Islanders Add 15 to Latest Baseball Recruiting Class

Islanders Add 15 to Latest Baseball Recruiting Class

The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team recently added 15 players to complete its incoming fall class. The mix of hitters and pitchers is one of the best in the tenure of head coach Scott Malone and recruiting coordinator Chris Ramirez.

"This class is very representative of some tremendously hard work on the part of Chris Ramirez," said Malone. "Because of the loss of Daniel Minor to the Houston Astros and long-time closer Philly Garcia to graduation, we felt like we needed to continue to add to the pitching staff."

In addition to pitching help, the Islanders will also be replacing several position players in the lineup.

"The loss of five quality seniors – Jeramie Marek, Weston Montgomery, Dan Sciantarelli, Santiago Ruiz and Drew Vest – meant we had to go out and rebuild the entire infield for 2013," said Malone. "Look for these additions to make an immediate impact on the roster in the spring of 2013.  We are excited for the fall practice to begin on Sept. 28 so that we can go to work and let these guys start to win some jobs. It should be an exciting, competitive fall season."

Name  Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Previous School
Thomas Casey  RHP 6-5 225 Holladay, Utah/Navarro JC
Josh Cruz INF  5-9 180  Corpus Christi, Texas/Carroll HS
Dalton D'Spain RHP/INF 6-1 165 San Antonio, Texas/Boerne HS
Juan Farias INF  5-7 180  Corpus Christi, Texas/Moody HS
Jared Henke RHP 6-4 185 Fort Worth, Texas/Vernon JC
Jacob Hubert OF 5-11 190 Corpus Christi, Texas/Laredo JC
Kaleb Keith RHP/1B 6-4 265 San Antonio, Texas/D'Hanis HS
A.J. Longoria RHP 6-0 175 Corpus Christi, Texas/Midland JC
Zach Nichols RHP/OF 6-0 220 Hannibal, Mo./Southeastern (Iowa) JC
Victor Rodela C 5-10 185 Corpus Christi, Texas/Moody HS
Dalton Sherer LHP 6-0 205 Spring, Texas/Klein Oak HS
Dylan Shofner C 6-0 190 Houston, Texas/Memorial HS
Cody Stephens INF 5-9 160 Concord, Calif./Los Medanos JC
Brandon Tierney INF 6-0 195 Arlington, Texas/Iowa Western JC
Russell Vaughan C 5-9 170 Mesa, Ariz./South Mountain JC



Thomas Casey

RHP • 6-5 • 225

Holladay, Utah/Navarro JC


Thomas Casey is a towering right-handed pitcher who medically redshirted at Navarro College this past year after spending three semesters at the United States Military Academy. At Cottonwood High School, he was named to the all-region team after producing an 8-1 record with a 2.40 ERA during his senior season. Casey will be a redshirt sophomore this coming year.

Ramirez on Casey:

"Thomas has a ton of upside on the mound with his tall and athletic frame. His tremendous work ethic and character fit exactly the type of young men we want in our program."


Josh Cruz

INF • 5-9 • 180

Corpus Christi, Texas/Carroll HS


As a senior at Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Josh Cruz was Second Team All-South Texas, first team all-district and the Defensive Player of the Year for Carroll Baseball. As a junior, he was named First Team 5A All-State at third base, and was also First Team All-South Texas. He earned Second Team All-State honors as a sophomore, and was a member of the All-Tournament Team in the state baseball tournament. He was named all-district each of his four years at Carroll.

Ramirez on Cruz:

"Josh brings the winning tradition from Carroll High School as another talented local product joins our program. Josh is an aggressive player that we are excited to have on campus."


Dalton D'Spain

RHP/INF • 6-1 • 165

San Antonio, Texas/Boerne HS


Dalton D'Spain was a unanimous first team all-district selection at third base his final three years at Boerne High School in San Antonio, and was named First Team All-State as a senior, as well as third team during his junior year. In his final season, he batted .475 with 32 RBI, 14 doubles and five triples to earn a spot in the San Antonio Area All-Star Game. In addition to his athletic achievements, D'Spain was an Academic All-District honoree each year during his final three seasons.

Ramirez on D'Spain:

"Dalton has a very loose, electric young arm. He is one of the top all-around players in the San Antonio area and will have a bright future in our program."


