December 8, 2011

Virginia Cardinals announce 2012 roster

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After what Head Coach Rich Graham called "our most competitive tryout process so far", the Virginia Cardinals baseball program announced a roster of 16 players for the 2012 summer/fall recruiting season.

"We're still looking at a couple of potential pitchers, but the offensive and defensive positions are set at this point," said Graham. "We think we have the right mix of kids, plus once again we will bring a group of underclassmen who have the potential to be both early commits and the foundation of our team for the following year as well."

Thus far, the roster features 11 current juniors (2013's) and 5 sophomores (2014's). Among its returning team leaders will be standouts Tyler Allen and Luke Scherzer of Powhatan, and Mac Caples of James River. Allen, the team's center fielder, has already committed to the University of Virginia. Virginia Tech has shaken hands with both third baseman Caples, and two-way standout Scherzer.

Scherzer will help anchor a strong pitching staff, while he, Caples and Allen assure a powerful lineup. And, as always, the team will feature speed, speed, and more speed, both on defense and around the base paths.

In fact, nine of the Cardinals' eleven projected offensive players post times of 7.0 or lower in the 60, paced by sophomore outfielder Tyler Fitzgerald from Cosby (6.5). Several players combine speed capability with power bats. Even junior catcher Josh Tasker (Amelia), known mostly for his home run capabilities, has posted 60 times as low as 6.8.

Virginia Cardinals Roster

Class of 2013
Tyler Allen,
Powhatan, OF
Glendon Barcliff,
Greenbrier Christian Academy, P
Ryan Bickford,
Cosby, P
John Booker,
Central Virginia Home School Patriots, OF/P
Mac Caples,
James River, 3B
Andrew Knizner,
Hanover, SS
Mack Krupp,
Colonial Heights, P
A.J. Nicely,
Cosby, OF
Austin Powell,
Manchester, P
Luke Scherzer,
Powhatan, P/1B
Josh Tasker,
Amelia, C

Class of 2014
Derek Casey,
Hanover, P
Tyler Fitzgerald, Cosby, OF
Cullen Large,
James River, MINF
Brad McKay,
Cosby, C
Dane Smith,
Great Bridge, MINF

In only their second year, the Cardinals won the 2011 Triple Crown USA 17u national championship, and also shined at Perfect Game's huge WWBA 17u tourney in Georgia, leading that tourney in shutouts while also "run ruling" opponents four times. The only Virginia-based team to win a playoff game in that event, the Cardinals finished tied for 17th in the 216-team event. As might be expected, recruiting results mirrored the performance on the field. In addition to the three underclassman ACC commitments, nine of the team's thirteen seniors have already landed Division I roster spots for next year, and the remaining four seniors continue to aim towards April's signing period.

"With the success of the team we had this past summer, it's amazing to look at our roster and think that we might be even better this time around," Graham said, "But in the end, our success is measured by the placement of these young men at the next level. We think every one of them have it in them to be signing NLI's this time next fall. And several are such strong students, they will have lots of options to sift through to find the right college for them."

For their first two years, the Cardinals were the only recruiting-oriented travel program to charge no tryout fees or participation fees of any kind. Designed to simulate the college experience as much as possible, the team requires players to travel together and to share team-provided hotel rooms on their road trips. A "seed money" sponsorship for 2010 and 2011 made all of that possible. Now, as an IRC 501(c)(3) program, the team is transitioning to the development of a broader base for donor support in hopes of continuing as a fully sponsored team.

"We do appreciate that our players have expressed a willingness to continue with us even if we have to charge some partial fee this year," Graham noted, "but for our part, we still hope to continue on a fully sponsored basis. We're making great progress on that and hope to reach that goal before summer gets here.

"Sure, a lot of our players could afford the fees most teams charge, but then there are some who just could not do this without the sponsorship. Our mission is to make sure no one misses out on a college baseball opportunity just because of money. We have had a number of people step up to help us continue to serve these kids fully, and hope that more will step up so that our model can continue forward year after year."

If you'd like to help sponsor the Virginia Cardinals with a tax-deductible donation, please contact Coach Graham at [email protected]

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