Baseball's newest recruitsshow promise on fieldNov. 18, 1999
Baylor team still has
'strong nucleus' of returning members
By TRAVIS THOLEN
Last year the Baylor baseball team finished No. 8 in the country and had the distinction of being one of eight teams to host the first- ever Super Regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament. With the top three players graduating and collegiate Player-of-the-Year Jason Jennings leaving for the major league draft to the Colorado Rockies, the Bears have a few positions to fill.
Manager Steve Smith does have a strong nucleus, returning three of the four starting pitchers and six of the nine position players.
Smith said Baylor is in better shape than most Big 12 Conference schools with the stature of the team. Schools like Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University lost several key players to the major league draft. But the future is strong for Smith, as he added four recruits Wednesday.
Sam Hayes is a first baseman who also pitches. His build and expectations resemble those of Jennings. Hayes is currently a senior at Waco High School and was a District 8-5A All-District selection. He hit .360 with six home runs and 29 runs batted in. He struck out 52 batters in 42 innings pitched with a 4.63 earned run average.
'It is very pleasing and rewarding when a person close to you decides it is an exciting thing for him to stay right here,' Smith said about Hayes.
Michael Heldoorn is an outfielder from Carroll High School and is perceived as a purely physical offensive weapon. Heldoorn earned All-District 11-4A last spring with a .391 average and bettered that to .460 during summer play in the Arlington A's league.
Trey Webb is an infielder from Mansfield High School. Smith said he has had an eye on Webb for nearly two years. He was named to the District 7-5A All-District team as a shortstop while only committing two errors and batting .375.
'He could go out there and play shortstop for us today and we wouldn't miss a beat,' Smith said.
The last recruit, David Murphy, is a two-time All-District player for Klein High School.
Smith said Murphy went on his own to choose Baylor.
'There is a bunch of upside to him offensively, the top offensive player in the state,' Smith said. 'We had to battle a lot of people for him, and he also could be a pitcher.'