SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Drury Baseball head coach Scott Nasby has announced a 15-member recruiting class for the 2013-14 season and additional great news regarding a returning player - senior first baseman Colton Jones.
Jones, who hit .325 and scored a Great Lakes Valley Conference-best (and DU single-season record) 62 runs last season as the leadoff hitter, has been granted an extra season of eligibility through a medical redshirt by the NCAA.
The former Mansfield High standout and a First Team All-GLVC choice this past season missed his freshman season due to injury. He holds DU career marks for on-base percentage (.443) and is tied for the lead in hit-by-pitches (37), including a school-record 18 in 2012 and 16 this past season.
"To be able to add a player of Colton's experience and talent level for another season is a huge addition," Nasby says. "He plays the game as hard as anyone we've ever had and we will look to him this year to instill that mentality in our incoming players."
Jones will be back to help mentor an incoming class that included three fall signees - IF Ryan Colombo from state champion Seaman HS in Topeka, Kan., the Gatorade Kansas State Player of the Year; OF Bobby Lang, who helped St. Louis Christian Brothers to a state runner-up finish; and C/P Dawson Floyd, who hit .485 and had 45 career pitching wins at Muldrow, Okla. - plus 12 additional recruits who signed this spring and summer.
Drury's incoming 2013-14 class will consist of 10 high school players, four junior college transfers and one D-II transfer.
"This recruiting class is filled with great students and kids from winning high school programs," Nasby says. "We have a handful of kids who have battled some injuries recently but each one has made strong progress and will be 100 percent by the time fall practice rolls around."
They will be joining a DU squad coming off a 39-17 campaign that established a new school record for victories in a season. Drury won the Great Lakes Valley Conference West regular season title, finished second in the GLVC Championships post-season tournament and advanced to the NCAA-II tourney for the second time in the program's seven-year history, hosting the Midwest Regional at Meador Park.
The new signees:
*Tyler Arthur, C, Johnson County Community College, St. Joseph, MO. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Arthur had a .979 fielding percentage at JCCC, and hit .373 as a senior at St. Joe Central HS. He will be a business major at DU.
*Weston Buchanan, RHP, Hillcrest HS. The 5-10, 195-pound Buchanan was a First Team All-Ozark Conference pick as a senior, and will be a pre-engineering major at DU.
*Matthew Diekemper, RHP, Mater Dei HS in Breese, Ill. The 6-3, 245-pound Diekemper is coming off shoulder surgery and spent the past spring and summer rehabbing. He will be a secondary education major at Drury.
*Peter Forsee, LHP, Coker College, Hartsville, SC. Forsee is a 6-3, 195-pounder who comes to the Panthers after playing for NCAA-II World Series qualifier Coker. He was a prep standout at Webster Groves High School, and will major in sports management at DU.
*Nathan Grimaldi, OF, St. Mary's Colgan HS, Pittsburg, Kan. The 5-9, 160-pounder led his team to a Class 3A state championship in Kansas while hitting .369 with a .564 on-base percentage. He also stole 29 bases and was a First Team All-Conference and All-State selection. He will be a pre-med major at Drury.
*Gage Jacobs, RHP, Johnson County CC and Bolivar HS. Jacobs (6-3, 195), has been a reliever for JCCC the past two seasons, finishing the past year with a 2.38 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 35 innings.
*Dayton Karr, IF, Rogersville HS. The 6-2, 195-pounder helped the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the state tournament and final 25-4 record with a .475 OBP, 40 runs scored and 30 RBIs. He will be a business major at DU.
*Michael Pfeifer, UT, Willard HS. The 6-1, 170-pound Pfeifer hit .417 with 9 homers and 39 RBIs in helping the Tigers to a deep state tournament run, earning All-COC and Second Team All-State honors.
*Brent Ricketts, RHP, St. Charles West HS. A 5-11, 175-pounder, Ricketts is coming off elbow surgery and threw 10 innings in four prep games this season, striking out seven. As a junior, he fanned 33 in 42 innings. He will be a pre-med major at DU.
*Reece Taylor, RHP, Jefferson College and West Plains HS. The 6-4, 185-pound hurler also is coming off Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2012, but has made a full recovery and will be ready to go for fall workouts. He will be studying biology at Drury.
*Luke Tewes, UT, Iowa Western CC and Waverly HS (Lincoln, Neb.). The 6-4, 185-pound Tewes hit .300 in 110 at-bats for national power Iowa Western as a designated hitter and first baseman. He had four homers to go with 30 RBIs and will be studying biology at DU.
*Bryan Williams, RHP, Timberland HS, Wentzville, Mo. The 6-foot, 180-pound Williams had a 2.47 ERA over 45 innings, striking out 37 in compiling a 6-1 mark this past season. He will study architecture at Drury.
"We lost some key pieces to our starting lineup, as well as most of our bullpen and midweek pitching," Nasby says. "This fall will be one of the most competitive we have ever had. We have some returning players who put together great seasons last year and have some incoming kids who will be fighting to earn some of the at-bats and innings on the mound that were vacated by our 12 seniors of last year."
The Panthers will kick off fall workouts and their junior varsity season with a September 3 doubleheader against Coffeyville Community College at Meador Park (6 p.m.).
It's March, which means it is time for madness. Last week we saw small-schools wrap up district play and there was no shortage of upsets, big-time performances, and history being made. Expect the same this week with the big schools. Here is my breakdown...
I felt pretty comfortable predicting the district tournaments for small-school girls' basketball last week. Most tournaments either had a clear-cut, overwhelming favorite, or only one or two teams capable of putting together three straight solid...
By this time next week we will know who all of the small-class district champions are and what their path to the Final Four looks like. Before we can get there though, we have to get through a full week of win of go home district basketball.