Lee University baseball coach Mark Brew has added what he feels is a class of top talent to the Flames roster for 2015.
Seven new position players will battle for playing time, along with four pitchers signed by Brew. They will join fall signee Ben Holland.
"I am really excited about this group of positional signees. We wanted to improve our team offensively in 2015 and these players all have the ability to help us make strides in that area,” said the Flames’ skipper. “However, our defense is one of the cornerstones of our program and they all bring defensive strengths as well. It's a great mix of transfers and high school student-athletes and we are really excited about this class.”
Luke Toms — Motlow State Community College, junior infielder, Hagerstown, Md.
2014 Stats: .393 average, .435 on base average, .694 slugging percentage, 21 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs, 52 RBIs, 52 runs scored, 14 walks, 27 strikeouts, 6 stolen bases in 8 attempts, .917 fielding percentage, 168 assists.
Toms says: "It's the chance of a lifetime to play at such a powerhouse program, and I'm beyond proud to be a part of it."
Said Motlow State head coach Dan McShea: "Luke Toms is one of the best infielders in the country. It is always great to have a guy in the middle of the infield that can change the game defensively or at the plate. Luke has also been one of the best clutch hitters in recent history for Motlow, posting All-American numbers and coming up with huge hits and plays when they are needed most."
Lee assistant coach Justin Dedman said: "Luke is a dynamic player. He has plus power, is a strong defensive player and can make both routine and special plays at shortstop. He has infectious energy and passion and has the type of hunger to improve that every great program must have."
Chris Adams — Motlow State Community College, outfielder, Huntsville, Ala.
Awards: 2014 NJCAA Region VII All-Region, 2014 TCCAA Second-Team All-Conference, Motlow State Baseball Leadership Award
2014 Stats: .358 batting average, .456 on-base percentage, .580 slugging percentage, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 8 home runs, 44 RBI, 56 runs, 35 walks, 26 strikeouts, 7-of-12 stolen bases, .989 fielding percentage.
Adams says: "I am very excited to move on to a program like Lee's, especially with two other teammates. Lee feels like the school that provides the most for a student athlete. It feels like the place where your maximum potential can be reached academically and athletically. It feels like home."
Motlow State head coach Dan McShea said: "Chris Adams was the first freshman captain I have ever seen in college baseball. His work ethic and ability have put him among league leaders in almost every single offensive category. In addition to being a fantastic baseball player, Chris has been like another coach on the field. His work ethic, determination and strong character have inspired all those around him to become better athletes and better people."
Dedman: "Chris is a catalyst. He has terrific plate discipline, plus power and is surehanded in the outfield. Chris is a soldier, a rock in any program and brings terrific intangibles and leadership characteristics to Lee."
Shelden Brogden — Chattanooga State Community College, Chattanooga, redshirt sophomore, outfielder.
Awards: Chattanooga Times/Free Press Best of Preps 2011, 2012; All-District 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; All-Region 2011, 2012
2014 Stats: .293 batting average, .372 on-base percentage, .384 slugging percentage, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 17 RBI, 23 runs, 13 walks, 27 strikeouts, 3-of-4 on stolen base attempts, .978 fielding percentage.
Brogden says: "I'm truly blessed and excited to join a program like Lee University, and can't wait to get the season started."
Chattanooga State assistant coach Joe Wingate said: "Shelden is a very athletic outfielder with a strong arm, pop in his bat and the potential to be a difference maker, both offensively and defensively. We wish him well as he enters this next stage in his career."
Dedman: "Shelden is just tapping into his ability. He is a prototypical athlete with very good strength, size and speed. He has all of the tools to follow in the footsteps of some of the terrific outfielders coach Brew's teams have had. He has a terrific swing and has matured quickly in his approach at the college level. Most importantly, Shelden is a man of character and has a great attitude."
Brayden Ware — Silver Creek High School (Ind.) - freshman, infielder/outfielder, Sellersburg, Ind.
Awards: Sectional Champs 2012, 2013; Conference Champs 2013.
2014 Stats: .366 batting average, .378 on-base percentage, .510 slugging percentage, 9 doubles, 2 homers, 29 RBI, 24 runs, 6 base-on-balls, 13 strikeouts.
