The Northwestern State baseball team added 10 newcomers to its ranks Monday as coach Bobby Barbier announced the Demons’ signing class of 2020.
The group is heavily loaded with right-handed pitchers and comprises five high school signees and five transfers, four of which come from the junior college ranks.
“We didn’t lose a lot with the current environment, but we lost two of our more productive pitchers with Logan (Hofmann) going to the draft and Kyle (Swanson) going to medical school,” Barbier said. “As well as we pitched it last year, we’re probably a little thin in numbers. It’s good to have more guys, especially with us not playing as much last spring. We’ll extend some of our intrasquads to get some guys a few more at-bats.
“I’m really proud of the class and what the coaching staff has done – coach (Chris) Bertrand and coach (Taylor) Dugas on the road and coach (Spencer) Goodwin when guys come in town. I’m proud of those guys and the work and effort they put into it along with the sacrifices they and their families make. It’s important to recognize the families and the sacrifices they make for us to have a recruiting class like this.”
2020 Northwestern State Baseball Signing Class
Drayton Brown, RHP, R/R, 6-3, 215, Nacogdoches, Texas (Hallsville HS)
High School: Four-year letterman for coach Scott Mitchell’s Bobcats … named one of the top 10 Class 5A Players to Watch by THSB Magazine as well as an Under Armour Baseball Factory Preseason All-American and a Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason All-American … was part of a Hallsville team that was 12-1 and ranked No. 7 in Class 5A in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season … led Texas Class 5A in strikeouts and ERA as a junior, earning first-team all-state honors as a pitcher and honorable mention all-state acclaim as a first baseman … was a finalist for USA Today’s All-USA Baseball Player of the Year in the Frontier Region … named to the Texas High School Coaches Association Team Texas Junior Sunbelt Classic team … honorable mention all-East Texas as a junior … prior to his junior year was named a Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason All-American … tossed three no-hitters and four one-hitters as a junior and batted .341 that season … second-team all-district pitcher as a sophomore … three-year football letterman was a first-team all-district fullback as a senior and a second-team all-district center as a junior for coaches Bobby Reyes and Darren Allman, helping lead Nacogdoches High School to the playoffs as a junior … member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a class officer … graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and was part of the National Honor Society, an honor graduate, a Texas Scholar with Merit and an HISD Education Foundation Top 10 Percent Scholar … was a Class 5A Academic All-State football selection, a four-time academic all-district baseball pick and a three-time academic all-district football performer.
Coach Barbier on Brown: “Drayton has basically dominated major high school baseball in Texas for three years. He’s a guy who has put up really good strikeout numbers. He’s everything you want in a pitcher. He has a really good arm. He can command the ball. He’s projectible. We’re very, very lucky to land him. We think Drayton can come in and have an impact right away.”
Andrew Cossio, RHP, R/R, 6-0, 187, Spring, Texas (Spring HS/ McLennan CC)
Prior to NSU: Pitched two seasons at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas … appeared in three games in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, tossing scoreless innings in two of those appearances … appeared in eight games, striking out 10 batters in 11 innings, as a freshman … graduated with a 3.3 grade point average.
High School: Pitched and played the outfield for coaches Lou Ferrell, Jeremy Willis and Scott Geirzack at Spring High School … batted .440 with eight RBIs and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage as a senior.
Barbier on Cossio: “Andrew has improved month to month it seems. We followed him for a while. He comes form a great junior college program in McLennan that puts out draft picks and major college players all the time. He’s got a really good arm. He can run it up to 93 mph. He’s one of those guys when it’s off time, he’s somewhere putting int the work. He’s really dedicated to his craft. We’ve found guys like that come here and excel. They get better.”
Ethan Francis, RHP, L/R, 5-11, 180, Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, Canada (Foothills Composite HS/Colby CC)
Summer 2020: Pitched for the Baseball City Bandits of the Florida Gulf Coast League and was one of the starting pitchers in the league All-Star Game.
Prior to NSU: Pitched two seasons at Colby Community College where former Demon Josh Oller was his pitching coach … was 3-1 in five appearances (four starts) in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season … went 1-1 with a save in 20 appearances as a freshman, striking out 36 in 31 2-3 innings … graduated with a 3.8 grade point average.
High School: Played two seasons at Foothills Composite … helped lead Foothills to championships at the Best of the West, the Butler University 18U Invitational and the Dawgs Mother’s Day Tournament as a senior … part of championship teams at the Ohio State Buckeye, the Spokane Invitational and the Dawgs Mother’s Day tournaments as a junior … graduated with honors.
Barbier on Francis: “Josh Oller’s the pitching coach at Colby. He’s one reason we’ve had success with those guys. He pitched here and is very similar with the things we do. He does a phenomenal job developing those guys. (Francis and Ryan Olchoway are) both good arms, but they do it differently. Ethan is a different type of pitcher. He is going to remind people of Logan in his delivery and stature. We expect him to come in and make an immediate impact.”
Jake Haze, INF, S/R, 5-9, 165, Highlands Ranch, Colorado (ThunderRidge HS/South Mountain CC)
Summer 2020: Played for the Colorado Cyclones in the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League, hitting .385 in the National Baseball Congress World Series.
Prior to NSU: Played one season at South Mountain Community College, hitting .341 with five doubles and 12 RBIs in 44 at-bats … also scored 15 runs and drew 11 walks before the season was stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic … first-team Academic All-American posted a 3.9 GPA at South Mountain.
