound righthander struck out 62 and posted a 2.05 ERA in 51 innings as a junior, and was named to the California Baseball Coaches Association North/South Team for his performance. He led Rancho Buena Vista to a San Diego Sectional runner-up finish as the team was ranked 60th nationally after the season. Reznicek was recently selected a 2010 Under Armour Preaseason All-American, and will play in the Preseason All-America Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., in January.

Smith on Reznicek: “I saw Reed totally dominate one of the top teams in southern California last spring. He features an upper 80s fastball with a very good slider. The best part about Reed is he is young, which means he has a lot of developing left to do with his body. That is why we are so excited about him, because he has so much upside.”


Comments are closed.