Troy horsehide signs 9

TROY, Ala. (troytrojans.com) – The Troy baseball program added nine players that signed with the Trojans in the early signing period, head coach Mark Smartt announced on Thursday.

The signing class includes five high school seniors and four junior college players who all come from the state of Alabama.

“Recruiting is an exhaustive process but ultimately will dictate our success,” Mark Smartt said. “Winning begins behind the fence evaluating players and targeting the players that fit our system. Relationships must be developed and the player must believe that Troy is best for his future. Both Coach Gierke and Coach Phillips deserve credit for signing these talented players.”

Dylan Crutcher, OF, R/R, Mobile, Ala. (Alabama Southern CC)
At Alabama Southern, Crutcher hit .304, scored 31 runs, amassed 45 hits and six home runs while driving in 30 runs … At Baker High School he was named first team all-state … Received Bay Bears Classic Silver Slugger Award in 2015.

Mark Smartt on Dylan Crutcher: “Dylan is someone we’ve been following throughout his high school and junior college career. His ability to change the game with his bat is something that stood out for us. Dylan is a versatile player that can play multiple positions at a high level. His size and athletic ability separate him from most his age.”

Manning Early, IF/OF, L/R, Gardendale, Ala. (Gardendale HS)

Led Gardendale to the 6A State Playoffs each of the last two seasons … Batted .352 and .340 his junior and sophomore season … As a junior led he led the team with 39 runs, 45 hits, seven triples, 69 total bases and stole 19 … Participated in the 2016 Alabama North-South All-Star Week and was named MVP of the North team … Represented Alabama in the Southeastern Underclassman Shootout.

Mark Smartt on Manning Early: “Manning was an early summer commitment and someone we felt we could build around for the future. He has developed into a quality all-around player that can impact the game offensively and defensively. His defensive ability and athleticism as an infielder and outfielder will transition well to the college game.  The accolades he has earned over the years speak to his success on the field and everything suggests that he will have success at Troy.”

Mackenzie Hicks, IF/RHP, R/R, Skipperville, Ala. (G.W. Long HS)

Named first team all-state as a senior and second team all-state as a senior … Named to the Alabama Super 12 as a senior … Made an appearance in the Alabama High School All-Star Game … Hit .408 at G.W. Long High School … One the mound, he struck out 77 batters and recorded a 5-3 record … Had a 2.08 ERA … Named 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention

Mark Smartt on Mackenzie Hicks: “We have seen Mackenzie grow up as a player in our area for the last three years. What stands out most is his versatility. He will impact our program in several different ways. His energy and passion for the game will make a difference during his career at Troy.”

Rush Hixon, RHP, R/R, Troy, Ala. (Central Alabama CC)

As a senior at Pike Liberal Arts, Hixon hit .414 with 25 RBIs … He stole 17 bases … On the mound, he went 4-2 with 48 strikeouts and a 1.27 ERA … Selected to the AISA All Star selection his junior and senior season … Helped lead Pike Liberal Arts to state runners-up his junior year

Mark Smartt on Rush Hixon: “What caught our eye was his athletic ability and loose arm that helps him spin the ball better than most at this level. We believe he’s got a bright future as a pitcher because of his overall skill level as an athlete and competitor. There is no question in our minds that Rush fits our program as good as anyone can and he will continue to excel while at Troy.”

Hunter Kamplain, C, R/R, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Hillcrest HS)

Helped lead Hillcrest High School to the 6A state baseball championship and a No. 12 national ranking … Batted .3015 as a junior with 40 hits, 10 doubles, two triples and one home run, while driving in 22 … As a sophomore, Kamplain batted .300 with 36 hits, eight doubles, one triple and 20 RBIs … Selected to the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Underclassmen All-Star Event

Mark Smartt on Hunter Kamplain: “Hunter is one of the best High School catchers in the state of Alabama. Hunter was an early target for us this summer and will impact the program right away. He has an advanced feel for the catching position, which will translate well at the Division I level. His knowledge and passion for the game of baseball will play a major role at Troy.”

Zack Moore, LHP, L/L, Ashford, HS (Lurleen B. Wallace CC)

In junior college had a 3.86 ERA in 11 appearances … Started five games for Lurleen B. Wallace … Named second team all-state in his senior season in High School.

Mark Smartt on Zack Moore: “Zack Moore is one of the top left-handed pitchers in the state junior college system. We’ve seen Zack develop from a young age and are excited to add him to our roster. Zack commands his fastball in the zone well and with his arm strength he will transition well to the Division I level. He offers a solid breaking ball and loves to compete which will help him establish a role quickly.”

Cole Prestagard, 1B/OF, L/R, Huntsville, Ala. (East Central CC)
At East Central CC, he batted .372 with 67 hits … Scored 50 runs and drove in 45 … Had nine long balls and 14 doubles … Named first team all-state, first team all-conference and first team all-region.

Mark Smartt on Cole Prestagard: “Cole was someone we targeted early this summer in the recruiting process. He offers good size and strength, with the ability to hit for average and extra base production. His offensive production throughout his career will transition well at this level. We are excited about Cole’s future here at Troy.”

Britt Sparks, RHP/IF, R/R, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (American Christian Academy)

A three-sport athlete, Sparks batted .450 with eight home runs in at American Christian Academy … He also hit 10 doubles and plated 38 runs … Named 2015 and 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention.

Mark Smartt on Britt Sparks: “Britt is someone we targeted early in the process this past year. He offers great size and versatility. He throws a high number of strikes with a quality breaking ball that has swing and miss capability. His arm strength and athleticism will allow him to compete right away at the division 1 level. We are excited about Britt’s future here at Troy.”

Levi Thomas, RHP, R/R, Cullman, Ala. (Cullman HS)

Led Cullman High School to state runners-up in 2016 … Recorded a .321 batting average with 53 hits, eight doubles, two home runs and 34 RBIs … On the mound, Thomas went 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in 30.1 innings pitched … He struck out 30 and only walked three as a senior.

Mark Smartt on Levi Thomas: “Levi emerged this past summer in our recruiting process. What stood out is his ability to throw 3 pitches for strikes. His competiveness is something that translates well to what we are trying to build here on the mound. Levi is an above average athlete and will impact our roster early in his career.”

Troy Baseball Signing Class

Dylan Crutcher, OF, R/R, Mobile, Ala. (Alabama Southern CC)
Manning Early, IF/OF, L/R, Gardendale, Ala. (Gardendale HS)

Mackenzie Hicks, IF/RHP, R/R, Skipperville, Ala. (G.W. Long HS)

Rush Hixon, RHP, R/R, Troy, Ala. (Central Alabama CC)

Hunter Kamplain, C, R/R, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Hillcrest HS)

Zack Moore, LHP, L/L, Ashfrod, HS (Lurleen B. Wallace CC)

Cole Prestagard, 1B/OF, L/R, Huntsville, Ala. (East Central CC)

Britt Sparks, RHP/IF, R/R, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (American Christian Academy)

Levi Thomas, RHP, R/R, Cullman, Ala. (Cullman HS)

The Trojans open regular season play with a four-game series against Xavier on February 17-19. To secure your season tickets, call the Troy Ticket Office at 334-670-3681. General Admission tickets are available for $90 each or $280 for a set of four. A waiting list is available for chairback and benchback season tickets.

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