MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009
Baseball inks six during signing period
Associate head coach Tim Montez
Associate head coach Tim Montez
The JU baseball team announced the signing of six student-athletes during the 2008-09 signing period, including local products Jimmy Appleby (Trinity Christian) and Chris Patrick (Terry Parker).

Along with Appleby and Patrick, OF Daniel Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis.), LHP Sean Kennedy (Gurnee, Ill.), C Cole Rhoden (Starke, Fla.) and 3B/C Adam Brett Walker (Milwaukee, Wis.) will make up the 2008-09 signing class for the Dolphins.

A two-headed monster, associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Montez and assistant coach Todd Claus combined for their first collaborative effort in the recruiting process.

“This class is small in numbers but huge in needs for our ball club next year,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We added and improved our overall athleticism by adding speed and power to our offense, consistency and range to our defense while also adding power and depth to our pitching staff. This year’s class was a tremendous success.”

Appleby (6-1, 215), currently a senior infielder at Trinity Christian High School, earned all-conference honors as a junior after batting .386 with four home runs. In AAU play, he was a member of the North Florida Hurricanes.

“Jimmy is a local product who can really swing the bat,” said Montez. “He hits for power to all fields and is considered the best left-handed bat in the area. He is a good student and will compete at either first or third base as a freshman. He has a chance to be drafted in the MLB Draft in June.”

Patrick (6-6, 200), currently a senior RHP at Terry Parker High School, is 6-1 with a 0.93 ERA for the Braves with three games remaining in the season. As a junior, he missed the first half of the season due to injury but finished the year with a 1.80 ERA in 18 innings. In AAU play, he was a member of the North Florida Hurricanes.

“Chris is another local product from our backyard,” said Montez. “He is tall with tremendous upside and as he matures, he has a chance to be a front-line starter. He throws in the upper 80’s with a slider and change-up. He is also a good student off the field as well.”

Gulbransen (5-10, 196), currently a senior at Fox Valley Lutheran High School, is a four-year starter for the Foxes and is a three time all-conference selection. As a junior, he batted .514 with 37 runs, 36 hits, 11 doubles, six home runs, a .986 slugging percentage and a .614 on-base percentage en route to first team all-area and all-state accolades.

“Daniel is a hard-nosed player that can really run,” Montez said. “He has gap power, uses the whole field, has a tremendous work ethic and will push everyone around him to get better. Daniel is also a scholar athlete in the classroom and excelled on the football field as a running back. His brother is a pitcher for Valparaiso, who we play during the 2010 season.”

Kennedy (6-0, 185), currently a senior at Warren High School, earned all-conference and all-area honors as a junior after tallying 82 strikeouts in 62 innings. “Sean is a crafty left-handed pitcher with a plus upside who will get stronger as he improves,” Montez said. “He throws in the mid-80’s with a plus change-up and a solid slider. Sean is also a scholar-athlete in the classroom as well.”

Rhoden (6-1, 200), currently a sophomore at Florida Community College Jacksonville (FCCJ), batted .316 with five doubles, two home runs and 23 RBI while gunning down 15-of-33 base stealers (.454) as a freshman.

“Cole has a quick release and can really handle a pitching staff,” Montez said. “He is a physical young man that should hit for some power in the middle of the lineup. Cole is a solid student who plans to major is sports management. He will be ready and prepared to compete for us immediately after playing with Coach Chris Blaquiere at FCCJ.”

Walker, currently a senior Milwaukee Lutheran High School, was a three-year starter for the Red Knights as well as a three-sport athlete. As a junior team captain, he set a school record with a .569 (33-58) batting average and eight home runs while tallying a 1.121 slugging percentage en route to all-state, first team all-area and all-conference honors.

“Adam is a tremendous athlete that can play multiple positions,” said Montez. “He has an above average arm, is a good runner and can hit with tremendous power to all fields. Adam is a solid student and will compete right away as a freshman. He could also be a possible MLB Draft pick in June.”