Newberry Baseball signs 19 during early signing period
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NEWBERRY, S.C. – The Newberry College athletic department and head baseball coach Bob Rikeman are pleased to announce the signing of 19 student-athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period.

Rikeman was pleased with the size of the November signing class. “This is the largest signing class I have signed in my career and we will expect much of this class in years to come,” said Rikeman, “We are excited to have signed such a great group of young men here at Newberry.”

The signing class includes ten position players, with eight coming from high school and two from a junior college background.

The two junior college transfers, Cassio Grider from Darton College (Ga.) and Johnny Kirkland from Santa Fe Community College (Fla.) are infielders with solid arms and good range.

Newberry has signed three outfielders: Derek Bley (Columbus, Ohio), Corbin Brown (Aynor, S.C.), and Jose Rodriguez (Clermont, Fla.). All three outfielders were praised by the Newberry baseball staff for speed and ability to cover territory defensively.

The Indians also signed four potential catchers, all coming from the high school ranks. C.J. Tyrkala (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and Clarke Palmer (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) will compete for time behind the plate. Multiple position players Zach Upton (Clearwater, Fla.) and Brett Vigrass (Columbia, S.C.) will challenge to be a part of the battery but also will get looks in the infield.

Of the 19 signees, ten are capable pitchers with seven coming from the high school ballparks and another from a junior college.

Michael Thatcher (Bowie, Md.), Chris Roman (Kissimmee, Fla.), Josh McElwee (Andrews, S.C.), and Derek Fulmer (Pelion, S.C.) are considered by the Newberry coaching staff to be hard throwers. Fulmer may also compete for a spot in the outfield.

Wayne Potts a transfer from Santa Fe Community College (Fla.), Andy Garcia (Miami, Fla.), Chauncey Mattei (Greenville, S.C.) Gary Decker (Clermont, Fla.), Matt Mege (Levittown, N.Y.) and Shane Fisher (Greensboro, N.C.) will bolster the pitching staff.

“This class gives us much added depth on the mound as well as more athletes offensively and defensively,” said Rikeman, “I give tremendous credit to Coach Goens, Coach Boeshko and Coach Youngberg for beating the streets and getting people fired up about our program and Newberry College.”

Player            Pos.    Hometown/Previous School
Derek Bley        OF      Columbus, Ohio/ Upper Arlington H.S.
Corbin Brown      OF      Aynor, S.C.Aynor HS
Gary Decker       RHP     Clermont, Fla./East Ridge HS
Shane Fisher      MIF,RHP Greensboro, NC/Southern Guilford HS
Derek Fulmer      LHP,OF  Pelion, S.C./Pelion HS
Andy Garcia       RHP     Miami, Fla./Miami Christian HS
Cassio Grider     SS      Hephzibah, Ga./Darton College
Johnny Kirkland   2B      Orlando, Fla./Santa Fe CC
Josh McElwee      RHP     Andrews, S.C./Andrews HS
Wayne Potts       RHP     Orlando, Fla./Santa Fe CC
Jose Rodriguez    OF      Clermont, Fla./East Ridge HS
Christopher Roman RHP     Poincianna H.S. (Kissimmee, FL)
Michael Thatcher  RHP     Bowie, Md./Riverside Baptist HS
C.J. Tyrkala      C       Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor Univ. HS
Zachary Upton     C,1B    Clearwater, Fla./Clearwater C. Cath.HS
Brett Vigrass     C,2B    Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS
Chauncey Mattei   LHP     Greenville, S.C./Greenville HS
Clarke Palmer     C       Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando HS
Matt Mege         RHP     Levittown, N.Y./MacArthur HS