DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke baseball program has signed six high school seniors to National Letters of Intent during the fall signing period as announced by first-year head coach Chris Pollard Wednesday.
The Class of 2017 includes right-handed pitchers Karl Blum (Toms River, N.J.), J.R. Holloway (Austin, Texas) and Bailey Clark (Asheville, N.C.), left-handed pitchers Kevin Lewallyn (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) and James Ziemba (Hillsborough, N.J.) and catcher Cristian Perez (Miami, Fla.). The group will arrive in Durham next fall and take the field for Duke in the spring of 2014.
"We are so proud to have this great group of talented student-athletes join our program," said Pollard. "I truly believe these six young men will be a foundation for the future of Duke baseball. It has been a pleasure getting to know them and their wonderful families over the past five months. J.R., James, Karl, Kevin, Baily and Cristian are going to make memories and relationships that will last a lifetime. We look forward to seeing them on campus next August as we prepare for the 2014 season.
I want to thank our coaching staff - Josh Jordan (recruiting coordinator), Andrew See and Mark Hayes - for their tireless work to bring this great class to fruition. It took a lot of long hours to yield such a talented group in such a compressed recruiting cycle. I firmly believe that the hard work will pay off when we see these guys on the field for practice at Jack Coombs Field next fall."
Karl Blum (RHP l 6-4 l 205 l Toms River, N.J. l Toms River North High School)
Ranked as the 65th best pitching prospect nationally and 231st overall prospect by Perfect Game Crosschecker ... a power RHP with a low 90s fastball ... participated in the prestigious East Coast Pro Showcase and Area Code Games ... coached by Ted Schelmay at Toms River North High School ... plays for Bobby Barth on the Tri-State Arsenal, one of the nation's top travel squads ... also recruited by Maryland, Memphis, Rutgers and Stanford.
Bailey Clark (RHP l 6-4 l 200 l Asheville, N.C. l Asheville Christian Academy)
Ranked by Perfect Game Crosschecker as one of the nation's top 1,000 prospects ... a power RHP with a low 90s fastball ... coached by Billy Shepherd at Asheville Christian Academy ... plays for Andy Partin and Dirtbags Baseball, one of the nation's top travel teams ... also recruited by North Carolina and Clemson.
J.R. Holloway (RHP l 6-4 l 212 l Austin, Texas l Westwood High School)
Ranked the 63rd best pitching prospect in the country and 227th overall prospect by Perfect Game Crosschecker ... a power RHP with a low 90s fastball ... coached by Bart Batcher at Westwood High School ... plays for two of the nation's top travel teams in the Centex Prospects and the Houston Banditos ... also recruited by Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Kevin Lewallyn (LHP l 6-0 l 170 l Stevenson Ranch, Calif. l Chaminade High School)
One of the top left-handed pitching prospects according to Perfect Game Crosschecker ... a crafty lefty with an upper 80s fastball, plus pitchability and an incredibly high baseball IQ ... plays for Frank Mutz at Chaminade High School and Michael Garciaparra with one of the top travel organizations in Yak Baseball ... also recruited by Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Cal Poly.
Cristian Perez (C l 6-4 l 220 l R/R l Miami, Fla. l Christopher Columbus High School)
Ranked by Perfect Game Crosschecker as one of the nation's top 1,000 positional prospects ... an extremely gifted defensive catcher with a strong arm and plus power at the plate ... plays for Joe Weber at Christopher Columbus High School ... participated in the Selective Recruiting baseball coached by Lazaro Llanes ... also recruited by Virginia Tech, Harvard and Boston College.
James Ziemba (LHP l 6-10 l 225 l Hillsborough, N.J. l St. Joseph High School)
One of the nation's top 1,000 prospects according to Perfect Game Crosschecker ... a tall lanky LHP with a fastball that touches 90 mph and an incredibly high ceiling ... also plays basketball ... high school basketball team ranks third in the NJ.com preseason poll ... coached by Steve Buccigano at St. Joseph High School ... plays for the NJ Marlins, one of the country's elite travel teams ... also recruited by Virginia, Boston College, Harvard and Rutgers.