Northwestern State baseball program announces 14-member signing class

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Brown-Stroud Field at NSU

NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State baseball signing class of 2022 is a bit smaller than in previous years but one that provide immediate impact to the program.

The Demons announced Wednesday the addition of 14 players, who will join the NSU roster for the 2023 season.

Northwestern State’s newcomer group includes eight high school signees and seven from the JUCO ranks.

“We are excited about this new group of Demons charged with the responsibility of carrying on what so many before have left for them,” said head coach Bobby Barbier, who begins his seventh season in at the helm of his alma mater.

“Our coaches work so hard to try to get a very specific type of player that not only has a skill set to win but a will to work. We believe we have found that in these 14 new Demons. I am so thankful for my entire staff and the hours they have put into this group and the hours they will put in to get them better.

2022 Northwestern State Baseball Signing Class

JC Acosta, RHP, R/R, 5-10, 175, Lafayette, La. (Teurlings Catholic HS)

High School: Four-year letterman for coach Brooks Badeaux’s Rebels … went 6-0 with three saves and pitched to a 1.75 ERA as a senior, earning all-district and all-region honors … helped Teurlings win 50 games in his final two seasons and reach the quarterfinals as a senior and the state semifinals as a junior … lettered two seasons in football for coach Dane Charpentier … class valedictorian had a 4.0 GPA and was selected to the Academic All-State team.

Associate head coach Chris Bertrand on Acosta: “JC was a late summer addition to the roster, but one who we feel can impact our bullpen in the years to come. He has a lower attack angle with the arm slot, a very high baseball IQ and a work ethic beyond his years. We feel that with some hard work, development and polish over the early part of his career, he can be a reliable guy out of the Demon bullpen. Having a young guy like JC in the program makes us better in a multitude of ways.”

Tyler Bryan, RHP, R/R, 6-2, 205, Beckville, Texas (Beckville HS)

High School: Four-year letterman for coach Alex Davis’ Bearcats … earned first-team all-district honors as a pitcher three times … helped lead Beckville to 50 wins in his final two seasons … earned Newcomer of the Year honors as a freshman … two-year football letterman helped Beckville go 27-3 in his career … earned first-team all-district honors as a linebacker twice and was a third-team all-district tight end as a senior … also was a regional track finalist.

Bertrand on Bryan: “Tyler comes to us after grabbing our attention at one of our camps and upon the recommendation of former Demon Jeff Casey. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, and we quickly noticed that he had some very nice athleticism to compliment his intangibles and competitiveness. He has a great feel for spinning the baseball and he is intense in his preparation and performance. We look forward to watching him grow as a Demon.”

Lathen Buzard, INF, R/R, 6-3, 205, Richmond, Texas (Fort Bend Travis HS)

High School: Two-year letterman for coach Rick Grimm’s Tigers … earned first-team all-district honors as a senior … National Honor Society member had a 4.0 grade point average.

Assistant coach Spencer Goodwin on Buzard: “Lathen is a player who draws everyone’s attention when he steps in between the lines. He’s a 6-foot-3 physical athlete who plays with fire, has the ability to hit for power and drive the ball the other way. We are really excited about his future here as a Demon.”

Carson Carey, C, R/R, 6-2, 215, Bossier City, La. (Airline HS)

High School: Four-year letterman for coach Toby Todd’s Vikings … earned first-team all-district honors as a utility player as a junior … helped Airline reached the playoffs twice in his career … posted a 4.04 weighted GPA.

Bertrand on Carey: “Carson adds another physical presence to our offense, and he makes for a great target behind the plate for our pitching staff. He has the ability to hit for power, and he has shown that there is some arm strength in his throwing ability. Carson will spend some time early in his career getting back to 100 percent from a late high school injury, but we are very pleased with the skill set he brings to the program. Our experience with both Airline High School and Team Louisiana players of the past has us excited about the future of Carson’s game.”

Caleb Castle, INF/P, R/R, 6-3, 180, Houston, Texas (Clear Lake HS)

Summer 2022: Played for Hunter Pence Baseball Academy in the Perfect Game Collegiate League.

High School: Three-year letterman for coach Josh Bromberg’s Falcons … named first-team all-district and third-team all-state as a utility player as a senior after batting .424 … ranked second on the team in batting average and was Clear Lake’s top pitcher as a junior … collected the second most hits on the team as a sophomore.

Bertrand on Castle: “Caleb is an incredibly gifted athlete, and we are really excited to see him compete for the Demons. He showcases a really special skill set at shortstop, has shown consistent growth at the plate as a hitter and is an explosive competitor on the mound. He has a big frame to pack some good muscle onto, and he runs extremely well.  Demon fans are going to have fun watching Caleb play the game.”

Brayden Cust, OF, L/R, 6-3, 180, Sherwood Park, Alberta (Colby CC)

Summer 2022: Played for the Sylvan Lake Gulls in the Western Canadian Baseball League.

