The University of Kentucky has signed nine recruits for the 2011 baseball season, while Eastern Kentucky has added three players during the fall recruiting period.
Signing with the Wildcats: LHP Corey Littrell (Louisville Trinity), RHP Blake Perry (Boyle County/Pendleton School at IMG Academy (Fla.)), IFs Dallen Reber (St. George, Utah), Paul McConkey (Knoxville) and Matt Reida (Russiaville, Ind.), OFs Lucas Witt (Lexington Christian) and Gavin Patton (South Charleston, W.Va./Pendleton School (Fla.)), and RHP/IFs Trevor Gott (Tates Creek) and J.T. Riddle (Western Hills).
Joining the Colonels: 1B/3B Mitchell Durbin (Fairfield, Ohio), 3b/RHP Bryan Solomon (Jackson, N.J.) and C Sean Hagen (Reading, Pa.).
This is UK’s third recruiting class with Gary Henderson as head coach. His first class — last season’s freshmen — was ranked by Baseball America as fourth-best in the nation. His second class — this season’s freshmen — were sixth in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball.
“We are really excited about our 2010 class,” Henderson said. “The last two years, we have had top-ranked classes and this group of student-athletes is every bit as good. One of the best things about this class is that we have a solid group of Kentucky kids who come to UK. We are extremely excited that we could keep these Kentucky guys home for their college careers.”
Thanks to media relations wizards Brent Ingram of UK and Steve Fohl of EKU for the scoops.
LHP Corey Littrell: Regarded by many as the top prospect in the state. … 141 strikeouts and 39 walks in 111 innings, going 13-2 with one save and an 0.72 ERA last season. … Also batted .375 with two homers and 18 RBI, leading Trinity to a state-semi championship. … Two-time academic all-state pick has made Trinity’s honor roll every quarter. … His father played in Dodgers and Expos organizations; grandfather played in Cubs and Athletics organizations. … Says Henderson: Corey has an advanced ability to pitch for his age. He can already command his fastball and he has a very good changeup that he can throw for a strike. We expect him to pitch early and often in his UK career. He is a serious competitor that we have a chance to build a staff around. He will need to make the same adjustments that they all do but I expect him to compete for innings immediately.”
RHP Blake Perry: At 6-5, 180, he looks the part of No. 2 prospect in the state. … Went 4-0 with two saves, hitting .317, for Boyle County’s region runner-up team in 2008. … Transferred to Pendleton and was chosen to play in Southwest Florida Fall Showcase. … Played summer ball for Danville’s Morse Mustangs, coached by former Wildcat Paul Morse, going 5-0 with two saves, an 0.95 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 44 innings. … His father played for Kansas State and was drafted by the Yankees. … Says Henderson: “Blake has good body control and feel to pitch for a large-framed pitcher. He shows solid command of three pitches and falls into the category of very projectable. He wants to be an outstanding pitcher and I anticipate him being a great worker. He has tremendous potential and we are excited to watch him develop.”
IF Dallen Reber: 6-0, 215-pounder has led Dixie High School to three consecutive second-place finishes in the State Tournament. … First-team all-state as a junior, batting .407 with 29 runs, 33 hits, four doubles, seven homers and 30 RBI. .. Drew 13 walks to five strikeouts. … Played 3B mostly and some at SS. … Says Henderson: “Dallen brings a winner’s personality and a lot of athleticism. He is an absolute winner with very good baseball skills. He is the type of kid that other kids like to be around. He has a combination of strength, speed and skills that we are very excited to bring to our program.”
IF Paul McConkey: Left-handed hitting 5-11, 175-pounder batted .482 with eight homers for Halls High School last season. … Has school records for doubles in a season and double plays turned in a career. … His father played baseball for Tennessee and his sister played softball at Austin Peay. … Says Henderson: “Paul has a very good feel to hit and he can play all three infield spots. He also plays the game with a lot of confidence and poise. That is hard to find in a 17-year-old. He is an extremely good competitor who is serious about being a great baseball player. His attitude and makeup are strong. He will bring an approach that will make those around him better.”
