Four WNCC pitchers sign with Division I schools
They’ve been pushing each other for more than a year now, so it’s no surprise that all of them have signed with Division I schools.
And even though the Western Nevada Community College baseball program is less than two years old, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the school already has seven players who have signed at the Division I level.
Four Wildcat pitchers signed with Division I schools on Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period for the class of 2008. Starting pitchers Cole Rohrbough and Stephen Sauer both signed with Arizona State, starting pitcher Justin Garcia signed with UNLV and relief pitcher Dan Grubbs signed with New Mexico. All four are sophomores.
They join three other players who are currently with Division I schools after helping WNCC win the Scenic West Athletic Conference regular season title last spring. Carson High graduate Aaron Henry, an outfielder, and third baseman Tyson Jaquez are at Nevada while shortstop Jerahmie Libke is at Southern Utah.
Garcia, Rohrbough and Sauer have all been competing to be WNCC’s ace – Garcia was the No. 1 starter last season – and all three say their friendly competition has pushed them to a higher level.
“We all support each other,” Garcia said. “It’s good to have them to push you and work harder.”
With ties to both Northern and Southern Nevada, Garcia faced a difficult decision between Nevada and UNLV. He was also recruited by Hawai’i and Wright State.
“I would say Nevada was pretty close in the running also,” Garcia said. “It made it a pretty tough decision. Everybody recruited me really well the way they were supposed to.”
But in the end Las Vegas where he played at Sierra Vista won out. “That was a big part of my decision,” said Garcia about returning home. “But they’ve also got a great program and they have good baseball.”
Garcia said he hopes to “come in there and be an impact type guy” as far as being in the starting rotation as a junior in 2008.
Grubbs was also recruited by Nevada and said while he was pleased with how the school recruited him, he wanted to go to another area. Grubbs is a McQueen graduate.
“It really wasn’t for me,” said Grubbs about staying here. “I’ve lived here my whole life.”
Grubbs said he wanted to “go see another place. I made my decision based on that.”
Grubbs was used to escape numerous jams in numerous situations out of the bullpen last season and New Mexico will likely use him out of the bullpen as well. Whittemore calls Grubbs his “get out of jail free card.”
WNCC played a pivotal role in him going Division I, Grubbs said. “Pretty much everything,” said Grubbs about what role WNCC played in him moving on to the next level.
“Out of high school I was a pretty good player. Ever since I came here, I’ve improved immensely. I’ve made 100 percent improvement.”
Rohrbough also faced a difficult decision between Oregon State, the defending national champion, and ASU, especially since he’s from North Medford, Ore.
“Honestly the hardest decision of my life,” Rohrbough said. But in the end, the chance to be part of what’s expected to be the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class at ASU won out.
“I don’t feel like I’ve let anybody down,” said Rohrbough about choosing ASU over Oregon State. “All the people in Oregon are giving me a lot of support.” Rohrbough said Beavers coach Pat Casey also called him to wish him well.
Rohrbough still has another difficult decision ahead. He’s a draft and follow pick of the Atlanta Braves, which could give him a large enough signing bonus to serious consider. He could also go in the first 10 rounds of next summer’s Major League Baseball draft.
“There’s no doubt it’s probably going to be the next toughest decision of my life,” Rohrbough said.
In his heart, Rohrbough said he believes he’ll be going to ASU. “Whatever happens, happens,” Rohrbough said.
Nevada, Oral Roberts and Wright State also recruited Sauer, but once Arizona State offered, Sauer’s decision was easy.
“It’s hard to compete with ASU,” he said. “The facilities they have down there are the ones the pros pay to go to.”
Both Sauer and Rohrbough said it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that there likely going to be part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.
“I can’t really say iut has hit me yet, that’s for sure,” Sauer said. “I don’t think I have a full grasp of what it’s going to be like.”
Sauer and Rohrbough both expect to be competing for a spot in ASU’s starting rotation as juniors in 2008.
GALENA ATHLETES TO SIGN
Two Galena athletes will sign today in a signing ceremony at 2:45 p.m. at the school. Tony Thompson will sign with Kansas in baseball and Nancy Burrows will sign in volleyball with Concordia, an NAIA school in Portland, Ore.