SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo baseball and Head Coach Sean O'Connor have received four commitments for the 2017-18 academic year during the fall early signing period.
PJ Barry (Holden, Mass.), Cole Brutcher (Lakeland, Fla.), McCabe Sargent (Land O'Lakes, Fla.), and Riley Wash (Orlando, Fla.) have each signed a National Letter-of-Intent to compete for the Lions starting next fall.
"We are extremely happy with the four players we signed during the early period," said O'Connor. "We do have a lot of kids coming back in 2017-18, but we did have some holes that we needed to fill and these signings address those needs completely."
Barry, a right-handed hitting centerfielder, will join Saint Leo from St. Peter-Marian Catholic High School in Worcester, Mass. An excellent all-around athlete, Barry was an Honorable Mention selection to the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette All-Star team and will serve as a team captain this spring as a senior.
Barry hit .424 last season for SPM baseball over 109 at bats with 30 runs scored. He also logged 18 stolen bases for the Guardians.
"PJ is very athletic. He's going to get plenty of hits; not a power hitter, but a typical centerfield guy - he'll get doubles and triples, and he's got the speed to play the outfield. PJ is a well-rounded athlete," said O'Connor.
Brutcher, a 6-5 left-handed hitter from Lakeland High School, is projected to play right field and first base for the Lions. He batted .315 over 88 plate appearances during his junior season for the Dreadnaughts, with 23 hits including four doubles and a triple, 12 runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. Brutcher posted a .817 OPS during the 2016 season, and charted four stolen bases. He finished the season with selection to the Lakeland Ledger All-Polk County team.
"Cole needs some more at bats and a little more time, and eventually he will be a very special player for us. He could be a 6-5 version of Troy Sieber," said O'Connor, referring to the former Saint Leo first baseball who was drafted by the Houston Astros this past June. "Cole can definitely hit, and he's very athletic for his size."
Sargent, a 6-1 right-handed pitcher from Land O'Lakes High School, is one of the top prep pitchers in the Tampa area with a fastball that has touched 91 mph. He charted a 0.47 ERA over 44.1 innings pitchers during his junior season for the Gators, allowing just 10 runs, three earned, on 21 hits and 14 walks in nine appearances. Sargent fanned a total of 55 batters last season, and logged a .134 opponent batting average.
Sargent was voted the conference Player of the Year this past season and was named to the Tampa Bay Times' All-North Suncoast First Team, after leading LOLHS to a 20-4 record, 10-0 in district play, and the semifinals of the Class 6A District 7 tournament.
"This is a player that we've targeted for a couple years. He's been coming here for camp, and we're very happy to finally get him in a Lions uniform," said O'Connor. "I expect him to be an immediate factor as a freshman coming in."
Wash, a 5-11 right-handed hitting catcher, batted .366 over 93 at bats last season for Lake Mary Prep, driving in 26 runs on 34 hits including eight doubles and a home run. He committed just six errors with a .972 fielding percentage behind the dish for Lake Mary Prep.
"Riley is an excellent catcher with a very strong arm and a chance to be a significant contributor at the plate in freshman season," said O'Connor. "He is our catcher of the future."
All NLI signings are contingent upon admission to Saint Leo University and compliance with all NCAA rules, including registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
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