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 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.
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]