ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure University baseball head coach Larry Sudbrook has announced the addition of eight student-athletes who will join the Bonnies in Fall 2016.
Six players have signed National Letters of Intent with the Bonnies, highlighted by three pitchers - right-handers Casey Vincent and Murphy O'Brien along with lefty Danny Madden as well as position players Jack Holyoke, Jake Miknis and Isaac Porter. Chris Coates and A.J. Koch have also announced their intention to join the program.
"We return the vast majority of our team for next year, but there's real strength in the senior class of pitchers that will graduate," Sudbrook said. "We felt there was a need to address that by signing top-notch pitchers. We were very pleased with the strength of this pitching class. We think all three of these guys will be impact pitchers for us and we expect them to be impact pitchers right from their freshman year."
Vincent should be a familiar name to Bonnies fans. Casey's older brother Cody pitched for the Bonnies from 2005-08 and is at or near the top of many SBU career program records including wins (23, tied first), complete games (16, tied first), strikeouts (226, first), innings pitched (367.1, first) and ERA (4.07, fourth).
Casey, a 6'0", 180-pound starter from Russell, Pa., posted a 10-2 record with an 0.65 ERA and 111 strikeouts with Eisenhower High School last year as a junior. For his high school career he has 268 strikeouts in 164.2 innings. He was named the Region Pitcher of the Year the past two seasons while helping lead his team to 2015 Pennsylvania Class A State Runner-up honors as well as back-to-back District 10 championships while playing for his brother. While playing with the Mid-Atlantic Rookies team in Jupiter, Fla., he was named to the 2015 All-Tournament Team at Perfect Games WWBA World Championships. The owner of five career varsity no-hitters, he is also a National Honor Society member with dual enrollment at St. Bonaventure and will graduate from high school with an expected 40 college credits.
"Casey sits upper 80s and touches low 90s with his fastball," Sudbrook described. "His brother was an outstanding pitcher for us when we were a force in the Atlantic 10 and we feel Casey has the chance to make an impact right away as well."
Madden, a 6'2" lefty from Corning, N.Y., compiled a 6-1 record with a 2.12 ERA at Corning-Painted Post High School last season while striking out 58 batters in 47 innings of work. The highlight of his season came when he tossed a no-hitter vs. Horseheads, the No. 5-ranked team in Class AA at the time. A first team all-league pick in baseball, he was also an all-league selection in both basketball and football.
"Danny sits in the mid-80s and touches the upper-80s," Sudbrook said. "He's very projectable to be a low-90s guy who also could be drafted."
O'Brien, a 6'1", 175-pound right-hander from Rocky River, Ohio, allowed just one earned run in 21.1 innings last year for an 0.33 ERA. He recorded a school record 10 saves for St. Ignatius High School, helping his team to the Ohio State Final Four. He played summer ball for Force Ohio where he threw three complete games and allowed just two earned runs.
"Murphy can throw mid-to-upper 80s and possesses a very good breaking ball," Sudbrook said.
Miknis is a product of DuBois, Pa., playing his high school ball at DuBois Central Catholic. He led his team with a .525 batting average during his junior season with 26 RBIs, 27 runs scored and 10 doubles. On the mound, he compiled 36 strikeouts in 24 innings. He was named a Northern Allegheny League Small School South Division All-Star as a junior. In the classroom, he has been a High Honor Roll student.
"Over the years we've signed some very good players out of DuBois and we think Jake will be the next one," Sudbrook said. "He is a great athlete who we are not quite sure yet if he will be a corner infield/outfield guy, a pitcher or maybe both. He's shown athletic ability as an infielder at third base, has a good bat, and is also a mid-80s guy who could project as a pitcher."
Porter, a native of Beech Creek, Pa., hit .344 with a .408 on-base percentage for Central Mountain High School last season. A catcher, he batted .408 while playing travel ball with the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox with 16 doubles, a .510 on-base and 28 RBIs. Porter also was a 2015 state qualifier in wrestling at 182 pounds with a 20-9 season record.
"Isaac has good hands behind the plate and is very good at blocking with the frame to be a Division I catcher," Sudbrook said. "We think by the time he's a junior and senior he projects as a middle of the lineup type of hitter."
A native of Williamsville, N.Y., Holyoke is a left-handed hitting first baseman and corner outfielder. He hit .407 last year with Williamsville South High School and was named Erie County Interscholastic Conference (ECIC) First Team. He also earned team offensive most valuable player honors after hitting .509 as a freshman. Holyoke has been a stellar defensive player, not committing a single error during his three years on varsity. He also was Williamsville South's starting quarterback this past fall.
"He has the frame to put on a lot of muscle and strength," Sudbrook said. "His swing projects as a doubles and home run hitter and that's a hard thing to find."
Coates, an outfielder from Syracuse, hit .388 with 14 RBIs for Westhill High School last season and has 20 stolen bases the past two years, earning second team all-league honors for the 2015 Section III Class B and regional champions. He adds another chapter to his family's history at St. Bonaventure – his great grandfather Joe Cummiskey was a three-sport athlete for the Brown and White, playing baseball from 1926-30.
"He is an extremely talented outfielder who runs well and is very smooth," Sudbrook added. "He gets good reads off the bat and has some pop as well."
Koch makes the longest trip of any incoming player as he is a native of Mill Creek, Wash. A three-year starter for Archbishop Murphy High School, he helped his team to the Washington State Championship Tournament twice and a state quarterfinal spot in 2014. He also batted .485 with a .538 on-base percentage for Seattle Elite League and played in the U.S. Baseball National Championships in 2014. He is also a National Honor Society member in the classroom.
"A.J. came in and we saw him at a showcase here and he impressed us," Sudbrook said. "He's able to do all the little things; bunt, move runners along and do all the things that help a team be successful."
St. Bonaventure will bring a senior class of eight players into the 2016 season – Thad Johnson, Tommy Styn, Connor Grey, Drew Teller, Tyler Walter, Tyler Kirwan, Reid Van Woert and Ted Dilts. The Bonnies kick off the new season on Feb. 19 at Savannah State.
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