Rebels Sign 11 During Fall Period|
Nov. 15, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV baseball program has received signed national letters of intent from 11 student-athletes -- Troy Balko, James Gamble, Jacob Godman, Chase Hanson, Ryan McDonald, Jake McLean, Isaiah Montoya, Duke Pahukoa, Austin Pfeifer, Ty Pohlmann and Edarian Williams -- who will enroll at the University and be eligible to play for the Rebels beginning in the fall of 2018, head coach Stan Stolte announced Wednesday.
"This is arguably one of the better recruiting classes on the West Coast," noted Stolte. "All the time Higgy (Kevin Higgins) and Pat (Armstrong) put in evaluating has paid off. This is the first class in two years who we've been able to recruit the right way from start to finish now that the program is on stable ground and heading in the right direction. There is no doubt that these kids will be competing for championships real soon. We are really thinking long term by signing 10 high school players and just one junior college student-athlete. The five pitchers we have committed along with the three good freshman arms we currently have will stabilize our pitching staff for years to come, which is an area who obviously needed rebuilt the right way. We have some position players who are ready to contribute immediately. We have six local kids on board, and that's a must if we are ever going to be consistently successful at a national level. We had a plan going into this, stuck to it through some very tough times, and we couldn't be happier where we are at and where we are heading."
Godman (West Career & Technical Academy/Palo Verde High School), McLean (Coronado HS), Pahukoa (Durango HS), Pfeifer (Arbor View HS) and Williams (Rancho HS) are all local products, while JC transfer Ryan McDonald was born in Las Vegas; however, he attended high school in South Carolina before making his way to the College of Southern Nevada by way of West Virginia University.
Balko, Gamble, Montoya and Pohlmann are all natives of Arizona, and Hanson is from the Golden State.
Breaking down the signees even further, Stolte's signing class is comprised of five pitchers, three outfielders, two infielders and one catcher.
Balko is a 6'3", right-handed pitcher from Peoria, Arizona, who attends Sunrise Mountain HS. He helped the Mustangs to two straight quarterfinal appearances in the state playoffs during his sophomore and junior seasons. Additionally, the Mustangs knocked off the No. 1 team in the country at a tournament in California. Last year, he earned Peoria Unified School All-District First Team honors and was tabbed to the Arizona Interscholastic Association's 4A West Valley Second Team. He plays club baseball for the Arizona Athletics.
Stolte on Balko: Troy exploded late on to the scene. He will be a weekend starter for us, eventually, as he keeps progressing; he looks the part with a live arm and has 3 pitches already that he can command.
Why Balko chose UNLV: I chose UNLV because they made it feel like home. I saw myself growing and developing as a pitcher and as a young man to pursue my goal in playing professional baseball.
Gamble is a 6'0" outfielder from Phoenix who attends Greenway HS. He has helped the Demons to a total of 40 wins the past two seasons, including 23 in their run to a 2016 state title. During his junior campaign, he led the state in home runs, batting average, on-base and slugging percentages and, in doing so, garnered AIA 4A Player of the Year recognition and was an all-state first team performer. He also plays club baseball for the Arizona Athletics.
Stolte on Gamble: James has some unteachable tools that could make him an elite player some day. He has a great opportunity to make an impact right away. He's a plus-runner with some pop in his bat.
Why Gamble Chose UNLV: I chose UNLV because just from being there on a visit already felt like home and feel I am going to be apart of something extraordinary.
Godman is a 6'2" catcher who helped Palo Verde to a division championship and an eighth-place finish at the state tournament in 2017 behind a 22-win season. This year, he has earned all-tournament team honors at Perfect Game's West MLK Championship and the 17U Perfect Game World Series. Most recently, he played club baseball for the Ohio Warhawks, which finished third at the PG World Series, and locally for the Las Vegas Raiders.
Stolte on Jacob: Jacob is a big, strong kid that will push for playing time right away. He's a very solid catcher that handles a pitcher very well. Eventually, he will be an offensive threat with some pop. He loves the game.
Why Godman chose UNLV: I chose UNLV because I felt home right when I stepped foot on campus and loved the new facilities and change that was being put into the program. This would have not been possible without all of the coaches doing this for me. I also love that I will be able to play in front of friends and family and know that I will be able to make a difference in my hometown.
Hanson is a 6'4" outfielder from Huntington Beach, California, who attends Edison HS. He has lettered three years for the Chargers baseball team and played in tournaments for the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays scout ball teams. He was named to the all-tournament team while playing for the CBA Bulldogs American and CBA Cavs at the 2016 PG/Evoshield National Championship and the 2017 17U PG Summer Showdown Protected by G-Form, respectively. He also garnered 2017 Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American Team Honorable Mention accolades.
Stolte on Hanson: Chase is going to be a middle of the order bat very soon. He has a great swing and plays a good enough outfield, who will be a pro prospect by the time he is finished at UNLV.
Why Hanson chose UNLV: I chose UNLV over other colleges because the coaches and staff welcomed my family and I into their community with open arm and offered me the best opportunity to get a great education and represent one of the greatest cities in the nation.
McDonald is a 6'7" right-handed pitcher who transferred to CSN after beginning his career at WVU (2016-17). Last season, he helped the Mountaineers a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 and a No. 2 seed at the Winston-Salem Regional in the NCAA Tournament along with 36 wins. He made 14 appearances and threw 22.1 innings with 14 strikeouts and a 1-2 overall record. At West Ashley High School in Charleston, South Carolina, he lettered three years with the Wildcats baseball team, which finished second in the region during his junior and senior seasons. Individually, he was named to all-region twice and claimed the team's best hitter award twice as well as the team's best pitcher award once. He was a three-time Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American Team honoree and a 2016 PG All-Atlantic Region First Team selection. He played club baseball for the Evoshield Canes.
