Featuring three of the top talents locally in the Shenandoah Valley and six total pitchers, JMU baseball added nine newcomers to its 2015 roster to complete an incoming class of 13 as announced by the program on Tuesday.
“We knew going into this class that we were going to lose some upperclassmen on the position player side. So we needed to address that first and foremost,” shared assistant coach Ted White, who serves as recruiting coordinator for the Dukes. “We needed to make sure that we were really getting the pitching back to a standard that we feel is necessary here. I think this class gives you a start on the pitching side but also gives some impact athletes on the position player side.”
The 13 total newcomers for JMU baseball include four from the local Shenandoah Valley, upping the team total to six local players on the roster. White noted the local influence as a key to the composition of each JMU squad moving forward.
White said, “It’s extremely important. If you go up and down the rosters of teams going into Super Regionals, they had a lot of quality local talent on their roster. You still have to go out and find the pieces because you’re not going to get everybody you want. We need to get these guys to understand that JMU is committed to keeping the best local talent, and to me that means getting out to the high school games and introducing myself to the coaches. That was a goal that we set, to let people know that we want to compete on the national level and we want some local guys on those teams.”
A brief look at the newest Diamond Dukes:
Evan Hanifee, 2B, 5-10, 190, L/R, Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby
A two-time All-State, three-time All-Region and four-time All-District honoree, Hanifee has wielded a potent stick for the Knights, finishing third on the program’s career hit list (120), third in home runs (14), fourth in average (.433) and fourth in RBIs (79). As a senior, he hit .438 with five doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs. That followed a junior campaign in which he earned Second Team High School All-America honors from Louisville Slugger. That year he accumulated 43 hits with 13 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 33 RBIs and 19 steals. Hanifee was also three times named the top quarterback in the local district and set TA’s all-time passing record.
Colton Harlow, LHP, 5-10, 140, L/L, Mount Jackson, Va./Stonewall Jackson
An All-District honoree in three sports (baseball, basketball and golf), Harlow arrives at JMU from nearby stonewall jackson High School and competed at the varsity level in all three sports for all four years of high school. He captured First Team All-District honors as both an outfielder and a pitcher in 2014 and added Second Team All-Region accolades.
Sean Morgan, RHP, 6-3, 195, R/R, Stafford, Va./Mountain View
A two-year team captain for the Wildcats, Morgan was honored as First Team All-District as a sophomore, honorable mention All-District as a junior and honorable mention All-Conference as a senior. All three honors came in the outfield while he added honorable mention laurels as a pitcher as a senior. He compiled a 3.29 career ERA in three seasons and 63 hits while finishing third on the school’s all-time wins list. He also competed three years at quarterback for Mountain View. He twice competed on the Demarini Stars 17U Black squad that won gold at the Virginia Commonwealth Games.
Daniel Pinson, RHP, 6-4, 190, Midlothian, Va./Trinity Episcopal
One of two new Dukes from the Midlothian area, Pinson went 4-1 on the mound as a senior with a 1.39 ERA.He worked 35 1/3 innings and added two saves while striking out 55 and walking 11. He also limited opponents to a .173 average. In his sophomore and junior seasons he combined for a 2.15 ERA in 26 innings of work.
Steven Schwartz, RHP, 6-4, 210, R/R/, Springfield, Va./Annandale
As a senior, Schwartz was named the Conference 7 Pitcher of the Year and a First Team All-Region pitcher with the Atoms. He was also an All-Conference selection in football and earned three-year letters in football and basketball alongside his four seasons of varsity baseball. He was recently named to the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Game. Hailing from an athletic family, his father, Ken, played basketball at JMU while his mother, Heather, competed in field hockey for the Dukes.
Mike Sciorra, OF, 6-1, 170, R/R, Chantilly, Va./Chantilly
Sciorra hit .321 as a senior for Chantilly with a .446 on-base percentage and .509 slugging percentage. He led the team with 17 hits, including five doubles, a triple and a home run while scoring a team-best 20 runs. He also hit .334 as a junior and .328 as a sophomore while earning Concorde District All-District honors all three seasons. As a senior, he led the Chargers to the Virginia 6A state golf championship while capturing individual medal honors.
Shawn Semple, RHP, 6-1, 190, R/R, Logan Township, N.J./Paul VI
The lone spring newcomer from outside the Commonwealth of Virginia, Schwartz adds to a growing list of Eagles to compete at JMU, joining basketball student-athletes Ron Curry and Matt Risse. He captured First Team All-Conference accolades as a senior while seeing his first action since significant arm surgery. That injury cut short his junior campaign though he still earned Second Team All-Conference recognition.
Adam Sisk, OF, 6-3, 185, R/R, Fairfax, Va./Robinson
The son of former JMU baseball player Kevin Sisk (1990-91), Adam Sisk earned First Team All-District honors in Northern Virginia’s Concorde District. He led the Rams in extra-base hits, on-base percentage, runs scored and stolen bases as the starting right fielder. As a junior, he earned honorable mention All-District honors and as a sophomore contributed to Robinson’s Concorde District title in 2012. Sisk played for the DeMarini Stars travel squad that has sent multiple players to become Diamond Dukes. His Stars Black 17U squad went 44-4-1 in 2013 and made the final group of eight teams in the 280-team field at the 2013 World Wood Bat Association Tournament.
Eric Yankey, LHP, 5-10, 175, Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby
The Valley’s Conference 29 Pitcher of the Year and a AAA Second Team All-Region honoree, Yankey dominated Shenandoah Valley hitters in 2014. The southpaw amassed a 10-1 record while posting a 0.65 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. He struck out 123 batters in 75 2/3 innings while walking 39 and allowed just seven extra-base hits. He worked five complete games, including a pair of shutouts.