Contact: C. Scott Shasteen
Jan. 30, 2017
With only nine players returning from last year's roster, including four who were redshirts in 2016, Motlow State head baseball coach Dan McShea may still be learning player names as the Bucks prepare to open the 2017 season. Practice for the new season officially began Jan. 10.
The Motlow starting nine will take the field for the first time on Friday, Feb. 3, when they travel to Hanceville, Ala., for a doubleheader against Wallace State, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The first home game will be Feb. 10, with Marshalltown (IA) Community College visiting the Driver Baseball Complex at noon.
"It's always interesting to see how each team will come together prior to playing the season," said McShea. "This is especially so with the number of new faces we have this year. This group of young men has really put in a lot of hard work in the classroom and on the field, and they have come together nicely as a team. We will need to remember this when we start playing games and continue to be unselfish players. That is a trait of every great team."
McShea has five sophomores returning who were active members of last year's squad; shortstop J.D. Robertson and left-handed pitcher/outfielder Camron Harper, both from Smyrna, and pitchers R.J. Moore from Tullahoma, Drew Jarrett from Clarksville and Matt Westberry from Murfreesboro.
The four redshirts, who were Motlow students last year but for various reasons were granted a redshirt season, are catcher Seth DeYong from Smyrna, pitcher/infielder Lane Whitesell from Lewisburg, and a pair of Charlotte, Tenn., outfielders Mathis Duncan and Paul Rahman.
"It's an exciting time to be part of the Motlow family and, like our players, I am really looking forward to getting started," McShea continued. "We have a very difficult schedule early on and we should be able to learn a lot from playing some high caliber teams. If we want to be successful in this conference we will need to mature quickly on the mound and our offense will need to perform well out of the gate."
McShea has brought in 12 transfers from across the country, including eight who played a season at another junior college previously, two who attended other schools previously but weren't on baseball rosters or who redshirted, one who played a season on the NAIA level and one Division I transfer.
Joining the nine returners and 12 transfers, the Bucks will feature seven true freshmen, with almost half coming from high schools within Motlow's 11-county service area and a pair from Georgia.
Among the transfers, six come from Volunteer State in Gallatin; infielder Luke Allison, outfielder C.J. Brown, catcher Marlon Nava, first baseman Cory Coggins, catcher/infielder Colin Guscoff and middle infielder Zach Ehrhart. McShea also landed a pair of transfers from Florida Southwestern College in right-handed pitcher Jake Fossick and third baseman Jacob Freeland.
Additional transfers include outfielder Ryan Hartigan, who attended the University of Virginia; Jase Carvell, who comes to Motlow from Trevecca Nazarene University after playing high school baseball at Lawrence County; Sam Patton, a Murfreesboro product who spent a year at Cumberland University in Lebanon; and Gavin Bedsole, who attended a semester at Point University in West Point, Ga.
Headlining the incoming freshman class is a pair of right-handed pitchers from Puerto Rico; Bryan Rosario is from Vega Baja and Alex Valcarcel comes from San Juan. Another pair of freshmen come to Motlow from Mountain View High School in Buford, Ga.; outfielder D'Marcus Guillory and right-handed pitcher Tyler Zak.
The three remaining true freshmen competed against each other for the past four years in District 8-AAA. Left-handed pitcher Chandler Hardiman and catcher Kirby Smith are from Fayetteville and played at Lincoln County, while Darin Keller played at Tullahoma High School.
"We have several guys that are being recruited heavily, and I am as excited about those possibilities as my players are," McShea added. "Being able to help these guys reach personal goals, as well as team goals, is one of the great rewards of coaching. The hard work that these guys have put in is starting to pay off."
McShea and assistant coach Cody Gaskill have put together a roster that could return Motlow to the position it enjoyed in 2014, when the Bucks posted a 40-24 overall record and made it to the East Central District playoff, just one step away from the national tournament in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Motlow home games are played at the Driver Baseball Complex on the Moore County campus. Admission is free to all Motlow athletic contests. Most home Saturday contests are doubleheaders with a noon start time, while most weekday games are single nine-inning contests that begin at either 1 p.m. or 2 p.m.
2017 Motlow Bucks - Members of the 2017 Motlow Bucks baseball team: D'Marcus Guillory, Luke Allison, C.J. Brown, Ryan Hartigan, Bryan Rosaio, Marlon Nava, Jake Fossick, Jacob Freeland, Cory Coggins, Colin Guscoff, Sam Patton, J.D. Robertson, Alex Valcarcel, Matt Westberry, Paul Rahman, Camron Harper, Seth DeYong, Zach Ehrhart, Tyler Zak, Darin Keller, Lane Whitesell, R.J. Moore, Chandler Hardiman, Kirby Smith, Mathis Duncan, Jordan Burdette and Drew Jarrett. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.