Story courtesy: University of St. Thomas Athletics
The University of St. Thomas Baseball team added 18 new members for the 2021 season. This includes 13 incoming freshman and 5 transfers. Head Coach Clayton VanderLaan and Assistant Coach Tyler Bremer introduce this recruiting class to a seasoned team that only graduated one senior last season.
John Sebok, an outfielder from highly respected Division I Junior College, Alvin Community College, looks to bring experience to the program. “He is a guy who not only plays a solid outfield but has a fantastic approach at the plate and knows how to get on base and create havoc,” said VanderLaan
Nick Petro, another Junior College transfer, comes from an extremely talented San Diego City College program. “He’s an elite arm on the mound and also provides us a big left-handed bat, he’s just a pure baseball guy,” says VanderLaan.
Eric Moore, originally from St. Thomas High School here in Houston, is transferring to play for the Celts from Catholic University in Washington D.C. During his time there he led the team in appearances twice and finished with an E.R.A of 2.91. Eric also played for the French National Team.
University of Houston-Victoria transfer, Josh Taylor looks to add experience to the ball club both on the bump and behind the plate. “He is new to pitching but we are extremely excited with what we have already seen from his growth and potential there. He’s a great young man, a mature young man and will be a tremendous teammate.”
Wrapping up the transfers is El Paso Community College transfer, Erik Garza who has a chance to make an immediate impact in the lineup. “The ball absolutely flies off of his bat and I think he’s going to drive in a ton of runs for us. He was one of our last additions to this class and boy are we glad we found him” VanderLaan exclaimed.
Parker Edwards and Ryan Ivey from Cypress Creek High School look to be a Pitcher/Catcher combo that will help the Celts tremendously. Edwards “was a big-time commit who is a big athletic kid, powerful bat and one the most polished catcher’s I’ve seen coming out of the high school level in a long time. He has the potential to be a mainstay in our lineup for years to come.” VanderLaan said. Ivey “loves to compete and has a good plan on the mound before ever coming into our program and his above average breaking ball also will get hitters out. At 6’8” and athletic his upside and potential on the mound are huge! I think we absolutely stole one with Ryan“
Kyle Buzbee and Sebastian Lugo both come from Bellaire High School and offer an abundance of potential for the Celts. Buzbee, the RHP, “has an electric arm” says VanderLaan “Kyle is an upper 80’s mph arm that will be at that 90+ mark in no time. His biggest separating factor is the elite breaking ball that he spins. All throughout the recruiting process and summer, we saw hitters look awful against that pitch. He’s going to be a kid that ends up with a lot of innings before he graduates.” Lugo also possesses solid potential, “Sebastian has the potential to grow into a solid ballplayer and catcher…He’s strong, athletic and works his tail off. You always love kids like this because you just know they’ve only scratched their baseball potential.”
Another incoming freshman looking to add depth into the bullpen is Chris Sanchez. The right-handed pitcher had the coaching staff sold on his breaking ball. “That’s a pitch that plays at the collegiate level right away. When you can throw tons of strikes and pound the zone with that sort of breaking ball, you’re going to have a lot of success. He’s a kid that goes about his business the right way and we are very excited to watch him grow and help this program win.” Assistant Coach Tyler Bremer said.
San Antonio native, Mason Martin will add a spark to the UST Baseball program. The coaching staff describes Martin as a great athlete and an extremely intelligent ballplayer. Mason has the potential to turn into something really special and his extremely hard work ethic will send him there sooner than later.
Austin McKinney, a right-handed pitcher, will add power to the bullpen and look to make waves immediately. “Austin is a power arm, pure and simple. We have seen the fastball run all the way up to 94 mph and he can flat out pitch. As a 6’3″, 205lb freshman it’s really scary to think of how good he will be and the things he will accomplish before his time in a Celt uniform is done” says VanderLaan
Nevan Newcomb, from Woodlands Christian High School, will push for a spot in the infield. Newcomb is extremely athletic and comes from a great baseball background. The sure-handed infielder will help the Celts in a lot of different aspects.
Right-handed pitcher, Luke Sebesta will make an immediate impact this upcoming season. The coaching staff is impressed with what they have seen thus far from Sebesta. “When you think about a complete pitcher who knows how to compete and get outs you think of Luke, he just gets it. All summer we saw him pound the zone to both sides of the plate with a mid-80’s fastball, displaying an understanding of reading hitters and at-bats and when to throw what pitch.”
Houston, Texas native Trey Escobedo shows potential in both fielding and batting. The coaching staff looks forward to seeing his career unfold at UST and is excited to use his ability to swing the bat.
Kameron Craig, the RHP from West Columbia, Texas wowed the coaching staff with his work ethic and dedication to baseball. “He has a powerful arm and as he grows and develops into what we know he can be, he’s going to be really scary to opposing hitters,” VanderLaan said.
Walker Swenson was an early addition to this recruiting class from Klein Oak High School. The right-handed pitcher who has a projectable body and arm has an immense amount of potential and Head Coach Clayton VanderLaan is excited to see his growth under Assistant Coach Tyler Bremer.
Another freshman pitcher looking to make an impact, Zach Brewer. The 6’3″ RHP sits around the low 90’s and a lot of control. “He is a competitor and the type of guy who we envision being a staple of this pitching staff over the course of the next four years,” VanderLaan said.
The coaching staff is extremely high on the incoming class. Bremer, who was in his first year as recruiting coordinator, “really exceeded expectations” VanderLaan said. The skipper for the Celts believes this recruiting class has “some immediate impact players that have all-conference potential with just a little experience and growth and guys that might get some serious attention in the draft in a few years.” Most importantly the new additions to the team “represent the type of culture and team identity” the UST Baseball wants to be known for, VanderLaan said.