PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Baseball) – The Shawnee State baseball team has announced its 2015 spring signing class, in anticipation of the season beginning on Feb. 6, at Milligan College. The Bears have added eight new faces, including three incoming freshmen, three mid-year transfers and a pair of familiar faces from the SSU basketball team.
"Coaches Phillip Butler and Austin Dunfee worked hard to bring in a class at semester that will supplement the group we already have here at Shawnee State," first-year head coach Chris Moore said. "We were able to bring in a few arms along with adding depth at positions that needed it so I am proud of the work they did in shaping their first recruiting class."
Dylan Lyster (FR/Freeport, Texas) is a freshman left-handed pitcher from Freeport, Texas out of Brazoswood High School. He is joined by fellow freshman Mike Watson (FR/Niles, Ohio), an infielder and right-handed pitcher from McKinley High School in Niles, Ohio. The final freshman is utility man and Houston, Texas product, Paul Zepeda (FR/Houston, Texas). Zepeda spent the fall at Alvin Community College, but redshirted and will come to SSU as a freshman.
Jason Byers (JR/East Granby, Conn.), a junior left-handed hurler from East Granby, Conn., comes by way of Marietta College. Byers went 10-2 in 17 appearances with the Pioneers last season, throwing 95.1 innings while striking out 91 and walking just 22.
Andrew Dito (JR/Loraine, Ohio), a junior catcher from Loraine, Ohio, joins the Bears after a stint with Lakeland Community College. Dito appeared in 35 games during the 2012-13 season for Lakeland, hitting .306 in 23 conference games with a .468 slugging percentage. Behind the plate, he caught five runners in 18 attempts.
Mauro Olivaria (JR/San Diego, Calif.), a San Diego, Calif., native spent his first two collegiate seasons at San Diego Mesa Community College, where the right-hander played infield and pitched. Olivarria appeared in 34 games, batting .235 with a .341 on-base percentage last season. He added a pair of home runs to go with 21 RBIs.
The final two signees are faces familiar in the Shawnee State athletic department. They are brothers, Alex Moffatt (SO/Somerville, Tenn.) and Ethan Moffatt (JR/Somerville, Tenn.) – current members of the SSU men's basketball team. The pair, both from Sommerville, Tenn., will be right-handed pitchers for the Bears. Alex is a sophomore, while his older brother Ethan is a junior.
Here is what Coach Moore had to say about each of his new additions:
Coach Moore: "Jason is a talented LHP who will compete for a weekend starting position right away. He has an excellent feel for pitching and will be a great addition to our team not only with what he does on the mound but how he goes about his business in between appearances."
Coach Moore: "Andy is a solid catch a throw guy and a leader on the field. He provides experience behind the plate and had always been an excellent, team first type player. When Andy gets into the swing of things, we expect him to be a solid contributor to our team."
Coach Moore: "Dylan is a young and talented LHP who had previously been coached by Coach Butler during summer ball in Texas. He is highly projectable and will only improve with experience as he gets more and more time on the mound. We have high expectations for Dylan in the near future."
Coach Moore: "Alex is one of two players added at semester that currently play on the SSU basketball team. He is extraordinarily athletic and has an excellent arm. His raw ability is as good as anyone we have on staff and now our challenge is to find a way to develop that ability in game time situations. Alex has a great chance to be an important part of our bullpen."
Coach Moore: "Ethan is the other half of the SSU basketball duo and Alex's older brother. He comes in with as much promise as Alex but is more polished due to a distinguished high school career on the baseball field. Ethan projects more as a starting pitcher right now with a feel to throw three quality pitches but whatever his role is, we expect him to contribute right away."
Coach Moore: "Mauro comes to us a polished infielder who has versatility to play a couple of different spots. He is also a middle of the order left-handed hitter that we expect to provide some offensive punch to our lineup. Mauro also has great ability on the mound and will clearly help out coming out of the bullpen this season."
Coach Moore: "Mike comes in as one of the better natural athletes we have on the roster. He shows excellent actions in the infield and has good bat speed. Mike is also a quality arm who can either come out of the bullpen or start. Early on, his raw stuff is as good as we have on staff. It's been a few years since he has played but I expect him to hit his stride very soon and be an excellent player."
Coach Moore: "Paul is a versatile player that gives us great depth at multiple positions. He can play all the infield and outfield positions and transitions smoothly between different spots. Paul is the type of guy every team needs on their roster. Early on, he has shown some bat speed and a good feel for his barrel as well."