FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University baseball coach Art Inabinet has announced the signing of three players – catcher Cody Moody of Fort Mill, pitcher-infielder Cole Norwood of Darlington, and left-handed pitcher and first baseman Tyler Smith of Sumter – during the recent early signing period. All three will attend FMU in 2011 and play for the Patriots in 2012.
Moody, 6-foot and 185-pounds, is a senior at Fort Mill High School, where he plays under the direction of head coach Brad Mercer.
As a junior, he batted .316 with 13 runs scored and 11 runs batted in. He earned his squad’s Charlie Hustle Award in 2009 and is a three-year letterman.
Norwood, 6-foot and 185-pounds, is a senior at Mayo High School for Math and Science. He is a four-year letterman with the Darlington High School Falcons squad, where he has played for coaches Mike Rogers (former Patriot), Julius Dixon, and Tripp Cromer.
Last season, he was 5-2 with a 3.00 earned run average and garnered first-team All-Region 6-AAA honors.
He is 4-0 in the post-season over the past two years. He was also an All-Region selection in 2009.
Smith, 6-4 and 200-pounds, is a senior at Wilson Hall, where he plays for coaches Chuck Sterling (former Patriot), Johnnie Griffin, and Frankie Ward.
As a junior, he batted .456 with four home runs, 29 RBIs, and a .779 slugging percentage. On the mound, he was 7-3 with one save, while striking out 79 batters in only 44 innings of work. He also did not commit an error while playing first base.
He earned All-State and All-Region recognition and was selected to play in the SCISA North-South All-Star Game. Prior to the 2010 season, he was named The Diamond Prospects SCISA Pre-Season Most Valuable Player for AAA schools and the SCISA Pre-Season Most Valuable Underclassman for AAA schools.
As a sophomore, he hit .392 with six homers and 29 RBIs, and again gained All-State and All-Region honors.
He has been a member of the Sumter American Legion P-15’s squad, batting .262 this past season with a homer and 14 RBIs.
He is also a three-year letterman on the Barons’ football team.
After signing 10 freshmen last year, Inabinet said that while this recruiting class may be small, these players will definitely add to the program. “Cody has a very strong arm, and defensively he will have a chance to step in and contribute right away,” Inabinet said. “He comes from a very good high school program and has lots of potential.
“Cole is a good athlete that runs and throws well. He will have the opportunity to pitch and play in the middle infield. On the mound, he throws in the mid-to-upper 80’s. He has a bright future.
“Tyler is also possible dual position player, pitching and playing first base. He is a big kid with loads of potential. A southpaw, he throws in the lower 80’s with a breaking ball and change-up. He has been surrounded by two very successful programs in Wilson Hall and the Sumter P-15s.”
Francis Marion finished 2010 with a 40-14 record and a No.10 national ranking. The Patriots hosted and finished second at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional. FMU opens its 2011 campaign on Feb. 5 with a home doubleheader against King College.