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Liberty Baseball Inks Seven Recruits

November 15, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman has announced the signing of seven student-athletes during the early signing period.

Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman has announced the signing of seven student-athletes during the early signing period.

The Liberty Baseball program and Head Coach Jim Toman have announced the signing of seven student-athletes to National Letter of Intents during the NCAA Early signing period. Four of the signees are from the state of Virginia, while the states of North Carolina, New Jersey, and Washington are also represented.

Five of the seven players signed are pitchers. They are right-handers Daniel Brown (Raleigh, N.C.), Cameron Giannini (Danville, Va.) and J.J. McLeod (Burlington, Wash.) and left-handers Jake Matthews (Powatan, Va.) and Chris Roach (Andover, N.J.). In addition, the Flames added a multi-position player Josh Richardson (Chesapeake, Va.), a right-handed pitcher and shortstop, and a power hitting catcher, Jerry Neufang (Stafford, Va.).

"We are extremely excited about the addition of these student-athletes to the Liberty Baseball family", Toman said. "They are all a great fit and are committed to the mission of Liberty University. This group will represent Liberty and our baseball program very well both on and off the field."

"A lot of hard work went in to signing this class," said Toman. "[Assistant Coach] Nick Schnabel and the entire staff did an outstanding job, not only identifying these players, but recruiting them to Liberty as well. This is a great start to our second recruiting class at Liberty and we expect to sign several more impact players in the spring."

A breakdown of the signees follows:

Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. B/T School Hometown

Daniel Brown RHP 5-10 165 R/R Broughton Raleigh, N.C.

Brown was the team MVP for Broughton High School under the direction of Head Coach Jim Comis in 2008. The right-hander compiled a 4-1 record with 10 saves over 2007 and 2008. Over the same period, he logged 68 innings and struck out 99 batters, while posting a 1.63 ERA. Brown was named to the CAP-7 All Conference teams in both 2007 and 2008.

"Daniel is an Honor Roll student at Broughton High School and has been the team's closer for the past two years", said Toman. "He has been clocked consistently in the 85-88 mph range and features an outstanding curveball. We expect Daniel to make an immediate impact on our pitching staff."

Cameron Giannini RHP 6-3 190 R/R Hargrave Military Danville, Va.

Over the past two years at Hargrave under Head Coach Scott Roach, Giannini has posted a 12-4 record with a 1.78 ERA. In 89 innings pitched, he has surrendered only 24 walks, while striking out 145 opposing hitters. Giannini has also batted .565 with nine home runs and 63 RBIs over 2007 and 2008. The right-hander earned VIC All Conference first team honors in 2007 and 2008, was named to the Danville All Metro Team in 2007 and 2008 and was named 2008 VISAA All State second team in 2008. He was also selected to participate in the Virginia Commonwealth Games this past summer.
"Cam is another honor roll student that we are very excited to add to our program", said Toman. "He throws a heavy, sinking fastball which has been clocked in the low 90's and can throw three pitches for strikes. We fully expect Cam to compete for a weekend starting role as a freshman."

Jake Matthews LHP 6-1 160 L/L Powatan Powatan, Va.

Matthews was a member of two state championship teams at James River High School for Head Coach Pete Schumacher, before transferring to Powatan High School, where he will play his senior year for Head Coach Gregg Conner. Last year, he boasted a 3-1 record in 32 2/3 innings, while striking out 36 opposing hitters en route to the 2008 state championship.

"Jake is a classic left-hander, who pitches in the mid 80's with his fastball", Toman explains. "He can throw three quality pitches for strikes, in any count, and really knows how to compete. We are very pleased that Jake has decided to join our program and we have high expectations for him to make an immediate impact."

J.J. McLeod RHP 6-1 175 R/R Skagit Valley College Burlington, Wash.

McLeod was a mainstay of the Skagit Valley pitching corps for Head Coach Kevin Matthews during the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. In two years, he tossed 62 innings and surrendered only 31 hits, while striking out an impressive 71 opposing hitters. He posted ERA's of 2.08 and 0.92 in 2007 and 2008 respectively. McLeod underwent Tommy John surgery last June and is currently redshirting for the 2008-2009 year.

"Although he will be joining the Liberty Baseball program a year later than originally expected, we are ecstatic that J.J. has reaffirmed his commitment to our program," said Toman. "J.J. has been clocked in the upper 80's with a sidearm delivery. He has proven, he has the ability to close out close games at Skagit Valley and we expect him to fill the same role for us. J.J. will flourish in the Christian environment at Liberty."

Jerry Neufang C 6-0 200 R/R South Florida CC Stafford, Va.

In his freshman season at South Florida CC, Neufang posted a .338 batting average with 12 home runs, 12 doubles, and 38 RBIs for Head Coach Rick Hitt. He was named second team All Southern Conference. Jerry is a native of Virginia and participated in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Jerry was also selected to play in the 2008 Florida Community College All Star game this fall and went 1-2 at the plate with a home run and a walk.

Toman believes that Neufang is the top catcher in the Florida Junior College ranks. "Not only will Jerry compete for the starting catching job, but we also expect him to be a mainstay in the middle of our order," he said. "He has tremendous power and hitting ability, and is a proven leader on and off the field."

Josh Richardson SS/P 5-11 165 R/R Greenbrier Christian Chesapeake, Va.

Richardson helped lead Greenbriar Christian to back-to-back state titles in 2007 and 2008 under Head Coach and former Major Leaguer Gary Lavelle. A proven winner, he also helped his summer team, the Richmond Braves, to the 2008 WWBA 16U National Championship. His efforts have not gone unnoticed, as he has been selected as an Under Armour pre-season All American. Richardson also was chosen as the No.3 Top Prospect in the Under Armour Team One South showcase held in Atlanta, Ga., last summer.

"Not only is Josh a legitimate two-way player, he is also a proven winner," said Toman. "He has shown a fastball in the 86-89 mph range and is well-known as a smooth fielding shortstop with a quick bat. His ability to win games with his arm, glove and bat will make him an invaluable asset to the Flames in his freshman year."

Chris Roach LHP 6-4 205 L/L Chipola College Andover, N.J.

A New Jersey native, Roach attended Seton Hall University last season. As a freshman for the Pirates, he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.57 ERA in 49 innings. For his efforts, Roach was named the New Jersey College Baseball Association Rookie Pitcher of the Year and to the Ping! All Freshman team in 2008. At the conclusion of his freshman year, Roach transferred to Chipola College in Marrianna, Fla., where he is expected to be a weekend starter for Head Coach Jeff Johnson.

"Chris is a guy who not only possesses a great pitcher's body, but he also has proven that he can win at the Division I level," Toman said. "He will undoubtedly thrive in Liberty's Christian environment, and will probably be a professional prospect before he graduates. Chris is a perfect fit for Liberty and will be a great addition to our team."

Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. B/T School Hometown
Daniel Brown RHP 5-10 165 R/R Broughton Raleigh, N.C.
Cameron Giannini RHP 6-3 190 R/R Hargrave Military Danville, Va.
Jake Matthews LHP 6-0 160 L/L Powatan Powatan, Va.
J.J. McLeod RHP 6-1 175 R/R Skagit Valley College Burlington, Wash.
Jerry Neufang C 6-0 200 R/R South Florida CC Stafford, Va.
Josh Richardson SS/P 5-11 165 R/R Greenbriar Christian Chesapeake, Va.
Chris Roach LHP 6-4 205 L/L Chipola College Andover, N.J.