HARRISONBURG, Va., Dec. 2, 2010 - James Madison baseball head coach Spanky McFarland on Thursday announced the signing of five players to national letters of intent to join the Diamond Dukes for the 2012 season. The class includes three current high school seniors and two current junior college sophomores.
"Like every year we're trying to fill needs and try to anticipate who's going to graduate and who might sign pro," commented head coach McFarland. "We feel good about the group coming in and filling some infield needs, some speed needs, some left-handed hitting needs and of course the ever-present pitching needs."
Positionally, the class includes infielders Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) and Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale), a transfer from Jefferson College. Goss is joined by fellow Missouri junior college transfer Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton), an outfielder from Crowder College. High school pitchers Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) round out the class.
Chad Carroll, IF, 5-11, 170, R/R, Oakton, Va./Oakton
Carroll, who McFarland referred to as possibly the most talented high school shortstop he's signed in 14 JMU seasons, competes for Oakton High School and head coach Justin Janis. As a junior, he hit .436 with 25 stolen bases for the Cougars and earned First Team All-District honors. He played his freshman and sophomore seasons with Gonzaga College High School as the starting shortstop, where he received All-League and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Honorable Mention both years. He received an invitation for the East Coast Professional Showcase and was the only junior position player named 2010 ESPN RISE All-Area top shortstop prospect. He was the starting shortstop for the 2010 Virginia Commonwealth North Team and played for the NVTBL Stars, who were 2010 Mid-Atlantic Mid-Summer Classic Champions and 2010 D1 Draftable 18U Champions. Carroll was also a member of the 2010 NVTBL Fall Wood Bat Tournament Champion Prospect Stars. His dad, Carson Carroll, was drafted by the Twins out of UC Irvine and played seven professional seasons for the Twins, Yankees, and Royals.
Aaron Hoover, LHP, 5-11, 180, L/L, Centreville, Va./Westfield
Hoover plays scholastically for Chuck Welch and the Westfield Bulldogs in Northern Virginia. As a junior in 2010, he hit .350 with 10 doubles and 15 RBIs while compiling a 6-3 record on the mound with a 2.10 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 46 innings. He has been named twice each as First Team All-District, Second Team All-Region and named to the Virginia Commonwealth team. As a sophomore, he set the school record for lowest season ERA at 0.90 in 46 2/3 innings, which included a perfect game in the Concord District playoffs. Like Carroll, Hoover also plays for the NVTBL Stars in the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League.
Chris Huffman, RHP, 6-2, 190, R/R, Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance
Possessing a fastball that reaches into the low 90s, Huffman plays locally for head coach Vic Spotts and Fort Defiance High School. The Indians have won three straight Southern Valley District championships and captured the 2010 Region III title en route to a state semifinal appearance. As a junior, he batted .479 with 33 RBIs and went 7-1 on the mound with an ERA of 2.55. He was named to the Southern Valley District First Team and was an All-Region III shortstop and pitcher. He possesses a career scholastic record of 9-1 with a 2.09 ERA. Huffman was a member of the Carolina Cubs and played at the 17-U World Wood Bat Tournament and won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. He also lettered in basketball and football at Fort Defiance.
Casey Goss, IF, 5-10, 175, L/R, Springfield, Mo./Glendale/Jefferson College (Mo.)
Transfer Casey Goss will join the Dukes for his junior season. As a freshman at Jefferson College, Goss played second base and shortstop, hitting .374 with one home run, 38 runs scored, 32 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases. He was particularly strong down the stretch, ending on a run of 18-for-31 (.581) to climb from sixth to second in the batting order. The Vikings went 40-16 overall and 21-1 in the Missouri Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC).
Colby Roberts, OF, 5-10, 185, L/L, Benton, Ark./Benton/Crowder College
Like Goss, Roberts will also join the Dukes as a junior after competing for Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri. As a freshman, he hit .319 (69-for-216) with 15 doubles, 37 RBIs, and a school-record 91 runs scored while ranking sixth nationally with 41 steals. The Roughriders made their first Junior College World Series appearance, finishing fifth in the nation. Roberts played scholastically for head coach Mark Ballisterri and Benton High School. He helped lead the Panthers to the school's first state championship with a 28-2 overall record while earning State Championship MVP.
JMU went 30-23 in 2010 and finished first in the Colonial Athletic Association with an 18-6 league record. The Dukes return four starting pitchers and five positional starters as they try to defend their regular-season title in their second season in brand-new Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.