Powers signs two in baseball

The ink is barely dry on the professional contracts of Brett Hayes and Ben Mummy, and Nevada baseball coach Gary Powers and his staff have been busy pounding the pavement for their replacements.

Powers has signed shortstop Leo Radkowski from Lamar Community College in Colorado and outfielder Matt Suleski from Yuba College near Sacramento, Calif.

Radkowski was a double-digit home run producer in the wood bat league and Suleski hit .367 for Yuba with five homers and 57 RBI.

Powers also indicated that he is talking to a couple of potential first basemen and a junior college pitcher, but didn't have a verbal committment yet.

Right fielder Shawn Scobee and shorstop Robert Marcial, both of whom were hoping to be drafted, are expected to return to the Wolf Pack next season. Marcial hit .270 with 13 RBI this year, and Scobee hit .258 with 18 homers and 39 RBI.

Obviously, Powers is happy that both players will be back in the fold. He even hinted strongly that Marcial may have to battle to keep his job.

"I expect Radkowski to push for a starting job," Powers said. "Whoever doesn't win will compete for one of the other two spots (second base and third base). He (Radkowski) is an offensive third baseman. He's a solid baseball player that can play second and third. He gives us some flexibility."

Also in the mix at short is true freshman Ryan Foley from Green Valley High in Henderson.

Powers said Dayton's Matt Bowman, who was converted into an outfielder last season and finished with a .280 average, also could be in the mix at second or third. Sophomore David Ciarlo, who hit .200 last year, also is a second baseman.

"He (Bowman) will be playing second base all summer," Powers said. "A lot depends on the development of Jesse Oliver and Drew Johnson. These guys need to mature."

Scobee had awesome power, but had a propensity to strike out - 60 times in 163 at-bats. Powers said that might have steered the scouts away from him.

"He got a lot better at the end," Powers said of Scobee. "I didn't know if it was going to be enough. It appears it wasn't. It's nice to have his power potential back."

Suleski had a good season on a mediocre squad, earning all-NorCal honors.

Baker Krukow backed up Hayes at catcher this year and hit around .300, but he isn't a lock to inherit the starting spot. He will have to battle Jordan Updike, an incoming freshman from Southern California, for the job.

The starting staff of Ryan Rodriguez (11-5, 5.67), Tim Schoeninger (5-8, 5.07) and Travis Sutton (3-7, 6.50) is intact. Wesley Dorsett, Steve Taylor, Chris Scott and Patrick Mason head the relieving corp.

One newcomer who could challenge that starting trio is Spanish Springs left-hander Steve Masten, who throws in the mid-90s. According to reports, Masten wasn't drafted because his asking price was too high.

"That is a good deal for us," Powers said. "We're excited. He's a good left-hander and you can always use that. He's got to come in and do it, though. There is a big difference between pitching high school in Northern Nevada and facing Division I hitters."

If Masten or Taylor develop, it will give the Pack a dependable fourth starter; somebody that can go out and start a mid-week game. Too often, Powers had to use so many relievers over the weekend that he was forced to use a "committee approach" to his Tuesday games and pitch only relievers.

"Steve Taylor needs to keep emerging and Travis Sutton needs to get back to where he was before (as a sophomore)," Powers said.

Powers said that the pitcher he has recruited is "more of a middle-inning reliever."

Several players, including ex-Douglas star Austin Graham, won't return to the team. Graham redshirted this year after hitting five homers his freshman season.

Graham, who is playing summer ball in San Luis Obispo, said he is looking at going to a junior college. Graham spent Monday afternoon visiting Cuesta College and meeting with the coaching staff.

"It (Nevada) is not going to be the right place for me," Graham said. "It's time to get out of the area, too."

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281


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