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Monday, December 08, 2008When Lipscomb University baseball coach Jeff Forehand looks at his 2009 recruiting class the only phrase he can use to describe them is a “perfect” 10
Forehand credits assistant coach Chris Collins, along with pitching coach Lantz Wheeler and Brian Ryman, director of baseball operations, for helping to bring the class together. Collins, in his first year as an assistant at Lipscomb after serving last season as head coach at Trevecca Nazarene oversaw the recruiting efforts of the staff.
“We all put in a lot of time and energy into this with Chris heading it up,” said Forehand. Chris and Lantz have been on the road a lot. We feel like this class could be the best one we have had in a long time.
“Hopefully, they will pan out. But right now we are excited about what they look like on paper.”
The recruiting class features five junior college players and five high school players.
“We have a great mix of high school and junior college players,” said Forehand. “We are able to replace some holes immediately and some freshmen we can mold. With the accomplishments they all have had we have put together a pretty solid class.”
The junior college players are:
Cory Hale, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, batted .454 and was first in the TJCAA in hits per game with an average of 1.52 for Columbia State in Columbia, Tenn. He had 64 hits overall, including 15 doubles, four triples and seven home runs. He was 10th in the TJCAA in runs scored with 46. He also had 45 runs batted in.
“Cory plays second base for Columbia State,” said Forehand. “He is just going to be a huge addition to our team offensively. For us he will probably move across and play mostly at third base.”
Cory played high school baseball at Harpeth. He was a four-time All-District team member. In 2006 he was the Team Offensive MVP. In 2007 he earned the team’s “Hardest Hitter” award.
He is a versatile athlete. In wrestling he had a record of 36-6 and qualified for the state matches as a junior. He was an All-County pick in wrestling in 2004 and 2005 in Cheatham. He was the Iron Man Award winner in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. In football he was an All-Region selection his junior year. He won the “Horizon” Award in football in 2005.
Todd Hughson, a left-handed pitcher, is attending Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, Mo.
Hughson, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, lives in Lawson, Mo., where he attended Lawson R XIV High School. In 2007 he was All-State and All-District. He also served as team captain of his high school team in 2007, the year the team won the District Championship. A versatile athlete, he lettered three years in both baseball and football and two years in basketball. He was an all-conference performer in football. He also lettered four years in band. In the classroom he was an honor roll student in high school.
“Todd didn’t have great numbers as a freshman, but we feel like we picked up an experienced left-hand pitcher,” said Forehand. “He will hopefully be a mid-week starter or a weekend guy.”
James Jones, 6-3, 210 pounds, will be a sophomore this spring at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill.
At Ballard Memorial High School in Paducah, Ky., he was All-Region and All-District his senior year. He also was the team MVP and team captain his senior season. He also lettered one season in football.
“James has a great arm,” said Forehand. “He is a hard-throwing right-hander. He could step in and play a major role as a starter in conference games for us.”
Chris Lovett played shortstop last season for Columbia State. He set a new school record for home runs with 15. He batted .405 and collected 60 hits overall, including 14 doubles and three triples. He was eighth in the TJCCAA in runs scored with 54. He also had 50 runs batted in.
Lovett, 6-1, 175 pounds, played high school baseball at Columbia Central High School. He was an All-District selection in 2006 and 2007. He served as captain of his high school team in 2007.
His American Legion Post 19 team played in the World Series in 2007. He was both the State and Regional American Legion MVP in 2007. He also won an Athletic Academic Award in 2007.
“Chris is probably going to step in for us at shortstop and be an immediate impact player,” said Forehand. “He had a great year last year in junior college hitting 15 home runs. He is not really a power-hitting guy, but he just has a good swing and is strong. He and Cory Hale will be huge additions to the left side of our infield.
“He has not played his best games yet. We want every kid to have an opportunity to get drafted. Hopefully, we will have him for at least a couple of years before he goes that direction.”
Chan Walsh is the brother of Lipscomb pitching coach Lantz Wheeler. He also attends John A. Logan College.
“Chan is a hard-throwing right-hander,” said Forehand. “He is lean in build. He has a good slider. He will make a big impact in our bullpen.”
Chan, 6-2, 165 pounds, attended Central Hardin High School in Elizabethton, Ky.
The high school players are:
Ricky Coleman was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State team as a shortstop for University School of Nashville for 2008.
“Ricky is such an athletic guy,” said Forehand. “His best baseball is in front of him. He has got so much potential and so much talent. He plays a lot of different positions. On his high school team he plays shortstop and pitches. On his summer team he plays in the outfield.
“More than likely he is probably going to be third baseman-outfielder for us. He has a lot of potential. He is a good runner. He is going to fit into our scheme really well.”
T.J. Hoelzer is a shortstop at David Lipscomb High School. He was a member of the Tennessean's All-Midstate Team in 2008. He was also selected to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Team in Class AA.
“T.J. is an athletic player as well,” said Forehand. “Hoelzer and Ricky Coleman are considered to be two of the best high school players around town and we got both of them.
“He is a good hitter. He could play shortstop or second base. He has a chance to step in right away.”
Chris Nunn plays for Harding Academy and lives in Cordova, Tenn.
He was an All-Region selection in 2008 and also was a member of the All-Region Tournament Team. “Tennessee Baseball Reports” named him to their “Two-way” Team. He was also a member of the Memphis “Commercial Appeal” All-Metro Team in the private schools division in 2008 as a member of the D-2 State Championship team.
Chris was named Pitcher of the Year for his high school team in 2008. He posted a 5-3 record with a 2.83 earned run average. He struck out 72 batters in 44.2 innings. In postseason he threw 17.1 innings and struck out 27 while posting a 1.21 ERA. He also batted .386 overall for the season.
In the summer he plays for the 17-U Dulin Dodgers. He also lettered in basketball for three seasons.
“Chris is a big, lanky 6-5 left-handed pitcher,” said Forehand. “He is still developing, but he has the potential to throw the ball pretty hard. He knew where he wanted to go to school for a long time. He is the first one we signed for this class.
“Left-handed pitching is at a premium. You have to have it. I believe he is going to be able to step in and be good.”
Brandon Rowe, 6-1, 190 pounds, is a right-handed pitcher for Independence High School in Franklin.
“Brandon is the Cinderella story, I guess,” said Forehand. “He came to camp and we saw him play around town a few times. We feel like the sky is the limit for him as to what he can do on the mound. He will be a good addition to the bullpen.”
He was Independence High’s “Varsity Pitcher of the Year” in 2008. He is the first pitcher at Independence High School to beat county rival Brentwood High, a feat he accomplished in 2008.
Brett Teschner is a 6-3, 225-pound, catcher from Loganville, Ga. He plays for South Gwinnett High School.
He was named to both the All-Region and All-District Teams in 2008. He has lettered three seasons in baseball and one season in football. His high school baseball team has made three straight appearances in the state tournament.
“We were excited to be able to get into the state of Georgia and get Brett,” said Forehand. “We felt like the NCAA regional run in Athens helped us get him. A lot of people, especially the mid-majors were after him. A lot of pro scouts think he has real potential. He is a guy we think we can mold into a real solid player.”