FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University baseball coach Art Inabinet has announced the signing of 11 high school seniors to national letters of intent to attend FMU this fall and play for the Patriots in 2011.
The group consists of middle infielder Davis Behrendt of Greenwood, infielder Brett Fulmer of Columbia, infielder Zack Lee of Wilson, N.C., catcher Josh Powell of Johnsonville, corner infielder Eric Schanzenbacher of Greencastle, Pa., right-handed pitcher Kyle Shields of Bailey, N.C., catcher Tim Starkey of Myrtle Beach, infielder Jeffrey Stoner of Martinez, Ga., catcher Josh Tant of North Charleston, outfielder Justin Turbeville of Conway, and infielder Michael Wilson of Florence.
Behrendt, 5-9 and 155-pounds, is a graduate of Greenwood High School, where he played for coach Brad Richardson. He is a past recipient of a Scholastic Award and his team’s Hustle Award. He also played several seasons with the Greenwood Post 20 American Legion Team. “Davis can really run with ‘plus speed’ and could improve our middle infield play,” said Inabinet.
Fulmer, 5-9 and 163-pounds, is a product of Richland Northeast High School, where he played for coach Thane Maness. He was a four-year starter for the Cavalier varsity squad. As a senior, he hit .375 with 25 runs scored, 16 runs batted in, and 18 stolen bases. During his junior year, he batted .413 with 17 RBIs and 20 steals in 21 attempts, while registering a .953 fielding percentage. “He is an above average runner, has good arm strength, and could see action on the left side of the infield.”
Lee, 5-10 and 175-pounds, is a graduate of Hunt High School, where he played for coach Jon Smith. A two-time All-Conference selection in both baseball and football, he was selected to participate in the 2010 East-West All-Star Game for both sports. As a senior on the baseball diamond, he batted .477 with 36 runs scored, 13 doubles, one homer, 24 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases. He also posted a 5-3 pitching mark with a 2.90 earned run average while helping lead the Warriors to a school-record 26 wins and a spot in the NCHSAA 3-A state championship series. He served as his school’s Senior and Junior Class president. “Zack will definitely add to our infield depth and he comes from a successful high school program.”
Powell, 5-11 and 175-pounds, is a product of Johnsonville High School, where he played for coaches Scott Cook and Denton Graves. This past season, he hit .459 with eight home runs and 65 RBIs and was named the Class A state Player of the Year. He helped lead the Flashes to an appearance in the lower state finals. He earned All-State honors as a junior after batting .398 with five homers and 48 RBIs. He was also a three-time All-Conference pick. “Josh is a local product with unbelievable stats, who helped lead his high school squad deep into the state tournament.”
Schanzenbacher, 6-4 and 185-pounds, is a graduate of Greencastle-Antrim High School, where he played for coach Jeremy Barnes. He hails from the same program that produced recent FMU catcher Jared Barkdoll. He helped lead the Blue Devils to a 19-4 record and the 2010 Mid-Penn Capital Division title. He batted .415 with 29 runs scored, three homers, 16 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, and a .524 on-base percentage. He was a two-time first-team Mid-Penn Conference All-Star, as well as earning several other post-season awards. “Eric is a big, strong player who runs well. He has a chance to step in and play right away at one of the corner infield positions.”
Shields, 6-3 and 190-pounds, is a graduate of Southern Nash High School, where he played for coaches Jeff Flowers and Ricky Howard. A three-time varsity letterwinner, as a junior he posted a 6-6 pitching mark with a 1.93 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 79.2 innings. An All-Conference selection, he also pitched for the Wilson American Legion Post 13 team. “Kyle is a right-hander that has velocity in the mid to upper 80’s. He throws three pitches for strikes.”
Starkey, 5-10 and 165-pounds, is a product of Socastee High School, where he played for coach John Daurity. An honorable mention All-Region pick in 2010, he batted .287 with 15 runs scored, a homer, 18 RBIs, a .415 on-base percentage, and a .972 fielding percentage for a 15-13 Braves’ squad. He has been selected to play in the 2010 SCBCA North-South All-Star Game. As a junior, he hit .378 with 23 runs scored, 10 doubles, three home runs, and 26 RBIs, while earning first-team 7-AAA All-Region honors and second-team All-State recognition. “Tim is a good defensive catcher and we look forward to him challenging for playing time behind the plate.”
Stoner, 6-3 and 205-pounds, is a graduate of Lakeside High School, where he played for coach T.J. Davis. This past season, he won his opening seven decisions on the mound and helped the Panthers to a 27-8 mark and a spot in the AAAA state championship series. He has earned 3-AAAA All-Region, second-team All-County, and honorable mention All-Area honors. “Jeffrey could add some punch to our line-up and contribute as a freshman.”
Tant, 5-11 and 180-pounds, is a product of Fort Dorchester High School, where he played for coach Jack Radcliffe. He was also selected to play in the 2010 SCBCA North-South All-Star Game. Entering his senior campaign, he owned a .338 career average. In 2007, he helped the Patriots win the 8-AAAA region championship. “Josh is a good catch-and-throw receiver. We do expect him to play some as a first-year player in 2011.”
Turbeville, 6-2 and 185-pounds, is a graduate of Carolina Forest High School, where he played for coach Jack Jolley. In 2009, he hit .288 with 15 runs scored, six doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs, while posting a 3-1 pitching record with a 2.26 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and only two walks in 21.2 innings. An honorable mention All-Region selection, he was named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2009 Baseball at the Beach tournament. He was one of 10 state finalists for the 2010 “No Spit” All-Star of the Year Award, which included on the field performances and a pledge to not use smokeless tobacco products. ”Justin is a corner outfielder with ‘plus’ arm strength who hails from a successful local program.”
Wilson, 5-11 and 175-pounds, is a product of Florence Christian School, where he played for coaches Scotty Keefe and Chuck Sterling, both former FMU players. He is also the son of former Patriot All-American infielder Mike Wilson, and becomes the fourth father-son duo to attend Francis Marion and be a part of the baseball program. As a senior, he hit .439 with four doubles, three triples, and 19 stolen bases. He helped the Eagles to a 12-6 record and spot in the SCISA state tournament. He was a three-sport standout, and earned All-State, All-Region, and All-Star Game honors on the baseball diamond. He was also named a SCISA Scholar-Athlete, and leaves FCS owning the school records for hits (108), runs scored (90), and stolen bases (62). “He bats from the left side and is an above average runner, and has numerous ties to the FMU program. He should challenge for playing time as a freshman in the infield.”
“Overall we are very excited about this recruiting class,” said Inabinet. “In trying to get back to the basics of speed and that being our main offensive philosophy, that ideal is very evident in this group. They can run and throw. We addressed needs in the middle infield and behind the plate, and feel good about our answers.”
Francis Marion lost 17 seniors off last year’s 40-14 squad that ended the year ranked 10th nationally and finished second at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional – which the Patriots hosted.