Nov. 20, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - Following the completion of the early signing period, Fresno State Baseball has announced that eight new student-athletes have accepted offers to play for Fresno State in the 2009 season. "We are extremely excited with this early signing class," said head coach Mike Batesole.
"We addressed our key needs for 2009 with this class, and we were able to keep the best players in the Valley at home," added Batesole. Six of the eight signees are Central Valley products. "We expect to lose a large chunk of our pitching staff to the draft and graduation this Spring, so addressing our needs on the mound was our first priority." The signing class includes five pitchers and three outfielders.
Highlighting the 2008 class is Josh Poytress, a highly touted left-handed pitcher from Fowler High School. Poytress, also the starting quarterback at Fowler High School for the last two years, led Fowler to the CIF Division V Baseball Championship in 2007 going 9-1 with a 1.56 ERA, and 93 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched.
"Keeping the best student-athletes in the Valley at home is always our highest priority in recruiting," said Batesole. "Josh is not only one of the top baseball recruits in the State, but he is probably the best all-around athlete in the San Jaoquin Valley in the 2008 class."
Recognized as the Fresno Bee Player of the Year in 2007, Poytress also garnered All-State honors as a sophomore and a junior at Fowler. Poytress was selected to pitch in the prestigious Area Code Games in August, garnering National Attention and being ranked as the 87th best High School Prospect nationally, according to Baseball America.
Derek Benny and Charlie Robertson, a pair of 6'5" right handed pitchers from the Sacramento area, join Poytress as Bulldog recruits who could garner professional interest in the 2008 draft.
"Josh, Derek and Charlie are special recruits that you hope to hold onto when the professional draft comes around in June," said Batesole of the highly touted trio.
Robertson, whose brother Tyler recently completed his second professional season in the Minnesota Twins organization after being selected in the third round of the 2006 draft, was named the 2007 Capitol League MVP and first team All-Metro for his efforts on the mound and at the plate as a left hand hitting first baseman. Benny, a first team All-Sierra Foothill League and Sacramento Bee honoree, garnered scouts attention with his strong arm while pitching for the Colorado Rockies scout team this fall.
Also included in the recruiting class are two highly recruited outfielders from Central Valley high schools. Brennan Gowens and Dustin Robinson were both selected to the North team in the North/South All-Star Series, a three-game showcase highlighting the top 20 players from Northern and Southern California. Gowens hit .390 with 21 RBI's in 2007 while being selected to the TRAC's First Team, and was recognized as the Fresno Bee Co-Rookie of the Year in Baseball. Robinson tied for the section lead in Home Runs with 13, and was selected as an All-State outfielder in 2007 while playing for Central Section Champion Centennial High School. Robinson, a two-time All-SWYL selection, was also an all conference Wide Receiver/Safety in football.
"What we love about these two, in addition to their talent, is their make-up. They both come from winning programs and demonstrate a competitiveness that we really like," said Batesole.
Joining Gowens and Robinson as position players in this class is Kenny Wise, a fleet footed outfielder from Camarillo High School. An All-Pacific View League Selection in 2007, Wise brings a combination of speed and power that helped carry Camarillo to runner up finish in the prestigious CIF Southern Section.
"Kenny can really run, and we believe he will develop into more of power hitter as he grows into his frame," said Batesole of the accomplished athlete and honors student.
Rounding out the early signing class are two more pitchers who the coaching staff believe are just scratching the surface of their abilities in LHP Tom Harlan and RHP Steven Haynes.
"Tom is a projectable left-handed pitcher, who has already had success in a difficult league," said Batesole of the 6'5" lefty from Riordan High School in San Francisco.
Harlan gained first-team honors in the WCAL, recognized as the top league in the Bay Area for Baseball, and was recognized by the San Jose Mercury News for his 2007 season. Haynes pitched for Central Section Champion El Diamante in 2007, but really gained the attention of college coaches and scouts in a number of showcases over the summer.
"Steven really came on this summer as he developed velocity and confidence" Batesole said of the 6'3" righthander.
Coming off the programs first back to back WAC titles, and consecutive appearances in the NCAA Regionals, the coaching staff feels they were able to fill their needs and are excited about the future of the program.
"We believe the program is heading in the right direction," said Batesole. "We feel that these are the type of student-athletes that are needed to continue our success and take the next step at the national level."
The Bulldogs first game will be on Friday, Feb. 22 at 6:05 p.m. at Beiden Field against UC Davis.
"Join the State - Fresno State!" - For more information on the Fresno State Baseball Team, log onto www.gobulldogs.com.
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