Following one of the best baseball seasons in program history, the Walters State baseball team had 18 players from the 2017-18 season sign during the offseason to continue their education and playing careers at the NCAA level.
After going 60-8 during the season and spending much of the year ranked No. 1 in the country before falling just shy of a second national championship with a loss in the JUCO World Series national championship game, there was a lot of attention on the Walters State program and its players.
Senators coach Dave Shelton, along with current assistants Sean Robinson and AJ Kruzel, and now departed recruiting coordinator Dan Skirka (named Murray State’s head coach) pieced together one of the most talented teams in program history, and the sophomore class was rewarded with many Division I offers.
Of the 18 players who inked with four-year programs, 10 signed with Power Five schools, including six in the Southeastern Conference, two in the Atlantic Coast Conference and two more in the Big XII. In addition, 17 of the 18 signees will compete at the NCAA Division I level during the 2018-19 campaign.
Austin Henry, the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association Player of the Year, All-TCCAA First Team member and NJCAA First Team All-American, as well as NJCAA Second Team All-American and All-TCCAA First Team member Hunter Wolfe are both heading to the Lonestar State to play for Texas Christian University next season.
NJCAA Second Team All-American, TCCAA Pitcher of the Year and All-TCCAA First Team member Landon Knack has signed with East Tennessee State University, while NJCAA Third Team All-American and All-TCCAA First Team member Dylan Harris is off to Chapel Hill to play for the Tar Heels at North Carolina.
Players signing in the Southeastern Conference included Hayden Lehman and Luke Berryhill, as both are signed with South Carolina, while the University of Tennessee and second-year coach Tony Vitello has added a pair of Senators in Duncan Pence and Zach Akey. Tyler Gentry will be in Tuscaloosa next season playing for Alabama, while Colin Taylor will represent the Senators at Arkansas, the NCAA College World Series runner-up last season.
Peyton Alford is heading to Blacksburg to play for Virginia Tech next season, while Logan Carey will lace up his cleats for the University of Memphis. Reese Brewer will be part of the Western Kentucky program, while Trey Maslin heads to North Carolina Central and Trey Shepard will compete for the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Skirka has signed two Senators to play for him at Murray State, as Jordan Holly and Brock Anderson are both heading to the Bluegrass State to be Racers.
Malik Kyle is the lone non-Division I signee, as he chose to stay local and sign once again with Carson-Newman. Kyle, a graduate of nearby Jefferson County High School, attended Carson-Newman immediately following his prep career before competing at WSCC. He now returns to coach Tom Griffin’s program where former Walters State pitcher Mark Allen Bounds is the pitching coach.
The Senators ended the season with quite a few records, including most runs scored in a season (737), most regular season wins (50), most strikeouts in a season by the team (637), team hits in a season (779) and team triples in a season (30). They also fell just one win shy of matching the 2006 national championship team’s win total of 61.