JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - Arkansas State head baseball coach Tommy Raffo announced Thursday the signing of four student-athletes during the early signing period who will join the Red Wolves baseball team for the 2014 season.
JD Rainwater, Coulton Lee, Bryan Ayers and Joseph Schrimpf, have signed National Letters of Intent to come to Arkansas State. All four players are high school seniors and three are from the state of Arkansas.
"I would like to commend the efforts of assistant coaches Anthony Everman and Tighe Dickinson for a great early signing period for ASU Baseball," Raffo said. "They have spent a lot of time on the road identifying and evaluating the right student-athletes for ASU Baseball.
"We had three goals in mind going into the early signing recruiting process," continued Raffo. "First, we wanted to find young men that show a passion, toughness and a 'want' to play for ASU Baseball. Second, we wanted to continue to create a balance for future Red Wolves teams. Third, each young man we recruit must be able to compete for championships and win in the Sun Belt quickly. We feel that these young men give us a great recruiting base for the 2014 team."
Rainwater comes to ASU from Jonesboro High School where he was selected to the 6A-East first team all-conference squad and the 6A all-state team. The 6-1 infielder and pitcher was also selected to the state of Arkansas 6A all-state tournament team and was recognized as the Northeast Arkansas Player of the Year for 2012 in high school baseball by The Sun.
"We are very excited that JD has decided to continue his baseball career at ASU," said Raffo. "He is a strong power left-handed hitter that can play either corner infield position. He is coached by former ASU baseball alumni and current Jonesboro High School coach Mark Dobson and joins former Red Wolves Murray Watts, Cody Pace, Jacob Lee, CodyPowell, Hunter Smith, Derrick Coleman and current Red Wolves player Moe Malugen who were coached by Dobson and went to play at ASU."
Lee comes to A-State from Benton High School where he was a 2011 6A-South all-conference selection, participated in the Xtra Innings Classic and was named the Heartland Classic MVP-pitcher. The 6-1 pitcher also earned all-conference honors in 2012 and was selected to the 6A all-state team.
"Coulton has been a standout-starting pitcher for coach Mark Ballisteri throughout his career at Benton High School," Arkansas State pitching Tighe Dickinson said. "He possesses three quality pitches that he throws for strikes. Coulton has great character, a strong work ethic and has improved every time I've seen him pitch over the last two years. He has the tools to make an immediate impact at ASU."
A standout at Vilonia High School, Ayers is a 6-4 pitcher who has compiled stellar numbers in his first two season of high school baseball. As a sophomore Ayers hit .391 with six RBIs and also struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings of work on the mound. As a junior he hit .396 with 20 RBI and two homeruns, while compiling 67 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings. He also finished the year with a 1.45 earned run average.
"Bryan has a great presence on the mound and has a strong arm," Dickinson said. "He has a very good fastball and breaking ball and is very athletic for his size. He has tremendous deception with the three-fourths arm slot he throws from. We are excited for Bryan to contribute early in his career at ASU."
Schrimpf attended Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Mo., where hit .315 with a .421 on base percentage and recorded eight doubles and one home run. The 5-10 infielder and catcher was a second team all-conference selection his junior year and was selected as the Missouri State Freshman of Year.
"Joe Schrimpf is a great addition to the Red Wolves baseball program," Raffo said. "He showed an early desire to play at ASU and comes from a strong high school program in St. Louis. He also played for former ASU baseball alumni and MLB pitcher Matt Whiteside's summer program the St. Louis Gamers. Joe can play multiple positions in the infield at second base or third base and is a switch hitter that uses the whole field with gap power. We really like the way Joe plays the game hard with intensity."
The early signing period for the class of 2013 runs from Nov. 14-21.