Juan Farias

INF • 5-7 • 180

Corpus Christi, Texas/Moody HS


Juan Farias was all-everything at Moody High School, earning First Team All-State at second base during his senior year, as well as First Team All-South Texas and all-district. He was named a 2012 Corpus Christi Hooks Preseason All-Star and won the 2012 Pure Hitter Award. During his senior season, Farias hit .440 with a .586 on-base percentage, .720 slugging percentage and a 1.306 OPS.

Ramirez on Farias:

"Juan is another very talented player from Corpus Christi and Moody High School. He shows the ability to be an offensive threat from the left side of the plate, and we are excited to add another local player to our roster."


Jared Henke

RHP • 6-4 • 185

Fort Worth, Texas/Vernon JC


Jared Henke is a right-handed pitcher from Vernon JC who will be an incoming junior for the Islanders. Originally from Fort Worth, Henke played two seasons at Vernon, striking out 38 batters as a sophomore in 59.2 innings. The lanky right-hander led Vernon in innings pitched and conference ERA while throwing seven complete games to end the season last year. In high school, he was First Team All-District 5-5A at Northwest High School. During the 2010 season, he broke his own school record with 107 strikeouts while throwing 10 complete games.

Ramirez on Henke:

"Jared has a prototypical pitcher body. He is already a proven strike thrower and starter at the junior college level. He will be a good addition to an already strong pitching staff."


Jacob Hubert 

OF • 5-11 • 190

Corpus Christi, Texas/Laredo JC


Jacob Hubert comes from Laredo JC, and was a graduate of Calallen High School. The outfielder was named both second and third team All-State during his time at Calallen, and was also a two-time All-South Texas selection. At Laredo, he was the Newcomer of the Year, and this past summer he earned Perfect Game Collegiate League All-Star honors for the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.

Ramirez on Hubert:

"Jacob is a very athletic outfielder whose speed and ability to steal bases is a valuable addition to our program. With him originally being from Calallen High School, we are excited get Jacob back in front of the hometown fans."


Kaleb Keith

RHP/1B • 6-4 • 265

San Antonio, Texas/D'Hanis HS


Kaleb Keith comes to the Island University from D'Hanis High School in San Antonio, where he was a First Team All-State selection as a pitcher. His senior year, Keith went 12-2 with 166 strikeouts on the mound, while hitting .470 with six home runs, 20 doubles and three triples at the plate. He led his team to a Regional Finals appearance while being named to the San Antonio Express-News Sub 4A Super Team, was Area MVP and district MVP while being selected for the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Team.

Ramirez on Keith:

"Kaleb is a big, strong and physical kid with a very clean arm action. Kaleb profiles to be one of the more prototypical power high school arms we have recruited to this program."


A.J. Longoria

RHP • 6-0 • 175

Corpus Christi, Texas/Midland JC


Another local product, AJ Longoria comes to Texas A&M – Corpus Christi from Midland JC after attending high school at Moody. His final season at Midland, he pitched 31.1 innings and had a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio as the go-to guy out of the bullpen. He was selected for the Texas/New Mexico All-Star Game during the regular season, and was an all-star this summer in the California League.

Ramirez on Longoria:

"We are excited to bring another local player back to the city and into an Islanders uniform. A.J. has a very live and quick arm on the mound and shows the ability to pitch with an above average breaking ball."


Zach Nichols

RHP/OF • 6-0 • 220

Hannibal, Mo./Southeastern JC


Zach Nichols is one of the most decorated members of the newest baseball class, collecting NJCAA First Team All-America honors at Southeastern CC after taking over as the closer for the team in addition to his starting spot in the outfield. He hit .434 with 18 doubles, 14 home runs, four triples and 55 RBI. On the mound, Nichols was Top 10 in the NJCAA with 10 saves. While playing for his hometown Hannibal Cavemen this summer, Nichols was also named a Prospect League All-Star.

Ramirez on Nichols:

"Zach continues the recent tradition of talented players we have signed out of Southeastern JC. He has put together some of the more impressive numbers, from the spring and summer, of any player we have brought into this program. He should add a physical presence to the middle of our lineup as well as impact the back of our bullpen."


Victor Rodela

C • 5-10 • 185

Corpus Christi, Texas/Moody HS


Victor Rodela comes to The Island from Moody High School in Corpus Christi. The catcher was a first team all-district pick, as well as being second team All-State and second team All-South. As a hitter, Rodella hit over .400 on the year with five home runs and 14 doubles. On the mound, he earned a 9-2 record with a 0.72 ERA.

