JONESBORO, Ark. (11/28/16) – Arkansas State head baseball coach Tommy Raffo announced the addition of nine student-athletes to the program during the early signing period for the 2018 season on Monday.
The Red Wolves’ newcomers include Andrew Leggo (Waterloo, Ontario), Pierce Mitchum (Heber Springs, Ark.), Jacob Jablonski (Palmdale, Calif.), Carter Holt (Jackson, Tenn.), Noah Stone (St. Louis, Mo.), Jaylon Deshazier (Pine Bluff, Ark.), Tyler Moreland (Texarkana, Ark.), Korey Wasson (Hot Springs, Ark.), and Andrew Lannon (Armorel, Ark.).
“The recruiting efforts of Noah Sanders and Caleb Longshore deserve a lot of credit for putting together a superb class for the future of A-State baseball,” said Raffo. “They did a great job evaluating the right kind of baseball student-athlete to win in the Sun Belt and building relationships with these student-athletes to join the Red Wolves baseball family.”
Leggo is a middle infielder by trade and also played outfield for the Ontario Blue Jays, one of Canada’s premier travel organizations, and he preps at St. David Catholic Secondary School. The Waterloo, Ontario native was named a 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention All-American and is ranked as the 23rd best player and second-best second baseman in the class of 2017 in Ontario by Prep Baseball Report (PBR). He helped the Blue Jays to a Baseball’s Elite Summer Tournament (B.E.S.T.) National Championship and the team finished the year ranked No. 17 according to Perfect Game.
“Andrew is a leadoff type hitter with a ton of speed and the ability to hit for extra bases from both sides of the plate,” Raffo commented. “He immediately raises our team speed and overall athleticism. He can play multiple positions on the field at a high level, and his work ethic will fit in nicely with our current Red Wolves.”
An outfielder by trade, Mitchum preps at Heber Springs High School and also played travel baseball for the Arkansas Prospects. He’s a three-time All-Conference selection and two-time All-State honoree for the Panthers. Additionally, he has earned two All-Conference nods for football and was named All-State in track and field.
“Pierce is a very athletic player who has the ability to play multiple positions on the field and the strength to one day hit for power at this level,” Raffo stated. “He has been a three-sport athlete in high school and excelled in each. We look for him to bring an aspect of toughness to the field here at Arkansas State.”
Jablonski has already earned three letters at Paraclete High School in Lancaster, Calif., and was an All-League Second-Team selection as a freshman in 2014. The infielder followed with a Second-Team All-League nod and Defensive Player of the Year accolade as a sophomore in 2015 and a First-Team All-League honor as a junior in 2016. He helped the Spirits to the Gold Coast League Championship in 2016 and was also named an alternate for the USA Junior Olympic Team. Additionally, he’s been elected class president three times and was named president of the entire student body as a senior along with earning the City of Lancaster 2016 Teen Spotlight award for community service.
“Jake is a switch hitting middle infielder who will provide premier defense and brings in a high-level baseball IQ,” Raffo continued. “He has shown both the ability to get on base at the top of the order and the pop we are looking for in the middle of the lineup. He is a model citizen off the field as he has shown with his will to provide many different services to his community and surrounding areas back home. We are looking forward to bringing that leadership into the locker room.”
A right-handed pitcher from Jackson Christian, Holt registered a 12-2 record along with a 1.11 ERA and 94 strikeouts as junior in 2016. He’s a two-time All-District honoree and was named All-State in 2016 along with earning the West Tennessee Player of the Year accolade. Additionally, he was named an Honorable Mention Perfect Game Underclass All-American and is a four-time Perfect Game WWBA All-Tournament Team selection.
“Carter is a physical right-handed pitcher who we have been following for quite some time,” added Raffo. “His competitive nature and will to succeed for his team are very evident when you see him on the mound. He has a heavy fastball that is complimented well by his hard slider and above-average changeup. We look for him to make a huge impact on the mound.”
Stone is a right-handed pitcher from Lutheran South High School and went 3-1 with 42 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA in 29 innings as a junior in 2016. He earned First-Team All-District accolades in 2016 and is the 12th best right-handed pitcher in Missouri by PBR. Additionally, he’s been invited to attend the PBR Class of 2017 Games. He’s an honor student in the classroom and is a member of Future Business Leaders of America.
“Noah is a strong right handed pitcher who has shown the ability to throw at a high level,” Raffo noted. “We’ve seen his fastball in the low 90s and he also possesses a wipeout slider. His tall frame will also lend for even more velocity in the near future. His skill set will allow him to pitch in a variety of roles early on in his career.”
A right-handed pitcher from Pine Bluff High School, Deshazier is a three-time All-Conference honoree and garnered All-State accolades in 2015 and 2016. He’s ranked as the seventh-best player and second-best right-handed pitcher in the state of Arkansas by PBR after tossing 37.1 innings with 36 strikeouts against just 13 walks. PBR tabbed him as the 279th best player in the country and 102nd right-handed pitcher. He plays summer and fall baseball for the Extra Innings Sticks.
“Jaylon is a very special athlete who comes from a storied program at Pine Bluff High,” Raffo mentioned. “He’s a two-sport athlete and a physical specimen. He possesses a fastball with a ton of natural movement that goes really well with his above average slider. His makeup off the field will also have a huge impact on our team and locker room.”
Moreland is a right-handed pitcher and outfielder that attends Genoa Central High School, where he is a two-time All-Conference honoree and was chosen All-State in 2016. He earned First-Team Texarkana Gazette honors as a junior and was a Preseason All-American selection by Under Armour as both a sophomore and junior. The Texarkana, Ark., native played in the 2015 Pre-Season Under Armour All- American Games and helped the Dragons to conference, regional, and 3A State Championships as a sophomore in 2014.
“Tyler is another special athlete out of southern Arkansas,” asserted Raffo. “He’s also a standout on the football field and track at Genoa Central. That athleticism will bode well during his time at A-State. We have seen Tyler hit homeruns and throw a strong upper 80s fastball in the same game multiple times over the past few years. He’s a very physical kid with an extremely high ceiling as a baseball player.”
Wasson preps at Hot Springs High School and has started all three seasons for the Trojans. The right-handed pitcher registered a 3-3 record on the bump with a 0.65 ERA as a junior and led the conference with 103 strikeouts in 54 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .149 average. He’s a three-time All-Conference selection and has been named an Under Armour Preseason All-American all three years.
“Korey is a gifted athlete who has also exceled as a quarterback on the football field throughout his career at Hot Springs High,” declared Raffo. “He has a quick arm that has allowed him to throw his fastball in the upper 80s and low 90s consistently throughout this past summer. We love his mindset and his willingness to work hard on his craft.”
A catcher at Armorel High School, Lannon has been named All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State three times. He’s been a stalwart behind the plate as he’s helped the Tigers to back-to-back 1A State Championships under head coach Mike Dobbins.
“Andrew is a well above-average defender behind the plate and possesses a strong left handed bat that we think will really gain some power over time,” Raffo explained. “He’s a real team leader and his energy on the field is at an extremely high level. He’s already shown the ability to handle high level pitching as both a hitter and a catcher.”For the latest on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the Arkansas State Baseball Facebook page or by following the team on Twitter (@ASTATEBaseball) and Instagram (arkansasstatebaseball).