Wake Forest Inks Nine Baseball Signees

Dec. 1, 1999

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Nine high school baseball players have signed a national letter of intent during the early signing period to play at Wake Forest, head coach George Greer announced today. All nine players will enroll at Wake Forest in the fall of 1999.

The Demon Deacon signees are outfielder Rocco Baldelli (Cumberland, RI / Bishop Hendricken HS), infielder Jamie D'Antona (Trumbell / Trumbell HS), catcher Josh Hansen (Huntington Beach, CA / Mater Dei HS), pitcher Dan Mackey (Rochester, NY / McQuaid Jesuit HS), catcher Ryder Mathias (Lewisburg, PA / Lewisburg Area HS), pitcher-first baseman Chris Narveson (Arden, NC / Roberson HS), first baseman-outfielder Doug Riepe (Danbury, CT / Immaculate HS), pitcher Greg Russell (Glendale, CA / Hoover HS), and pitcher Kyle Sleeth (Westminster, CO / Northglenn HS).

"We are very pleased with this group of players," said Greer. "Since we anticipate losing a number of outstanding juniors and seniors next spring, we needed to sign a large and quality recruiting class. They will certainly help build upon the success of our back-to-back ACC Championships and our top-10 national ranking, and they will certainly maintain the high level of play that we expect at Wake Forest. "

Greer and assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Bobby Moranda addressed the team's most pressing needs by signing four pitchers and two catchers.

"We met a number of our specific needs," said Greer. "The entire class brings together a nice mix of players who all have tremendous upside potential. Coach Moranda has once again put together another outstanding recruiting class and firmed his reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation. There's no doubt that this is the deepest and most talented class that we have assembled at Wake Forest.

"A number of these players will likely be drafted in the top 10 rounds of the upcoming 2000 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft," Greer continues. "However, they all have very impressive academic credentials and are excited about the opportunity to work towards earning their degree at Wake Forest while also playing baseball in one of the top conferences in America."

* Rocco Baldelli, rated the 46th best high school player in the nation by Baseball America, was a 1st-team All-State performer and a USA Today honorable mention All-America honoree last spring. A right-handed hitter, Baldelli batted just under .500 as a junior with 19 stolen bases and was named the MVP of the Rhode Island State Championship.

* Jamie D'Antona, a power hitting third baseman, hit .623 with seven home runs and 35 RBI as a junior last spring at Trumbell High School. D'Antona was named a honorable mention All-America by USA Today, and was named the MVP of the USSSA World Series Tournament in Cocoa Beach, Fla., this past summer.

* Josh Hansen comes to Wake Forest from an outstanding prep program at Mater Dai High School, the same school of former Demon Deacon outfielder Scott Daeley. Hansen, a right-handed catcher, hit .438 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 28 games last spring as a junior and was invited to the Team One National Showcase this past summer. Hansen has family ties to Wake Forest, as his grandfather was a former football player for the Deacons in the 1940's.

* Dan Mackey, a 6'5 right-handed pitcher, posted a 4-0 record and a 0.60 ERA as a junior last spring. A three-sport standout at McQuaid Jesuit High School in baseball, basketball and football, Mackey participated in the Team One Showcase last summer.

* Ryder Mathias, a right-handed catcher, hit .458 with nine home runs and 31 RBI as a junior last spring. Mathias was an all-region and all-state performer at Lewisburg Area High School while also earning all-conference honors as a defensive back in football.

* Chris Narveson, a two-way player who excels both on the mound and at the plate, dominated high school hitters last spring at Roberson High School when he posted a 1.19 ERA and recorded 110 strikeouts in 64 innings of work. Narveson, who also batted .407, was named the Asheville Citizen-Times Player of the Year in 1999.

* Doug Riepe, the younger brother of former Wake Forest catcher Andrew Riepe who is now in the Red Sox organization, hit .478 as a junior and .448 as a sophomore. The captain of the baseball, football and basketball teams at Immaculate High School, Riepe is a power-hitting first baseman/outfielder who was named to the all-league, all-area and all-state teams.

* Greg Russell, a 6'7 right-handed pitcher, averaged over two strikeouts per inning pitched as a junior at Hoover High School. Russell, who participated in the Area Code Games last summer in Long Beach, pitched and won two games at the 1998 Junior Olympics in Tucson, Ariz.

* Kyle Sleeth, a two-sport standout in both football and baseball, was an all-state punter on the football team while also earning all-conference honors in baseball. A 6'5 right-handed pitcher, Sleeth was named the Region Pitcher of the Year as a junior last spring at Northglenn High.

2000 Wake Forest Baseball Signees

Name             Pos   B/T  Ht   Wt   Hometown / High School
Rocco Baldelli   OF    R/R  6-4  180  Cumberland, RI / Bishop Hendricken
Jamie D'Antona   INF   R/R  6-2  200  Trumbell, CT / Trumbell
Josh Hansen       C    R/R  5-11 205  Huntington Beach, CA / Mater Dei
Dan Mackey        P    R/R  6-5  190  Rochester, NY / McQuaid Jesuit
Ryder Mathias     C    R/R  6-0  190  Lewisburg, PA / Lewisburg Area
Chris Narveson   P-1B  L/L  6-3  185  Arden, NC / Roberson
Doug Riepe      1B-OF  R/R  6-2  205  Danbury, CT / Immaculate
Greg Russell      P    R/R  6-7  225  Glendale, CA / Hoover
Kyle Sleeth       P    R/R  6-5  185  Westminster, CO / Northglenn