Ramirez on Rodela:

"Victor was one of the top players in our city this season at traditional powerhouse Moody High School. He is an offensive minded player with the tools to be an above average defender at this level."


Dalton Sherer

LHP • 6-0 • 205

Spring, Texas/Klein Oak HS


Dalton Sherer comes to the Islanders from Klein Oak High School in Spring, Texas. He missed his senior season due to an arm injury, but will be a valuable addition to the team. During the summer of 2011, Sherer tossed a shutout in the Perfect Game WWBA 18u World Series.

Ramirez on Sherer:

"Dalton is a player we liked heading into his senior year in high school but he had to sit out due to an arm injury. We look forward to watching him get back to form as he will continue his rehab with our excellent athletic training staff."


Dylan Shofner

C • 6-0 • 190

Houston, Texas/Memorial HS


High schooler Dylan Shofner attended Memorial High School in Houston, and was a first-team member of the District 19-5A team as a designated hitter, as well as being named the Third Team Offensive Player of the Year by the All-Greater Houston organization. The Spring Branch Optimist Club in Houston named him the Texas 2012 Offensive Player of the Year.

Ramirez on Shofner:

"Dylan has a blue-collar mentality when it comes to work ethic. He comes from one of the top high school programs in Houston that produces Division I and professional players each season. His left-handed bat will be a luxury to have at the catching position."


Cody Stephens

INF • 5-9 • 160

Concord, Calif./Los Medanos JC


Cody Stephens is a transfer from Los Medanos College in California. A native of Concord, Calif., Stephens attended the University of Washington during his freshman season before transferring. At Los Medanos, he hit .333 as a sophomore while driving in 23 runs and scoring 29 on the year. He was named Second Team All-Bay Valley as a shortstop.

Ramirez on Stephens:

"Cody brings some versatility to team as he can play three infield positions. He brings experience to our program having spent one year at the Division I level and in the Pac-12 at the University of Washington prior to playing at the JC level. Adding Cody also shows our ability to attract players from across the country to our program."


Brandon Tierney

INF • 6-0 • 195

Arlington, Texas/Iowa Western JC


Brandon Tierney is a shortstop from Iowa Western JC. After going to Arkansas to play football out of high school, Tierney transferred to Iowa Western following his freshman season, and helped the Reivers to an NJCAA Division I National Championship. He hit .409 as a sophomore, adding 50 RBI, 12 doubles and two triples on the way to the first team all-conference honors and the NJCAA World Series. In high school, Tierney hit .533 and was first team all-district as a senior at Fort Worth Country Day School.

Ramirez on Tierney:

"Brandon was the starting shortstop for the back-to-back NJCAA Division I National Champions last year. He is a very athletic all-around athlete as he was initially a football recruit at the University of Arkansas out of high school. Brandon has the tools to be an offensive middle infielder immediately in our program."



Russell Vaughan

C • 5-9 • 170

Mesa, Ariz./South Mountain JC


Russell Vaughan is a catcher from South Mountain JC in Phoenix, Ariz. As a sophomore, Vaughan was named an NJCAA All-Star, hitting .290 with an on-base percentage of .460 during the season. He also received the Pinnacle Award from the NJCAA for having a 4.0 GPA. In high school, he was a two-time state champion, all-region as a junior and senior and was selected for the Arizona State All-Star team.

Ramirez on Vaughan:

"Russell has been the everyday starting catcher for an extremely competitive Arizona junior college. He is a high-character individual that will be able to step in to our program and solidify our catching position."


The new additions will combine with the 10 who signed in the fall to complete the newest class of Islanders.


Fall Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Previous School
Chris Cano RHP/OF
6-2 170 Corpus Christi, Texas/Mary Carroll HS
Clayton Davis OF 5-11 200 The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS
Oshea Dumes RHP/1B 6-2 225 Corpus Christi, Texas/Mary Carroll HS
Brandon Guilford 2B 5-10 180 McKinney, Texas/Frisco Heritage HS
Zacarias Hardy OF 6-1 182 Dallas, Texas/Keller HS
Nolan Holland RHP 6-1 210 Spring, Texas/Klein Oak HS
Brad Lamberti C 5-10 190 Altoona, Iowa/Des Moines Area JC
Dominic Lopez 3B 6-0 200 Corpus Christi, Texas/John Paul II 
Jakob Silva 2B/SS 5-8 165 Corpus Christi, Texas/John Paul II 
Zach Taylor INF 6-0 185 Georgetown, Texas/Angelina JC

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