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Cougars Baseball Welcomes Fifteen New Faces to Campus

Coach Rebandt was excited to welcome fifteen new faces to the college campus and baseball program as they arrived just over a couple weeks ago. The players come from as far west as California and north as New Jersey. ďWe search far and wide for the right fit for our baseball program, but we also have found a lot of good recruits here locally in Florida. We look for guys that are going to be a good fit for our college spiritually, academically, and athletically.Ē

The Cougars have six new faces in the infield including transfers 1B Travis Cannoles (Hillsborough CC/Daytona State College/Plant City HS) and IF/RHP Mike Calabrese (Nyack College, NY/United Christian Academy, NJ), along with freshmen MIF Gabriel Gali (Miami Springs Senior HS), MIF/RHP Tim Reidy (Chiefland HS), MIF Austin Yeoman (Santa Fe HS, CA), and 1B Justin Holmes (Hueytown HS, AL). Cannoles hit .361 his senior year at Plant City HS, collecting 18 RBIís, and carried a .962 fielding percentage at first base. Reidy hit .439 with 20 RBIís, 7 doubles, and 2 triples as the starting shortstop for Chiefland, who lost in the FHSAA 1A State Final this past spring. On the mound he went 5-2 with a 2.36 ERA over 35 2/3 innings. Yeoman, a middle infielder from California, hit .250 over 56 ABís in 22 games played. Gali hit .308 in 52 ABís, including 4 doubles and 10 RBIís. During his senior campaign, he was named to the All-Tournament team after having success in the Hofman Sunshine Classic spring break tournament. Holmes played in 41 games during his senior season at Hueytown High School with starts as the first baseman and designated hitter, collecting 37 hits including 8 doubles, driving in 25 RBIís, while carrying a .319 batting average over 116 ABís.

Three freshman outfielders will be taking the field this fall with the Cougars including local standout Cody Tibbitts (Indian Rocks Christian HS), Trevor Lancaster (La Mirada HS, CA), and Nathan Stanley (Lake Placid HS). Tibbitts batted .250 in 81 plate appearances over 25 games this past spring, while playing in the outfield for the Golden Eagles with an .897 fielding percentage. Lancaster, one of two recruits from California, hit .327 with 25 RBIís in 113 at bats. He carried a 1.000 fielding percentage, not making an error in 66 chances in the outfield. Stanley led his high school team with a .393 average, driving in 11 runs, and stealing 10 bases. His success led him to be named Team MVP at Lake Placid High School at the completion of his senior season. Stanley will also be competing for a role out of the bullpen.

Four catchers were added this fall. Matt Schaefer (Indian Rocks Christian HS), Chris Wolf (Mariner HS), Derrick Smith (Seffner Christian Academy), and Nick Abbruzzese (Eckerd College/East Lake HS) round out the incoming catchers. Schaefer, teammate of Cody Tibbitts in high school, batted .354 with 6 doubles and 2 home runs, while collecting 15 RBIís in 90 plate appearances. Schaefer will also compete for time on the mound, as he went 2-2 with a 0.75 ERA, striking out 24 over 28 innings, along with 3 complete games, two of which were shutouts. Behind the plate, he threw out 7 of 22 runners attempting to steal and had a .991 fielding percentage. Schaefer was named to the 2013 Pinellas North/South All Star Game. Wolf batted .337 over 97 plate appearances in 28 games played in his senior year. He threw out 3 of 6 runners in steal attempts, and had a .892 fielding percentage.

Donny Norris (Florence Darlington Tech College/St. Pete College/Pinellas Park HS) and Colby Retkowski (Glouster County Christian School, NJ) have joined the pitching staff. Norris, a local product from Pinellas Park HS, who spent his last two years at junior colleges will join the pitching staff. At Florence Darlington Technical College this past spring, he went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in five appearances out of the bullpen.

The Cougars will be in action this fall with the following schedule.

Friday, October 4 @ Hillsborough CC at 1pm
Saturday, October 5 vs. French National Team at TBA
Friday, October 11 @ St. Pete College at 6pm
Saturday, October 19 @ Pasco-Hernando CC at 12pm (DH)

The team will round out their fall schedule with the 2nd Annual Maroon vs. Black Intersquad World Series, which consists of a best-of-three game series between two separated teams from the roster. Games 1 and 2 will be played at Jack Russell, with the location of Game 3 TBA.

Game 1: Thursday, October 24 @ 6pm
Game 2: Friday, October 25 @ 6pm
Game 3: Saturday, October 26 @ 12pm (if necessary)

Stay tuned to the website and Facebook Fan Page for more updates throughout the fall.