EKU baseball inks eight players during November signing period
The group includes five pitchers, a shortstop, an outfielder and an infielder.
RICHMOND, Ky. (EKU Athletics) – The Eastern Kentucky University baseball program added eight players for the 2023 season during the November signing period, head coach Chris Prothro announced Friday.
The group includes five pitchers, a shortstop, an outfielder and an infielder. Five high school athletes and three junior college transfers make up the November signing class.
“The most exciting thing about this group of student-athletes is that the common factor amongst all of them is that they wanted to be here at EKU,” Prothro said. “We had a large group of newcomers come in this fall so this signing class was always going to be a smaller one, and that’s by design. We wanted to make sure and recruit student-athletes with great make-up from winning programs that do things right, treat people right, and hold themselves to a high standard in the way they work at being great at a very difficult game. Coach Walt Jones, Coach Cody Wofford, Harley Martin, and Kirk Moats deserve all the credit in the world for the work done to put this group together. This group will have a huge impact on our program and we cannot wait to get them here.”
Chase Alderman is a 6-foot-5, 190-pound right-handed pitcher from Morehead, Kentucky. Perfect Game rates the Rowan County High School hurler as the No. 3 righty in Kentucky and the No. 8 overall prospect.
“Chase is a multi-sport athlete (basketball, football, soccer, baseball) who is just scratching the surface of what he can be on the mound,” Jones said. “He has a big frame with lots of room for projection, already an upper 80s, low 90s type of arm that will only get better as he focuses on baseball only.”
DeeJay Booth will join the EKU baseball team after playing at Jones College. The 6-foot, 210 pound left-handed outfielder is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He hit .361 with six home runs in his first season at Jones County. Out of high school, Booth was rated as the No. 6 outfielder in Mississippi by Perfect Game.
“DeeJay is a polished hitter that had a lot of success in a very good junior college league as a freshman,” said Jones. “He is a potential middle of the order hitter with power to come and athletic enough to play all three spots in the outfield. He will probably settle in on one of the corners. DeeJay has a great makeup and work ethic, and has a chance to be a difference-maker when he steps on campus.”
Gavin Faulkner, who plays at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound left-handed pitcher. He is the fourth ranked lefty and the No. 30 overall prospect in Kentucky according to Perfect Game.
“Gavin is another student-athlete who stuck by his commitment to EKU through a coaching change because this is where he wanted to be,” Jones said. “He is a lefty arm with some arm strength (fast ball up to 90) that should push to contribute right away. He competes and throws strikes, and we are excited to have him.”
Jesse Johnson began his collegiate career at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound infielder batted .313 with four doubles and three home runs in his first season. He also posted a 2.35 ERA with 12 strikeouts in seven and two-thirds innings on the mound. Coming out of high school, Johnson was rated as the No. 6 infielder in Mississippi by Perfect Game.
“Jesse is another very athletic student-athlete who had success as a freshman in a very good junior college league,” said Jones. “He has played multiple positions in college and has settled in as a very good infielder that can play multiple spots as well as help on the mound. Jesse has a good stroke offensively and should be ready to compete and play at a very high level when he shows up on campus.”
Brandon Laux struck out 25 batters in 22 innings in his first season at Kirkwood Community College. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound right-hander from Chicago was ranked as the 18th best righty in Illinois as a high school senior.
“Brandon is a projectable right-handed pitcher with tremendous upside,” Jones said. “He showed flashes of his potential as a freshman where he was a part of a talented staff that made a strong postseason run to the NJCAA World Series. Brandon has made huge strides over the summer and fall where he has been up to 93 miles per hour with an out pitch. We’re excited about his future here in Richmond.”
Nathan Lawson will join the team out of Russell County High School. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-handed pitcher from Russell Springs is rated by Perfect Game as the No. 13 right-hander and the No. 31 overall prospect in Kentucky.
“Nathan is another in-state student-athlete who chose EKU as his home,” said Jones. “He is a true competitor on the mound that has shown the ability to really pitch. He commands three pitches for strikes while running his fastball up to 90 mph. Nathan will be in the mix to be an impact guy when he steps on campus.”
Cole Reynolds plays at Somerset High School and is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound shortstop. The Somerset native is considered the No. 2 shortstop in the state by Perfect Game and the 22nd ranked prospect overall.
“Cole is an athletic infielder who can play multiple spots at an above average level,” Jones said. “He has great feel to play the game with good instincts and is an above average runner. Cole committed to play here early in his high school career and stuck with his commitment through a coaching staff change because EKU is where he wanted to be.”
Logan Smothers is a 6-foot, 185-pound right handed pitcher from Danville, Kentucky. The Danville High School product is rated as the No. 7 right-handed pitcher in Kentucky and the 16th ranked overall prospect by Perfect Game.
“Logan is a very athletic player who plays a position (infield) and pitches for a very good high school program in the state,” said Jones. “The sky is the limit for him as he focuses just on pitching once he gets to college. His fast ball is up to 93 this fall and he has feel to pitch with his off-speed. When Logan committed to our program he did so saying EKU was his ‘dream school.’ He will push to make an instant impact as a freshman on the mound with us.”