COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals has signed four more student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend Ohio State University, increasing the first-year coach and his staff’s total of new recruits for the 2011-12 season to eight.
Beals announced Friday the four new Buckeyes include three players who are currently attending Arizona junior colleges and a fourth who is in Germany but has relatives in the Youngstown, Ohio area and has spent the last couple of summers playing in camps and tournaments throughout the United States. The four new Buckeyes include:
Beals and his assistants, Mike Stafford and Chris Holick, were incredibly diligent in working through the junior college ranks to get the three young men who they expect will immediately challenge for starting positions. Ohio State will have an inexperienced lineup this season as seven starters from last season have departed and another eight seniors will exhaust their eligibility after the 2011 campaign.
So signing talented players was the number one priority for Beals. But when those players allow the coaching staff flexibility with regard to scholarships, on top of providing an immediate infusion of experience, the signing of Giannonatti, King and Pellant created a winning scenario for a program that has signed only a handful of junior college recruits – Michael Stephens in 2008 and Greg Solomon this year are the most recent – in the baseball program’s history.
And Cohoes, like the four previous high school recruits whose National Letter of Intent had previously been announced, is a talented athlete who Beals and his staff believe can blossom into a fine baseball player.
Here’s a brief look at each of the new signees:
Cavan Cohoes – SS/OF / 6-1, 195 / Stuttgart, Germany (Patch American H.S.): Cohoes moved to Lakenheath, England, from Omaha, Neb., before his freshman season of high school and has since moved on to Patch High in Stuttgart, Germany, where he hit .446 with 29 runs batted in and 27 stolen bases in 2010. He was named the all-Europe shortstop this past season while leading Patch to the European Division I baseball championship. Born in San Diego, Cohoes has also lived in Florida and Virginia and he has relatives in Youngstown, Ohio. Cohoes is the son of Chris and Darby Leach Cohoes. His father is in the Air Force.
Coach Greg Beals: “Cavan is a long, lanky athlete who possesses great baseball tools. He can really run and throw. We are extremely excited to work with Cavan and see how god he can get. We feel the sky is the limit for this young man.”
Tyler Giannonatti – RHP / 6-0, 200 / Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler-Gilbert C.C.): Giannonatti spent his freshman season of college baseball playing for Kansas State, helping the Wildcats to a 37-22 record and a berth in the 2010 NCAA Fayetteville Regional. He was 2-0 with a 6.27 ERA in 11 appearances with the Wildcats. After the season he transferred to Chandler-Gilbert C.C. in his hometown of Chandler, Ariz. Giannonatti was a top prep pitcher for Corona del Sol H.S. He, and Ohio State recruit Kirby Pellant, led the Aztecs to the 2009 Arizona Class 5A state championship, and Giannonatti was named by the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association as its Player of the Year. He was 14-4 for his high school career and he was 7-1 with a 1.64 ERA during his senior season when he was also named honorable mention all-state and all-city. Giannonatti, the son of Mark and Pamela Giannonatti, also played football in high school and was all-state and all-city in that sport as well.
Coach Greg Beals: “I really like what Tyler will bring to our pitching staff. He is a fierce competitor with a power-sinking fastball. His presence will make an immediate impact to our team.”
Brian King – LHP / 6-3, 190 / Phoenix, Ariz. (Paradise Valley C.C.): King, a top 100 junior college prospect for 2011 by Perfect Game, posted an 8-3 record with a 3.63 earned run average in 2010 for Paradise Valley C.C., the same junior college that current Buckeye Greg Solomon attended. The pair and their teammates helped Paradise Valley make the 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association Division II College World Series. King’s freshman campaign at Paradise Valley also included 90 innings pitched and 70 strikeouts, and he earned second-team all-region honors. He threw a perfect game against Luna C.C. on Feb. 10, 2010. A graduate of Marcos de Niza High School, King is the son of Ron and Rene King.
Coach Greg Beals: “Brian is the top-shelf lefty that we were looking for in this class. He has an electric arm which we see impacting our rotation next year. Brian has a bright future as a Buckeye student-athlete and beyond.”
Kirby Pellant – SS/2B / 5-9, 190 / Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler-Gilbert C.C.): Pellant played for Marshall University this past season, hitting leadoff for the Herd and finishing with a .293 overall average that jumped to .337 in conference play with seven doubles, four triples and 20 runs scored. He was named to the Conference USA all-freshman team. Pellant transferred to Chandler-Gilbert C.C., located in his hometown, following the 2010 season. A 38th-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2009 MLB amateur draft, Pellant was a three-time all-city pick for Corona del Sol and first-team all-state in 2009 when he, and Ohio State recruit Tyler Giannonatti, helped the Aztecs win the 5A state title. He finished with a .460 career batting average and surpassed the 100 hit, run and RBI plateaus. He also was an all-state pick in football and was his team’s MVP as a senior. Pellant is the son of Gary and Julie Pellant. His father is a scout for the Chicago White Sox and played baseball collegiately at Long Beach State.
Coach Greg Beals: “Kirby is the dynamic offensive player we were looking for to solidify our lineup. He is dynamic in his ability to produce offensively, both with his bat and with his speed. Kirby brings a competitive toughness that we are working to instill in our program.”
These four new recruits join four others who had previously signed National Letters of Intent with Ohio State: Aaron Gretz, a catcher from Apple Valley, Minn., and Apple Valley High School; Eric Haase, a combo 3B/C from Westland, Mich., and Divine Child High School; Matt Panek, a LHP from Cary, Ill., and Cary-Grove High School; and Matt Wisler, a RHP from Bryan, Ohio, and Bryan High School.