The recruiting season is winding down for Lee University baseball head coach Mark Brew, who has added a bevy of pitchers and position players to the Flames roster.
Four new faces will vie for time on the hill for Brew, who lauded assistant coach Justin Dedman for his untiring effort in helping land what Brew considers an “A list” of incoming recruits.
“I want to single out the efforts of Coach Dedman in leading us on the recruiting front. He has worked countless hours and traveled many miles to bring this group together,” Brew stated. “He’s one of the best I know as a recruiting coordinator and has done an excellent job continuing to attract the type of student-athlete that fits the expectations and standards of Lee University and our program. They also can perform on a level high enough to allow us to compete on a daily basis in the rugged Gulf South Conference.”
Brew singled out the pitchers he and his staff has signed for the 2015 season. Brew says these signees, along with earlier recruit Winston Whitener and returning players, should leave the Flames solid across the roster for next season, but he adds that a couple of more prospects might be signed at a later date.
“I am really excited about this group of pitchers. They bring lots of flexibility as we mesh them with a quality group of returners off our 2014 pitching staff. Coach (Drew) French is excellent at his craft and he should have an awesome group to work with in 2015 and I can’t wait to see this group develop,” he stated.
“We are not ruling out adding two or three more roster players to this group as the summer progresses, but I am excited about the strides we have made through the recruiting process as we are heading into our second season in NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference.”
Ridge Ackerman — Lincoln Land Community College (Ill.) – Junior, right-handed pitcher, Springfield, Ill.
Awards: 2014 NJCAA Division II First Team All-American, 2014 NJCAA Region Player of the Year
2014 Stats: Record: 10-1, 2.12 ERA, 89 1-3 innings pitched, 74 hits, 28 walks, 83 strikeouts, five complete games.
Ackerman said: “I am extremely excited to be a part of the Lee University baseball pitching staff. I chose Lee because it is the best fit for me academically and athletically.”
Lincoln Land head coach Ron Riggle said: “We are excited for Ridge. Lee has an excellent program and we are looking forward to seeing Ridge be a big part of their success.”
Dedman: “Ridge is a true pitcher. While he has a strong arm that can reach as high as 91 on the gun, Ridge can really keep hitters off balance. He has a very good slider and splitter, and pounds the strike zone. Ridge has a large frame that we expect will develop well in our strength program, but his biggest asset is his toughness.”
Bobby Kuntzendorf — Guilford Tech Community College (N.C.) – Sophomore, left-handed pitcher, Plano, Ill.
Awards: All-State 2011, 2012; Beacon News Player of the Year 2011, 2012; Conference Player of the Year 2012; All-Conference 2010, 2011, 2012; All-Area 2010, 2011, 2012.
2013 Stats at Northern Illinois University (redshirted 2014): 15 games, five games started, 1-3, 27 1-3 innings pitched, 29 hits, 13 strikeouts, .279 batting average against
Bobby said: “I am very excited for this opportunity given to me by all of the coaches at Lee. I absolutely loved the campus when I visited and love the energy everyone brings. I am excited to get down to Lee and get things started!”
Guilford Tech head coach John Barrow said: “Bobby is a competitor and fearless on the mound. He can command both sides of the plate with his fastball as well as his devastating curve. He has a total bulldog mentality when he toes the rubber and will absolutely excel at the next level.”
Dedman: “Bobby is going to be a good one. He has a good fastball that sits between 84-87 mph, a terrific breaking ball and pounds the zone. He is tough, loves the game and knows how to compete. As he fully recovers from his arm surgery, we believe he will be an impact pitcher on our staff and an impact person on our team.”
Dakota Fowler — Hartselle High School (Ala.), right-handed pitcher, Hartselle, Ala.
Awards: 2013 Alabama State Champion at Hartselle High School
2014 Stats: 6-5, 2 saves, 2.59 ERA, 56 2-3 innings pitched, 16 walks, 47 strikeouts
Fowler said: “I am so excited to be an official member of the Lee University Flames. I am looking forward to this next step in my baseball career.
“Hartselle head coach William Booth said: Dakota’s future is extremely bright. He is a competitive person who will do great things at Lee. He is a strike thrower. He’s not through growing. I think he’ll be 90-plus. He’s one of the youngest kids in the class.”
Dedman: “Dakota is a very experienced and accomplished high school pitcher in a terrific program. Dakota has a long and lanky build that gives him terrific leverage and will serve him well as he grows in our strength and nutrition program. Dakota is a competitor and throws three pitches for strikes already. He currently sits between 85-88 mph and we expect that to improve quickly with his aggressive work ethic, body frame and attitude.”
Denis Lyman — Herkimer Community College (N.Y.) – Junior, right-handed pitcher, Mahopac, N.Y.
Awards: 2014 NJCAA DIII World Series; 2012 New York AA State Champion at Kingston High School
2014 Stats: Six games, two games started, 1-1, 4.85 ERA, 13 innings pitched, 13 hits, 6 walks, 14 strikeouts
Lyman said: “I’m really excited to spend these next two years getting stronger, both in the classroom and on the ball field at Lee University.”
Herkimer Community College head coach Jason Rathbun said: “Denis will be a great addition to the Lee University baseball program. His stuff on the mound is electric and he is a draft prospect with his low-90s fastball. Denis is a great athlete who projects well for the future with his strong, long frame. We are excited for Denis and his chance to have an impact at Lee.”
Dedman: “Denis is on the cusp of being special. Denis is an athlete with a prototypical pitcher’s body, and sits between 89-92 with plus-fastball movement. He has a tight, hard slider and an above average change-up. Denis is highly competitive and is a good human with strong values. As he matures and adds polish to his pure stuff, he can be one of our most explosive pitchers. “