Three baseball student-athletes have each signed a National Letter of Intent to continue their academic and baseball futures at Youngstown State University, YSU head coach Dan Bertolini announced on Friday.
The class includes Chase Franken (Salem, Ohio), Nick Perez (Bayside, N.Y) and Will Shaffer (New Castle, Pa.). Perez and Shaffer are each right-handed pitchers while Franken is an infielder and outfielder.
Bertolini on Signing Class: "We are extremely excited to add these three young men and their families to our program. As a staff we knew this year was going to be a smaller class than we have had in the past so we were able to really be selective and identify our biggest needs and dive deep into making sure we are getting the right people to represent Youngstown State. Recruiting Coordinator Eric Smith, Shane Davis and Eric Bunnell did a fantastic job identifying and evaluating these student athletes to help make this process easy. We are always looking for athletic, competitive players that excel in the classroom as well. Nick, Chase and Will are shining examples of what we are looking for and we look forward to getting the opportunity to work with these fine young men."
Information on each of the student-athletes who committed during the early signing period is below:
IF/OF | 5'9 | 160 | Salem, Ohio | Columbiana High School
Highlights: Three-time all-conference honoree… Three-time All-Northeast Inland District selection… Honorable Mention All-Ohio pick in 2019… Owns Columbiana career records for runs scored, doubles and triples… Also owns the school record for triples in a season... Batted .443 with two home runs, 12 doubles, six triples, 21 steals and 21 RBIs to go with a .531 on-base percentage and .823 slugging percentage in 2019.… Also led his team in wins (6), ERA (0.74) and strikeouts (75) in 11 games and nine starts on the mound… Coached by Ryan Wolf at Columbiana… Played travel ball for the Astro Falcons under coach Don Pletcher… Also a standout football player for the Clippers… Two-time all-conference honoree… Two-time All-Northeast Inland District selection… Two-time Quad-County Football Coaches Association All-Star… Two-time All-Columbiana County selection… Owns school records for career and single-game receiving yards as well as career receiving touchdowns… Intends to study communications at YSU… Parents are Mark and Melody.
Franken on choosing YSU: "I chose YSU so I can represent where my family and I come from while also having the opportunity to succeed against a high level of competition."
RHP | 5'11 | 155 | Bayside, N.Y. | St. Francis Prep
Highlights: Three-year letter winner in baseball… Two-time team captain… Named to The Tablet's High School Baseball All-Star Team in 2017, 2018 and 2019… Finished with a 3-1 record, two shutouts, three saves and a 0.84 ERA as a freshman in 2017… Posted a 4-3 record, 42 strikeouts and a 2.01 ERA in 2018… Also hit .305 with four doubles, 14 RBIs and 15 runs scored... Batted .439 with eight doubles, 17 runs scored and 18 RBIs in 2019… Recipient of the Vincent Augusta Memorial Award and the Daniel F. Pujdak Memorial Award… Coached by Brother Robert Kent, Greg Modica, and Rob McDermott at St. Francis Prep… Played travel ball for the Midville Dodgers under coach Greg Modica... Intends to major in engineering at YSU… Parents are Steven and Stacey.
Perez on choosing YSU: "I chose YSU because when I came to visit, I felt at home. Everyone was so nice and welcoming that it was easy to see myself there for four years. I would like to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates that have helped me along this journey. Without them, none of this would have been possible. To all of the coaches that I've had, thank you. You guys pushed me day in and day out not only to be a better player, but to also be a better leader. And to my family, friends, and teammates, thank you. You guys have kept me on the straight and narrow and have always looked out for me whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally, and that is something I will always be grateful for."
RHP | 6'3 | 215 | New Castle, Pa. | Laurel High School
Highlights: Has earned 12 varsity letters in four sports (football, baseball, basketball, track & field)… Five-time all-conference selection (2 - football, 1 - baseball, 1 - basketball)… Named to the 2019 WPIAL Class 2A All-Section Baseball Team… Lawrence County Athlete of the Year nominee… Captain on the football team… Owns school records for most receptions in a game and most doubles in a season… Named 2018 Track & Field Team MVP… Played baseball for coach Gene DiGennaro at Laurel… Played travel ball for DuraEdge and coach Terry Dobson in the Youngstown Class B League… Plans to study exercise science at YSU… Parents are Steve and Ronda.
Shaffer on choosing YSU: "I chose YSU because of the great facilities, coaches, current players and the quality education the school offers. It is a perfect fit for me. I would to thank my parents, my sister and family for their support throughout my career and the recruiting process. A special thank you to my past and present coaches and teammates for the great experiences and the foundation that I will continue to build on. Lastly, I want to thank my school and community. It is and has been an honor being a Laurel Spartan, and now I look forward to being a Youngstown State Penguin. Go Guins!"