Baseball inks seven during early signing period
Associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Montez
Associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Montez
The JU baseball team announced the signing of seven student-athletes during the 2009-10 signing period, including nationally ranked shortstop Taylor Ratliff (Perry, Fla.) and local products Zack Houck (LHP/OF, Eagles View Academy) and Tony Mollica (LHP, Mandarin).

Along with Ratliff and the local products, C Patrick Long (McDonough, Ga.), RHP Chris Anderson (Lino Lakes, Minn.), LHP Will Flor (Bloomington, Minn.) and RHP Adam Maxon (Oviedo, Fla.) will make up the 2009-10 signing class for the Dolphins.

A two-headed monster, associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Montez and regional recruiter Todd Claus combined for their second collaborative effort in the recruiting process.

“This is a tremendous recruiting class for us,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “Due to the success of our program over the last couple of seasons, we have been able to build momentum going into our recruiting and this year’s class is another example of seeing the fruits of our labor. The quality of student-athlete were are able to bring in, both on the field and off, will immediately pay dividends for us when they step on campus and allow us to take this program to the next level.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Coach Montez for his hard work and tireless effort in assembling this class, as well as, the work put in by Coach Claus. With the quality, experience and professionalism we have established with our coaching staff, we can continue to take JU recruiting to the next level with each season.”

Ratliff (6-3, 185), currently a senior shortstop at Taylor County High School in Perry, Fla., is rated 9.5 out of 10 by and is a potential top 10 round draft pick. He was also recruited by Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Michigan and Harvard. As a junior, he batted .435 with six doubles, three triples and 15 stolen bases before hitting .650 with 10 doubles, four triples and 20 stolen bases in 65 appearances with Perfect Game over the summer. Rawlings National Team “Honorable Mention”, all-Florida Team by Prospect Wire Scouting Network and 2010 Pre-Season Under Armour All-America.

“Taylor is a sleek fielding shortstop that can really run,” said Montez. “He hits from the left side and has gap power to all fields. We see Taylor stepping right in and competing for a starting job as a freshman. He is the best shortstop that I have seen since having Michael Young (Texas Rangers) with me at UC Santa Barbara. He will be a possible MLB Draft pick next June.”

Houck (6-1, 175), currently senior LHP/OF at Eagles View Academy, earned second team all-state, first team all-city and Rawlings Honorable Mention All-America honors as a junior after batting .430 with 25 stolen bases and 43 runs while going 9-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 60 innings. As a sophomore, he helped the Warriors to a state championship after batting .400 with 16 stolen bases, 30 runs and 21 RBI while going 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings.

“Zac has tremendous speed and can really cover some ground in center field,” Montez said. “He hits from the left side and should set some stolen base records during his JU career. He will also help us out on the mound in a relief role. His fastball is in the 83-86 range and he has a pretty decent feel for all of his pitches.”

Mollica (6-1, 190) is currently a senior LHP at Mandarin High School.

“Tony might be the most polished pitcher in the area,” Montez said. “He throws three pitches for strikes and commands both sides of the plate. His fastball is in the 84-87 range and has a plus upside. He will also be a possible MLB Draft pick next June.”

Anderson (6-4, 215) is currently a senior RHP at Centennial High School in Lino Lakes, Minn.

“Chris is a hard throwing RHP with a fastball in the 89-92 MPH range,” Montez said. He has a chance to be a front line starter in the very near future. He also can swing the bat with gap power and was an all-state quarterback.”

Flor (6-3, 175), currently a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School, is a three-year starter for the Jaguars and helped the squad to the state finals as a sophomore. As a junior, he finished with a 3.89 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings.

“Will is a crafty LHP that throws from a deceptive low 3/4 arm slot,” said Montez. “He has a fastball in the 83-86 range and possesses a plus curve ball. He should come in and help us out of the bullpen and develop into a weekend starter down the road.”

Long (6-1, 190) is currently a senior catcher at Eagles Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga.

“Coach Claus really likes Patrick's presence behind the plate and the way he handles a pitching staff,” Montez said. “He also has tremendous power from the right side. He will step in right away and compete for significant playing time.”

Maxon (6-0, 180), currently a senior RHP at Oviedo High School in Oviedo, Fla., earned all-conference honors as a junior after batting .317 with 14 RBI while finishing 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 19 innings. During summer ball with Mizuno, he finished 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and 25 strikeouts.

“Adam is a strike thrower with command of three pitches,” said Montez. “His fastball is in the 85-87 range and commands both sides of the plate. He will give us immediate help out of the bullpen with a chance to develop into a mid-week starter.”