BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Coming off its first year under head coach Matt Myers, the WKU baseball program wrapped up a successful summer, which included welcoming a 14-member signing class to the Hill. The class was stocked full of talent from six different states, including seven players from the state of Kentucky. The incoming class will be matched with a large number of returners for the 2013 season, presenting a unique mix of youth and experience across the board.
"I think there are a lot of kids in our class that are going to make an immediate impact," Myers said. "We have five junior college kids coming in, and the rest are freshmen. I love this class. These kids are a bunch of workers that are physical and athletic. Now we not only have depth, but have competitive depth."
Several returning and incoming Hilltoppers spent the summer fine-tuning their skills on various summer teams. Junior pitcher Justin Hageman spent the summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, playing for the Harwich Mariners. Hageman tossed 18.1 innings throughout the summer - primarily as a reliever - allowing only one earned run over his final four innings of work.
Junior pitcher Austin Clay and outfielder David Simmons had arguably the top summer performances among all Hilltoppers, as Clay and Simmons each made the Great Lakes all-star squad with the Lexington Hustlers. Clay went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six starts. Simmons hit .342 in 34 games with the Hustlers, hitting safely in seven of his final 10 games of the summer.
Sophomore pitcher Ian Thompkins also spent the summer with Lexington, appearing in five games, while starting three and striking out 21 batters over 14.1 innings. Junior infielder Scott Wilcox joined the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League, while newcomers Regan Flaherty and Mason Justice spent the summer with the Laconia Muskrats and the Bravos Valley Bombers, respectively.
"I was really happy with what our guys did this summer," Myers said. "Obviously Austin [Clay] and David [Simmons] really had great summers, and that is big for our program."
The Hilltopper baseball program will now welcome hundreds of high school athletes to campus over the weekend for the annual Labor Day Showcase Camp on Sunday, September 2 at Nick Denes Field. The camp is an opportunity for coaches to evaluate players, as almost half the current WKU roster attended a Labor Day Showcase camp.
"The Labor Day Showcase has been a very important showcase for us in recruiting," Myers said. "It gives the kids the chance to be on our field, on our campus and at the same time having us evaluate them. It will be an all-day event for our coaching staff, but a very productive day. It is good for the kids coming in, because they get a chance to showcase their abilities in front of our staff."
For information on the camp, along with other camps and information, visit WKUbaseballcamp.com.