Stolte on McDonald: Ryan is the only JC player we signed. He could pitch Fridays for a lot of schools in the country right now. He has a great make up to go with a mid-90's fastball. He will have an opportunity to sign professionally this summer, but we're hoping to get him for a year, improve his stock with Greg (Maddux), go deep into the postseason and get him one year closer to his degree before he moves on.
Why McDonald chose UNLV: I chose UNLV over the other teams that recruited me because I have full faith and trust in the coaching staff to help me as a pitcher and as an individual. I want to do my part to get UNLV back to the regionals and bring a championship back to Las Vegas.
McLean is a 6'1" outfielder who helped Coronado to a pair of runner-up finishes in the 2015 and 2017 region tournaments. During his junior season, he earned second team all-state recognition and first team all-league status, while he was the Cougars' team MVP. He was tabbed in both 2016 and 2017 to Perfect Game's Preseason Underclassmen All-American Team. He claimed all-tournament team honors at seven tournaments, including the 2015 15U PG World Series (Phenom Signature) and the 2016 WWBA Underclassmen World Championship and 2017 WWBA World Championship.
Stolte on McLean: Jake has all the tools and will compete for playing time immediately. He is a well-rounded athlete, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions.
Why McLean chose UNLV: I chose to play at UNLV because I had a great relationship with the coaches and there is nothing better than being able to represent for my hometown.
Montoya is a 6'1" left-handed pitcher from Peoria, Arizona, who attends Liberty HS. He has lettered three years for the Lions baseball team. The squad has won 55 games, thus far, in his three-years at Liberty, and he has helped them to a 2015 conference title en route to a runner-up finish at the state tournament. Last year's squad recorded a school-record 22 wins. Individually, he has been named to the all-region and all-district first teams and all-state second team. This year, he played club baseball for Arizona at the Junior Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma and for the Diamondbacks scout team. He has participated in numerous tournaments, including the 2017 Perfect Game Fall National Championship (Upperclassmen) Protected By G-Form and the 2015 and 2016 PG/Evoshield National Championships.
Stolte on Montoya: Isaiah is a solid strike throwing left-hander that can pitch at 84-85. As he gets older and stronger he could turn into a potential pro, He does everything right and is a proven winner.
Why Montoya chose UNLV: I chose UNLV because of the location - not too far of a drive from home, great facilities, I loved the kind of drills and arm care they do for pitchers, great coaching staff who I feel can give me a chance to get drafted, and a winning tradition as a team.
Pahukoa is a 6'1" infielder who has lettered three years in baseball and one in cross country at Durango HS. As a Trailblazer he has hit .435 with 117 hits, 65 runs and 54 RBI, which has helped him to all-state first team and All-Sunset Region First and Second Team honors. He has also been selected a USSSA All-American and participated with the USA Developmental Team. This year, he has played club baseball with the Utah Marshalls and the Cardinals and Dodgers scout teams. He was also high honorable mention on the 2017 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American Team.
Stolte on Pahukoa: We are really fortunate to keep Duke in town. He has plus power, runs OK, and can play multiple positions. He will be a very good player at UNLV real soon.
Why Pahukoa chose UNLV: I chose UNLV on the simple fact that we're going be a great team in the next couple of years and why not play with some of the top athletes in Vegas, and make a run at a championship at the same time doing it with some of my closest friends and teammates.
Pfeifer is a 6'3" right-handed pitcher who has lettered two years at Arbor View HS. As an Aggie, he has helped the team to the playoffs the past two seasons, while being named the team's pitcher of the year. He played club baseball with the Ohio Warhawks and was selected 2017 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention.
Stolte on Pfeifer: Austin is still developing on the mound. He has been a two-way player all of his life and could be at this level, but we think pitching will be his future.
Why Pfeifer chose UNLV: I chose to go to UNLV because I love the coaching staff and the location of the school. It was always a dream to play Division I baseball and to do it in my hometown is even better. Plus, my parents could watch and support all my home games.
Pohlmann is a 6'4" right-handed pitcher who attends Perry HS in Gilbert, Arizona. In his two years as a Puma, he has helped the team to a 42-23 overall record. As a junior, he was named Perry's Pitcher and Male Athlete of the Year as well as a second-team selection to the All-CUSD and all-region teams. This summer he represented Arizona at the Junior Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma.
Stolte on Pohlmann: Ty is a big, strong, physical kid that throws a bowling ball for a fastball. He will make an immediate impact and pitch right away. He is also great student.
Why Pohlmann chose UNLV: It was awesome to hear how excited the coaches were about the future of the program and how I could tribute. I also loved the campus and programs that UNLV offers and how that fits into my academic future.
Williams is a 6'1" infielder who has lettered three years for the Rancho Rams baseball team. He helped the squad to a third-place finish at the 2017 state tournament after playoff runs in 2015 (quarterfinals) and 2016 (first round). Last year, he was named to the all-conference second team and was also all-state honorable mention after he hit .414 with 24 RBI and two home runs. He played club baseball for the SY Titans, and participated at the 2016 Sophomore Perfect Game Series Classic.
Stolte on Edarian: Edarian can play multiple positions, but we signed him because he can hit. If he is not starting, he will add depth to numerous positions, but his hitting potential is going to be hard to keep him out of the lineup.
Why Williams chose UNLV: The reasons I chose UNLV over other schools was that they had a good program for what I want to do school wise, and a great baseball program and coaching staff. Plus, it's in the city I grew up and live in.