FLORENCE, S.C.- Francis Marion University baseball head coach Art Inabinet has announced seven signees for the Patriots after the recent early signing period: left-handed pitcher Daniel Barfield of Fort Mill, right-handed pitcher Paxton Buckner of Pawley’s Island, infielder and right-handed pitcher Chance DuCharme of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., left-handed pitcher Hamilton Heatly of Spartanburg, right-handed pitcher Trevor Hutto of North Augusta, shortstop Cole Morris of Chapin, and infielder and right-handed pitcher Shaefer Shepard of Boca Raton, Fla.
Barfield, 6-4 and 180 lbs., is a senior at Fort Mill High School, where he plays for coach Brad Mercer. He will be in his second year as a varsity player for Fort Mill, where he hit .364 last season for the Yellow Jackets.
“Daniel is a good left-handed pitcher who clocks in around the low 80s, and he already has a good feel for his change-up,” said Inabinet. “He comes from a strong high school program in Fort Mill.”
Buckner, 6-6 and 190 lbs., is a senior at Waccamaw High School, where he plays for coach Jeff Gregory. He is a three-time “Cy Young” award winner for the Warriors, and has posted the most wins and lowest earned run average over the past three seasons. As a junior, he posted a 3.10 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 22 innings. At the plate he batted .235 as the Warriors went 17-12 and captured the school’s first District V title.
Buckner’s great-grandfather pitched for the Los Angeles Angels in the 1930s and his father played collegiately at UNC Wilmington and Northwestern University.
“Paxton is a big righty with good size and a solid fastball in the low 80s. Down the line, as he develops, he should turn into a really good college pitcher.”
DuCharme, 6-1 and 180 lbs., is a senior at First Flight High School, where he is playing for coach Steve Saunders. This past season, he batted .368 with six home runs and a .500 on-base percentage as First Flight won the Northeast Coastal Conference championship. On the mound, he was 8-2 with a 1.75 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched.
He is a two-time All-Conference selection and a three-time Academic All-Conference pick. He was named his team’s MVP in 2011 and was chosen to the 2011 MaxPreps All-League Team. He was named to the North Carolina State Games Region I Team and his Richmond Braves National 16U Team ranked 11th in the nation.
“Chance comes in as a right-hander with some good stuff in the low 80s. Our plan is to drop him down a little bit to a submarine delivery, and turn him into one of our short relievers, where we think he can be most effective. He will also have the opportunity to play in the infield.”
Heatly, 6-1 and 200 lbs., will come to FMU after playing the 2012 season at Dorman High School under coach Ben Waddle. He played the past two years at Spartanburg High School before transferring to Dorman. He has been rated as the No.2 southpaw pitching prospect in South Carolina by Diamond Prospects, and earned Perfect Game USA honorable mention recognition. As a sophomore for Spartanburg High School, he was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA.
“Hamilton will toe the rubber for us, but he will also be given the opportunity to hit a little bit, and could possibly turn into a two-way guy. His fastball is in the mid 80s with a good curveball that he can throw for strikes. With his tools, he’s the kind of guy who could come in and make an immediate impact.”
Hutto, 6-1 and 180 lbs., is a senior at North Augusta High School, where he plays for coach Victor Radcliff. During his junior campaign, he hit .408 with a home run and five doubles while posting a 4-2 pitching record with a 3.66 ERA and 36 strikeouts.
“Trevor has all the makings to be a solid college pitcher. He is a righty with a good fastball that hits the mid 80s on the radar gun consistently.”
Morris, 5-10 and 155 lbs., is a senior at Chapin High School, where he plays for coaches Scott McLeod and Paul Scheno. He batted .349 in 2011 with 15 runs batted in, 17 stolen bases, and team-leading 26 runs scored from the leadoff position. Morris was a part of the 2010 Diamond Prospects Fall Showcase “Charlie Hustle” Team, as well as a Top-10 Recruits Award recipient for the class of 2012.
“Cole is an infielder who has plus speed. He can really run well. He will come in playing a majority at the shortstop position, but we may try to maximize his potential by turning him into more of a utility player.”
Shepard, 6-2 and 190 lbs., will come to FMU from Boca High School, where he plays for coach Justin Timmerman. He was selected to the 2012 Under Armour All-American Team. He is also an award-winning prep bowler, having finished as the FHSAA state runner-up as a junior.
“Shaefer is an infielder that is also a very good pitcher with a fastball already in the upper 80s. He has the opportunity to come in and be a good two-way player, contributing both on the mound and in the field.”
Francis Marion ended its 2011 campaign with a 41-16 record and received its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, reaching the regional title game for the second year in a row. The Patriots equaled the school record for wins, captured the Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship, and were ranked ninth in the final 2011 NCAA Division II national poll.