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Tiger baseball coaches Brian Karlet, Micah Baumfeld and Josh Franklin held a workout in California earlier this summer, where they added eight more to the 2011-12 squad. Three others signed, giving the Tigers 21 new faces total for next season.
Joining fellow Californian and early-signee Michael Syrett are Jordan Hinshaw, Ryan Serrato, David Higuera, Phillip Jefferson, Bill Austin, Chris Villalobos and Daniel Pitts. Kyle Rosen, DJ Collins and Zack Brisker round out the 2011-12 class.
Hinshaw, son of former San Diego Padre George Hinshaw, is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound outfielder from Long Beach. He went to Long Beach Poly High, where he was MVP his junior year. His senior year he hit .348. He played through a muscle tear his freshman season at NCAA Division II Cal Poly Pomona before transferring to Compton College this past year.
Hinshaw also pitches with plus velocity and the Tigers are excited about what he will bring to the mound this next season after the graduation of ace K.C. Massie. He is no slouch in the classroom, either, carrying a 3.0 grade point average.Serrato and Higuera both come from Bishop Amat High School in La Puente. Bishop is ranked No. 3 in California, No. 14 nationally and won the Division 4 championship a season ago.
Serrato, 6-1, 220-pound first baseman hit .371 as a junior and .333 this past year, tying for team-high in RBI with 23. He was also third in hits with 31. He is solid in the field as well, having just one error all season. The coaches see him as another good pick up for the Tigers with the graduation of first baseman Pete Thackston.
Higuera is a 5-10, 160-pound outfielder. He hit .308 and was sound defensively for the Lancers this past season.
"He is young, but will have a chance to compete in our outfield over the next four seasons," Baumfeld said.
Jefferson comes to GC by way of Long Beach City College. He is 6-2 and 165 pounds. Jefferson's speed and arm make him a top candidate to fill one of several vacancies in the Tiger outfield this season. All the coaches were also impressed with his batting, seeing him as a great fit in the lineup.
Austin is a 5-10, 165-pound catcher that played for Los Alamitos High School and Cypress High School. After graduating he went to Orange Coast Community College. He has four years of eligibility left and time to grow with the already solid catching core the Tigers have.
"He has a bright future here," Baumfeld said.
Villalobos, from Cerritos College, is a 6-0, 220-pound pitcher. In his rookie season, he went 9-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 91 1/3 innings. He was named first-team All-South Coast Conference. His sophomore year he was 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA and was second-team All-South Coast Conference. He had 135 strikeouts and 187 2/3 innings and pitched five complete games the past two seasons.
"Chris is going to be a big upgrade to our pitching staff," Baumfeld said. "He is a guy we wanted last season, but he decided to go to Valdosta State, which is a very good D II school in Georgia.
"It was not a good fit for him, and we are glad it worked out that we have him now. He is a workhorse and had many other offers, but we are glad he chose Georgetown College this time."
Pitts is the final California signee. He is a 6-4, 210-pound outfielder from Quartz High School. His junior year he hit .474 with nine doubles, three triples and led his team with five homeruns. During his senior campaign, Pitts hit .376, led the team with six long balls and was third in slugging at .706.
"He will definitely be a big bat for us not just this season, but the next four years," Baumfeld said. "Defensively he is as good as it gets, making just one error this past season."
Rosen is a 6-4, 230-pound catcher from Michigan. He graduated from Lake Orion High School, the 2007 state champions, and was a scholar athlete in 2008 and 2009, earning All-District honors in 2009. He spent 2010 at Bellevue University, where he hit .400. He transferred to Walsh University for this past season.
"Kyle is a big kid who has moved around a little bit because of circumstances out of his control," Baumfeld said. "I think with two years at the same program and with the same coaching staff, that stability will do him some good. The skies the limit for him.
"We have brought in a great catching crop, which with injuries last season, we were very thin at. But this season we have reloaded with some great young talent, who will not only help us out this year or next, but the next for years."
Collins played for Watkins Memorial High School and was a four-year starter. He was captain and voted Mr. Defense his junior and senior years. He had a .459 batting average in 181 plate appearances with a .533 on base percentage, a .581 slugging percentage and only one strikeout. He had 15 doubles, one homerun and 46 RBI.
Brisker was selected All-League, All-City and played in the Ohio All-Star game. He batted .405 with five home runs, nine doubles and 22 RBI this past season. On the mound he had 25 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. He posted a 3-1 record with a 2.54 ERA.
"We are very happy with the 2011 recruiting class and look forward to meshing the new guys with the returners," Baumfeld said. "We know we have the talent and character to help us achieve our goals this season and look forward to getting started."