High School: Four-year letterman for coach Joe White’s Grizzlies … second-team all-league selection as a senior, hitting .415 with 11 doubles, one triple, one home run and 20 RBIs … scored 20 runs and posted a 17-to-10 walk-to-strikeout ratio … named to the Colorado High School All-Star Game … was a member of the Colorado Junior Sunbelt Team as a junior when he also was a second-team all-league selection … batted .431 as a sophomore, earning second-team all-league honors … helped lead ThunderRidge to four playoff appearances, including a state Class 5A quarterfinal berth as a sophomore … graduated with a 3.25 grade point average.
Barbier on Haze: “We lost some infielders since last season. With the uncertainty surrounding Arizona junior college baseball, we reached out to Jake. He had a really, really good summer. He brings something different from what we have on the infield now. He’s a switch hitter who can play all three spots. He gives us a lot of versatility and can be an immediate impact type of guy.”
Lance Hicks, 1B, L/L, 6-1, 230, Spring, Texas (Oak Ridge HS)
Summer 2020: Played in the Five Tool Collegiate League in Houston.
High School: Played for coach JJ Pierce’s War Eagles … named Newcomer of the Year on the all-district team as a junior … graduated with a 3.46 grade point average and earned honors in his AP classes.
Barbier on Hicks: “Lance is like me. He hits left-handed and plays first base, but he has more power than me. Lance can really hit. Coach Bert saw him at a tournament and asked me to go watch him. He didn’t disappoint. What I like about Lance is he has power to all fields, which is very mature for a young hitter. He can hit it out of left-center just as easily as right-center. We’re excited to get him on campus and see what he can do at the plate, and he does a good job at first base around the bag.”
Cameron Horton, 1B, L/R, 6-3, 226, Bossier City, La. (Benton HS/ULM)
Prior to NSU: Played two seasons at ULM … appeared in 36 games, starting 22 … had five doubles, a home run and 13 RBIs as a Warhawk … graduated with a 3.1 grade point average.
High School: Four-year letterman for coach J.D. Stephens’ Tigers … helped lead Benton to the state quarterfinals each season … as a senior, earned first-team all-district and all-state honors as a shortstop, batting .415 with six home runs, drawing 25 walks and being hit by 15 pitches … first-team all-district and all-state third baseman as a junior, hitting .400 with eight home runs to earn District 1-4A MVP honors … first-team all-district pick at third base as a sophomore, hitting .360 with three home runs … graduated with a 3.7 grade point average.
Barbier on Horton: “When I first got the job here as the pitching coach, Cam was one of my first recruiting calls. We saw him in high school and junior college. Having (younger brother) Cole here and our relationship with (his father) Tim helped get Cam here. He has some big, big power. He’s a big, good-looking kid who hits left-handed. He gives us a different option at first base or DH or wherever it works out. He is the only true four-year transfer we have, but he’s a good one.”
Reese Lipoma, OF, R/R, 5-10, 175, Gonzales, La. (St. Amant HS)
High School: Two-year letterman for coaches Troy Templet and Brandon Bravata’ Gators … named to the Composite Academic All-State Team as a senior … first-team all-district utility player as a junior as the Gators reached the second round of the state playoffs … played two seasons of basketball for coach Travis Uzee … graduated with a 4.67 grade point average.
Barbier on Lipoma: “How he got here is almost the exact same story (as current outfielder Larson Fontenot). He played in the summer for my good friend Marty Luquet with Gauthier & Amedee and hit in the three hole for a team that won the American Legion state championship. We knew him before. He’s come to our camps. He’s the type of player you want – has a 29 ACT, can play center field, scrappy, makes contact. We’ve seen those types of players have so much success in our league. It’s nice to keep the pipeline going with Gauthier & Amedee and with St. Amant.”
Alex Makarewich, RHP, R/R, 6-0, 185, Keller, Texas (Keller HS)
High School: Three-year letterman for coach Rob Stramp’s Indians … worked nine innings, striking out 17 and allowing one run in two starts of his pandemic-shortened senior year … team went 43-20-1 in his first two years, reaching the fourth round of the state playoffs his sophomore season … graduated with a 3.98 grade point average and was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Environmental Club and the Society of Young Gentlemen.
Barbier on Makarewich: “Alex was the first one to commit to us in this class. It was a team effort by the staff on Alex. He comes from a great family, an absolutely phenomenal family who we have enjoyed getting to know. Alex is going to bring a really good arm with really good pitchability. He’s going to be 89-92 with a really good breaking ball. He plays for a really good team in Keller and with Dave Action and the Arlington A’s. He’s been in the fire as it comes to having played at a high level.”
Ryan Olchoway, RHP, R/R, 6-3, 200, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (Foothills Composite HS/Colby CC)
Prior to NSU: Pitched two seasons at Colby Community College where former Demon Josh Oller was his pitching coach … struck out 15 batters in 10 innings, going 1-0 in three appearances of the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season … went 2-0 with 22 strikeouts in 17 innings as a freshman, appearing in 12 games … graduated with a 3.0 grade point average.
High School: Played hockey and baseball at Foothills Composite High School … was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League draft … won the 2016-17 national championship … graduated with a 3.0 grade point average.
Barbier on Olchoway: “Ryan’s the bigger of our two signees from Colby. He’s got a really good arm and can run it up there about 94-95. We expect him to step in and make a big impact right away.”
Thomas Sotile, RHP, L/R, 6-3, 190, Baton Rouge, La. (University Lab HS)
High School: Two-year letterman for coach Justin Morgan’s Cubs … graduated with a 3.5 grade point average.
Barbier on Sotile: “Thomas has battled injuries his whole career. We were fortunate to have a connection to get to know him. He has unlimited potential in his arm and a good delivery. When he gets healthy, his best years area head of him. There is a really high ceiling with his arm and his frame.”