Prior to NSU: Two-time Gold Glove winner at Colby Community College … helped lead the Trojans to consecutive Super Regional appearances … batted .460 as a freshman for the Trojans.

High School: Played at Salisbury Composite High School … invited to play for Team Rawlings in the Perfect Game national tournament in Georgia … threw a no-hitter at the T12 Blue Jays Tournament in Rogers Centre.

Bertrand on Cust: “We are really excited to see the skills that Brayden brings to Demonland.  Another great athlete from a winning program, Brayden checks all of the boxes of what it is we were looking for in an outfielder in this class. He has a great frame, runs well, throws well, is a terrific defender in center field, and he adds a dynamic left-handed hitter to our lineup. Brayden has a chance to make some serious noise in a Demon uniform.”

Michael Dattalo, 3B, R/R, 6-0, 205, Keller, Texas (Keller HS)

Summer 2022: Played for Impact Baseball Club Worley in the Five Tool Collegiate League, earning honorable mention all-summer honors.

High School: Two-year letterman for coach Rob Stramp’s Indians … earned first-team all-state honors (coaches), second-team all-state acclaim (sports writers) and an all-region selection after batting .356 with 31 RBIs as a senior … ranked 13th in the state of Texas in doubles … first-team all-district and all-area pick as a junior after batting .408 with 35 RBIs and a .510 OBP … his 51 hits ranked sixth in the state of Texas … helped Keller reach the state title game as a junior and the regional finals as a senior … three-year hockey letterman.

Goodwin on Dattalo: “Mike is a dude who flat-out hits. His ability to find the barrel and use the entire field is what stood out to us in the recruiting process. He’s flashed opposite-field power, is a low swing-and-miss hitter and an all-around awesome young man on and off the field. He comes to us from a very familiar baseball powerhouse in Keller High School, and will join two previous teammates in Alex (Makarewich) and Gray (Rowlett). His feel for hitting is something that is rare in young hitters and is something that makes Mike stand out.”

Kyle Froehlich, P/DH, L/R, 6-1, 185, Nipawin, Saskatchewan (Colby CC)

Summer 2022: Played for the Sylvan Lake Gulls in the Western Canadian Baseball League.

Prior to NSU: Played two seasons at Colby Community College … batted .295 with nine doubles, three triples, 10 home runs and 29 RBIs and notched a pair of wins and 18 strikeouts on the mound in 17 innings pitched in 2022 … twice named an Academic All-American – earning second-team honors in 2022 and first-team acclaim in 2021, finishing with a 3.95 GPA.

High School: Played three seasons of baseball at L.P. Miller Comprehensive … named the Saskatchewan Baseball North Division Pitcher of the Year and the Charlie Meacher MVP … earned Saskatchewan Baseball Major Player of the Year honors … was L.P. Miller’s Senior Male Athlete of the Year and earned the Brendan Luffman Memorial Scholarship … earned a silver medal and a bronze medal in the Ray Carter Cup – Canada’s national baseball cup … as a freshman was named the L.P. Miller Junior Male Athlete of the Year and was the Saskatchewan Baseball Minor Player of the Year … lettered in volleyball, hockey, track and field and badminton … helped L.P. Miller win Bantam and Midget AA hockey championships … was a NESSAC badminton doubles gold medalist and a provincial bronze medalist … had a pair of top-six provincial finishes as a javelin thrower … helped win an NESSAC junior championship in volleyball … posted a 4.0 GPA.

Goodwin on Froehlich: “Kyle is a guy who embodies what it means to be a Demon. There isn’t a negative thing I can say about him — an elite human being and person. His attitude, work ethic and determination to be great is what we look for in guys. Kyle is a two-way talent who will be a left-handed bat and right-handed arm off the mound. He comes to us with lots of experience from a very familiar junior college to our program in Colby Community College. Whether it’s on the mound, at the plate, or in the locker room with the guys, Kyle will bring value to our program because he is our type of player.”

Cole Hill, SS, R/R, 5-7, 170, Owasso, Oklahoma (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M)

Prior to NSU: Played one season each at Missouri State and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M … slashed .318/.450/.457 and ranked 10th in the NJCAA with 39 stolen bases … helped NEO finish second in the conference tournament … saw action in six games for Missouri State as a freshman … named to the Missouri Valley Conference Honor Roll, the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, the Dean’s Honor Roll and the President’s Honor Roll.

High School: Three-year team captain and four-year letterman for coach Casey Willis at Rejoice Christian School … batted .487 with a .606 on-base percentage and 23 steals as a junior … helped rejoice win two district titles … honorable mention Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason All-American West Region … named the 2020 Rejoice High School Male Athlete of the Year and was an Oklahoma High School All-Star Team selection … named first-team All-Pinnacle Conference and was a Team Tulsa member in the Oklahoma State games in 2019 … also was part of VYPE Oklahoma Magazine’s Top 50 … played for Team Oklahoma in the 2018 Prep Baseball Report Future Games … earned an Area Code Games invitation in 2018 …  four-year football letterman helped Rejoice win a pair of district titles under coach Casey Willis.