Ware says: "The three things I've always wanted in a college are 1.) I wanted to play at a Christian school 2.) I wanted to play in the South 3.) I wanted to play at a program that is nationally respected. Lee University has given me the opportunity to live out my dream and I look forward to contributing in any way I can."
Silver Creek High School head coach Joe Decker said: "Brayden is a great hitter and athlete with very good speed. He works very hard every day to get better. He has been one of our leaders all season and has been a key to our team's success over the past three seasons. I fully expect when he gets into the system at Lee he will become a key member of their club."
Dedman: "Brayden is a diamond in the rough. We believe Brayden will be a strong offensive player before his career is over. Brayden gives us defensive flexibility with his ability to play outfield or infield. He continues to grow into his frame, and has made huge gains in strength and speed in the last year. He is competitive and driven."
Shae Durham — Silver Creek HS (Ind.) – freshman, shortstop, Sellersburg, Ind.
Awards: Sectional Champs 2012, 2013; Conference Champs 2013.
2014 Stats: .438 batting average, 505 on-base percentage, .584 slugging percentage, 10 doubles, 1 home run, 31 RBI, 30 runs, 16 walks, 3 strikeouts.
Durham says: "I am excited to play great baseball and meet other great people and to grow spiritually."
Silver Creek High School head coach Joe Decker said: "In the 20-plus years I have been coaching, Shae is the best shortstop I have ever seen at the high school level. He has made plays over the past three years that our entire coaching staff just looks at each other like, 'Did that just happen?' And he does it making it look easy. Shae is a natural leader. Kids follow him. The little kids around the ballpark idolize him. He has matured so much over the past two years. He has really become a great kid."
Dedman: "Shae is a superb defensive shortstop. He moves well and can make every throw necessary. His defense alone may give him early opportunities, though we like what we are getting offensively, also. Shae has a compact swing and has seen gains in strength and athleticism. We believe he is one to watch."
Jack Jones — Fred J. Page High School – freshman, catcher, Eagleville.
Awards: 2014 Co-District MVP; 2014 Page HS MVP; 2013, 2014 All-District; 2012, 2013 Page High School Breakout Player.
2014 Stats: .377 batting average, .479 on-base percentage,.571 slugging percentage, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, 24 RBI, 8 runs, 12 walks, 7 strikeouts.
Jones says: "I am extremely grateful to not only attend Lee University but have the privilege to play collegiate level baseball at Lee. God put me in this position so I can be the best man, student and athlete possible for my future teammates and classmates."
Page High School head coach Donald George said: "I am very excited about Jack joining the Lee University program. I feel that he will be a great addition through his leadership and work ethic, and will serve the program well during his time there."
Dedman: "Jack is an impressive young player. He has plus bat speed and terrific plate discipline. Behind the plate he is a strong receiver, energy giver and has a very strong arm. He possesses a workman's attitude and leadership capabilities. We believe Jack will grow into a force behind the plate for us."
Chevis Hoover — Volunteer State Community College, junior, RHP/INF, Tullahoma.
Awards: 2014 NJCAA Region VII Second-Team DH, 2014 Second-Team All-TCCAA.
2014 Stats: Pitching: 6 wins, 3 defeats, 63.0 innings pitched, 52 hits, 59 strikeouts, 43 walks, .221 batting average against, 4 complete games, 1 shutout.
Hitting: .274 batting average, .408 on-base percentage,.427 slugging percentage, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 30 RBI, 24 walks, 25 strikeouts.
Hoover says: "I am excited to be a part of a program that is accustomed to winning and I look forward to doing everything I can to help continue to move the program forward. "
Volunteer State CC head coach Mike Crossland said: "Chevis was an absolute joy to coach. Chevis is a super-competitive kid that improved tremendously in our program, and he still has room for improvement. Coach Brew and Lee University are getting a weekend-type arm and a middle-of-the-order bat."
Dedman: "Chevis is a dynamic two-way player. He has a plus fastball that sits between 88 and 92 miles per hour, and can reach higher. His fastball has very good run with occasional sink, and he possesses a ‘put-away’ slider."