IF Matt Reida: A 5-11, 175-pound, left-handed hitter has been compared with current UK all-SEC IF Chris Bisson. … Teamed with current Wildcat LHP Taylor Rogers to lead the Midland Redskins to this year’s Connie Mack World Series championship at Farmington, N.M. … Hit .429 with three HR, 17 RBI and 10 SB. … National Honor Society member. … Brother of West Virginia assistant coach Tad Reida, who played for Wichita State and Indiana. A sister, Tiffany, played basketball for Indiana State. … Says Henderson: ”Matt is a tremendous competitor. He brings a seriousness and a level of competitiveness that will put him in the center of our club immediately. Matt brings very good baseball skills, great feel for the game and a winner’s presence. He will eventually be a leader, an oustanding leadoff hitter and a middle-infield presence for our club.”
OF Lucas Witt: Two-time all-state in baseball and football (6-2, 185 QB). … Hit .377 with eight doubles, four homers, 20 RBI and 13 SB last season, leading LCA to an All-A state title. … Has LCA in the state football semifinals and has school career records for completions, attempts, touchdown passes, passing yards, quarterback rushing yards, passer rating and quarterback starts. … Says Henderson: “Lucas is an outstanding athlete and an even better young man. He has had a lot of success in both baseball and football at the high school level. He brings with him the knowledge of what it takes to be successful. He is a great competitor, knows how to work and he will make those around him better. We are very excited to see how he develops once he devotes himself to baseball full-time.”
OF Gavin Patton: 6-1, 205-pounder hit .490, a school-record 14 homers, 54 RBI and 22 SB in 2008 for George Washington High. … Moved to the Pendleton School last season, batting .418 with eight doubles, three HR, 39 RBI and 10 SB. … An uncle, Lorin Grow, played six years in Reds organization. … Says Henderson: “Gavin already looks like an SEC outfielder. He’s big, strong and moves well for his size. He brings a combination of speed and power that is hard to come by. We are very excited about him becoming a Wildcat. He plays extremely hard, competes at a high level and will bring an energy to our club that fans and teammates will enjoy.”
RHP/IF Trevor Gott: 6-0, 190-pound, second-team all-stater led Tates Creek in batting (.382) and ERA (1.12). … Says Henderson: “Trevor is a good athlete and has tremendous arm strength. He had a lot of success in his baseball career at a young age and we have watched him for a long time. His body is beginning to get some strength, which is going to help him tremendously on the mound.”
RHP/IF J.T. Riddle: 6-3,175-pound left-handed hitter went 3-3 with a 1.64 ERA and 67 strikeouts over 47 innings last season. … Batted .478 with six doubles, two homers and 11 RBI. … Has 16 SB over three seasons. … Has school single-season records for hits (47), average (.478) and ERA (1.64). … Says Henderson: “J.T. is a gifted athlete that is talented enough to be a two-way player in the SEC. He is like most kids we get in that he needs to develop more strength. J.T. has a good swing, moves well defensively and is clearly a talented pitcher. He has had a lot of success in everything he has done in high school. We are glad to have him with us and are eager to see how he develops.”
1B/3B Mitchell Durbin: 6-2, 200-pound, left-handed hitter and team MVP. … Hit .377 with three HR, 23 RBI, 24 runs, 13 doubles and .662 SP in 2008. … Two-time all-academic team member. … Led Team Ohio in last summer’s Midwest Baseball Classic, hitting .402 with 102 hits, 29 doubles, 12 HR, 69 runs and .752 SP. His high school coach, Larry Price, is father of former EKU player Robby Price. … Says EKU Coach Jason Stein: “Following graduation and the draft of 2010, we will probably have two immediate needs and, as a left-handed bat with power and a corner infielder, Mitch fills both of them.”
3B/RHP Bryan Solomon: 6-4, 225-pound team captain led Jackson Memorial High last season with seven HR, 31 RBI and an .800 SP, while batting .440 with a .517 OBP. … A two-time pre-season All-American. … Says Stein: “Bryan is a complete third baseman. He can hit for average and power, and he is an outstanding defensive player with a great arm. Most impressively, he has a genuine desire to excel at this level and he possesses an excellent baseball attitude.”
C Sean Hagen: 6-1, 190-pounder hit .469 with six HR, 11 doubles and 29 RBI for Muhlenberg High last season. … A two-time pre-season All-American. … Has a 3.75 GPA and has been voted class president the last two years. … Says Stein: “Sean will fill an immediate need at catcher following the graduation of 2010. He is a complete catcher who can catch, throw and block. But he is also a very offensive-minded player as well.”