Goodwin on Hill: “Cole is our type of player — a dirtbag who loves the game and flies around the diamond. Stealing 39 bags last year shows his feel and ability to wreak havoc on the bases, something that will be very valuable to our team. He’s very quick twitch and comes to our program with experience at both the D-I and junior college level.”

Tim O’Connor, LHP, R/L, 6-1, 210, Worcester, Massachusetts (Murray State College)

Summer 2022: Played for the Quincy Gems of the Prospect League.

Prior to NSU: Played two seasons at Murray State College … helped the Aggies reach the NJCAA Division II World Series … struck out 71 batters in 60 career innings … named an NJCAA Academic All-American as a sophomore … graduated with a 3.6 GPA.

High School: Three-year letterman for coach Jim McNamara’s Hilltoppers … two-way player batted .380 with six doubles and a home run as a senior while going 5-0 on the mound with a 1.33 ERA, earning all-league honors … helped Worcester go 16-5 and earn a top-10 ranking in New England as a senior.

Goodwin on O’Connor: “Tim has shown very quickly that his work ethic and focus fits the Demon Way perfectly. He’s the first one to the yard and the last one to leave. His determination to develop and earn a role for our program is exciting to see, and we look forward to seeing what his future holds. He is a lefty arm with good stuff who comes from a very good junior college program in Murray State College.”

Caleb Perry, RHP, R/R, 6-4, 205, Waxahachie, Texas (Waxahachie HS)

High School: Played for coach Jim Miller’s Indians … named to the Ellis County High School Sports Awards Baseball Team as a senior.

Goodwin on Perry: “Perry is a young arm who we are excited about seeing how he develops in our program. He came to our showcase camp last summer and showed ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes and good feel for a plus slider. His work during our Summer Bridge program shows he is going to do whatever it takes.”

Will Reed, RHP, R/R, 6-0, 175, Prairieville, La. (Delgado CC)

Prior to NSU: Pitched two seasons at Delgado Community College … helped the Dolphins reach consecutive super regionals … started the super regional title game as a sophomore … went 1-1 with two saves and was part of two shutouts as a sophomore … went 1-1 in six appearances as a freshman.

High School: Two-year letterman for coach Chris Schexnayder’s Dutchtown Griffins … earned all-district, all-parish and all-metro honors as a senior … all-district and all-metro pick as a utility player in his junior year … helped Dutchtown reach the state quarterfinals as a junior.

Bertrand on Reed: “Will Reed is a winner. He comes to us after successful seasons with two programs who win a lot.  Will was a steady and reliable part of both the Delgado and Dutchtown programs, and we are confident he will bring that stable, winning attitude with him to Demonland. He commands the ball really well, and he pitches with the experience and demeanor of a veteran. We are excited about the versatility Will brings to the pitching staff.”

Corbin Talley, LHP, L/L, 6-4, 185, Jones, Oklahoma (Butler CC)

Summer 2022: Pitched for the Kansas Cannons in Kansas Collegiate League Baseball.

Prior to NSU: Pitched two seasons at Butler Community College … went 5-3 with 58 strikeouts in 57 innings as a sophomore … struck out 24 in 24 innings, going 1-0 in 13 appearances as a freshman.

High School: Three-year letterman for coach Derek Verner’s Longhorns … earned all-state honors as a senior … helped Jones win a state title as a sophomore and reach the state quarterfinals as a junior … three-year basketball letterman helped Jones reach the playoffs all three seasons … member of the National Honor Society and graduated with a 3.79 GPA.

Bertrand on Talley: “We are excited about all of the things that Corbin brings to the Demons. With the graduation of two of our left-handed pitchers from last season, we knew we needed to address it in this class, and Corbin checks all of the boxes. He is a veteran arm, with experience as a starter, who possesses great command and feel for multiple pitches. He is committed to his craft, and he will be a big asset for us in the seasons to come.”

Roman Tolbert, RHP, R/R, 6-5, 225, Haughton, La. (Haughton HS)

High School: Three-year letterman for former NSU pitcher Glenn Maynor’s Buccaneers … named the No. 3 right-handed pitcher in Louisiana by Perfect Game … helped the Bucs go 25-8 and reach the second round of the state playoffs as a senior … earned second-team all-district honors as a junior as Haughton went 28-10 and reached the state quarterfinals.

Goodwin on Tolbert: “Roman is another local kid who comes from a very good high school program in Haughton High School with coach Glenn Maynor, a former Demon pitcher. His 6-5 frame and power arm are something we are looking forward to working with. He has shown the ability to throw a low-90s fastball already, and the ceiling is high for him. He will be a big asset to our program moving forward.”

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