Youngstown State first-year head baseball coach Steve Gillispie is pleased to announce the addition of seven student-athletes to the Penguins 2013-roster.
The group of seven includes junior college transfers Mike Accardi, Devin Higgins, Kris Moules and Josh White; freshmen from the western part of the country Jonas Wellan and Jared Wight; and Boardman High graduate Dan Popio. Accardi and Higgins are outfielders, Popio, Wellan and White are catchers, Moules is a first baseman and Wight is a left-handed pitcher. Accardi, Moules and White all played at Lackawanna College last season and helped lead the Falcons to the NJCAA Division II World Series.
Accardi is a 5-foot-9 left-handed hitter from Milford, Pa., which is an hour east of Scranton. He batted .365 with 11 doubles and 49 runs scored in 54 games last season. The outfielder was 15-for-15 on stolen base attempts and posted a .479 on-base percentage. Accardi earned three letters and was a team captain two years at Delaware Valley High.
"Mike is a great, instinctive outfielder who has been able to be a plus defender in center," Gillispie said. "He has great understanding of his role as a leadoff hitter and has been the type of guy that has set the table for the middle of the order."
Higgins is a 6-foot right-handed hitter who is originally from Portland, Ore. and played two years at Shasta College in Redding, Calif. Last year he hit .301 and scored 40 runs in 35 games while stealing 19 bases in 22 attempts. He was a unanimous first-team all-Golden Valley Conference pick as a sophomore after earning second-team honors as a freshman. Higgins earned two letters at Jesuit High and earned the team's defensive MVP award as a senior.
"Devin is a plus runner who is a threat to steal," Gillispie said. "He understands how to hit at the top of the order and set the table. Has surprising power for a guy his size, and he will add depth defensively to the outfield because he can play all three positions."
Moules is a 6-foot-1 right-handed hitter from Larksville, Pa. just outside of Wilkes-Barre. Last year he hit .294 with 35 runs and a team-high 42 RBIs in 51 games for Lackawanna. Moules was also 22-for-23 in stolen base attempts. At Wyoming Valley West High, Moules batted .455 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs in a season and was a two-time conference all star.
"Kris has a blend of speed and power, and he's been very productive in terms of knocking in runs," Gillispie said. "He's able to steal a base, and he's shown a lot of flexibility defensively being able to play all three positions in the outfield as well as first base."
Popio is a 5-foot-8 catcher who was a four-year letter winner and two-time team captain at Boardman High. He was the Federal League Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-Ohio in 2012 and was a four-time all-conference selection. He hit a school-record .537 as a junior and finished his career with a .450 batting average, nine home runs and 125 hits.
"Dan is an extremely competitive player who had a great deal of success for Boardman," Gillispie said. "He will add good depth to our team behind the plate, and he shows some ability to contribute offensively. His bat speed is above average and he is able to drive balls to all parts of the field."
Wellan is a 6-foot catcher from Las Vegas who attended Centennial High School. He batted .440 with seven home runs and posted a .489 fielding percentage. He set school records for walks and RBIs, and he earned the 2012 ABD Coaches Award. Wellan earned a total of four letters at Centennial and Cimarron-Memorial, and he was a member of the 2010 Bobby Valentine All-American Team.
"Jonas is a physical kid who has shown some bat speed in the past and projects to have above-average power from the left side," Gillispie said. "He has above average arm strength, and he's athletic enough to move around to a couple different positions. He'll add depth at catcher and the corner outfield positions."
White is a 6-foot-2 catcher from Eynon, Pa. near Scranton who was a second-team all-region selection last season at Lackawanna College. He batted .297 with 36 runs and 33 RBIs in 53 games while posting a .374 on-base percentage. A four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain at Valley View High, he batted .481 as a junior and .411 with six homers as a senior.
"Josh is a superb receiver with a Major League arm," Gillispie said. "He has been able to shut down the running game at the junior college level, and we hope he brings that same defensive skill here. He's been a run producer in the past with an average around .300."
Wight is a 6-foot-5 left-handed pitcher who was named first-team all-area at La Cerna High School near Los Angeles. He threw a no-hitter as a senior and went 9-2 with a 1.33 ERA. He was the staff ace for a Lancers squad that went 16-11-1 and finished third in the Del Rio League.
"Jared is a left-hander who has shown great pitchibility and command of the strike zone with multiple pitches," Gillispie said. "He's very athletic, and he was a very talented basketball player in high school. He has limited baseball experience because he played multiple sports, but he has a high ceiling. He projects to be a huge contributor this year."