University of Southern Indiana Baseball announced the signing of six freshmen and three transfers in the 2018 early signing period. Of the eight student-athletes signed by USI and Head Coach Tracy Archuleta, four are from Indiana, two from Kentucky, one from Illinois and one from Colorado.Selecting USI to continue their education and begin their collegiate baseball careers are right-handed pitcher Garrett Welch (New Castle, Indiana) right-handed pitcher Reece Kleinhelter (Jasper, Indiana), middle infielder Jacob Hartline (Herrin, Illinois), infielder Ethan Hunter (Terre Haute, Indiana), right-handed pitcher/outfielder Sam Mudd (Louisville, Kentucky) and right-handed pitcher Blake Graham(Morgantown, Kentucky). Transferring to USI to continue their baseball careers are right-handed pitcher Peter Wissel (New Castle, Indiana),right-handed pitcher Dalton Lewis (Parker, Colorado), and first baseman/catcher Jayden Beshears (Evansville, Indiana).“We really needed to focus on bringing in talented arms for the 2018 season since we will be losing several quality arms,” Archuleta said. “Coach (Jeremy) Kuester and first year Graduate Assistant Coach Ryan Bertram have a very talented class coming in for next season.”“The two NJCAA arms of Wissel and Lewis will be counted on to make an immediate impact next season on the mound, while Beshears adds a big bat to the line-up,” continued Archuleta. “The four high school arms of Graham, Welch, Kleinhelter and Mudd will compete for quality time on mound as well.”“Mudd also has the ability to help us in the outfield, while the two infielders, Hartline and Hunter, give us the needed depth for the future,” concluded Archuleta.Biographies of USI Baseball’s fall signees:Beshears: The first baseman/catcher is in his second year at Olney Central College…batted .378 with four home runs and 37 RBIs as a freshman…a baseball and football letter winner at North High School (Evansville, Indiana)…was twice named All-Conference and All-City in baseball.Welch: The right-handed pitcher had a 2.94 ERA in 29 innings pitched his junior year at New Castle High School (New Castle, Indiana) while also hitting .375…earned All-Conference and All-County honors his sophomore and junior years…helped the team win sectional championship freshman year…played for Indiana Bulls Black and also lettered in basketball.Wissel: Transfer from Vincennes University…the right-handed pitcher was 6-7 at VU with a 4.86 ERA and 8.10 strikeouts per nine innings ratio in 2016…was a two-time first team All-State selection at Blue River Valley High School (New Castle, Indiana).Kleinhelter: A right-handed pitcher from Jasper High School (Jasper, Indiana), where he lettered in baseball, football and swimming…also played for Ironmen Baseball Club.Hartline: The middle infielder hit .390 as a sophomore and .380 as a junior at Herrin High School (Herrin, Illinois)…earned All-Conference, All-South region honors and was team MVP during his junior year…also lettered in football and basketball, helping football team win three conference championships and earning All-Conference honors.Hunter: The infielder had a school-record .962 fielding percentage while also batting .368 to earn first team All-State in 2016 at Terre Haute South High School (Terre Haute, Indiana)…helped legion team win state championship in 2015 and regional and super regional championships in 2016.Mudd: The outfielder and right-handed pitcher hit .444 in the state tournament to help St. Xavier High School (Louisville, Kentucky) win the 2016 state championship…earned Perfect Game Honorable Mention in 2016…also played football and for Ironmen Baseball Club.Graham: A right-handed pitcher that led Morgantown High School (Morgantown, Kentucky) to a district championship in 2016…also lettered in football and basketball.Lewis: Transfer from Trinidad State Junior College…the right-handed pitcher appeared in eight games, starting four, and had 10 strikeouts with a 1-0 record…lettered in football and baseball at Mountain Vista High School (Highlands Park, Colorado).FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Coach Colin Cooper has named All Blacks Akira Ioane, Tawera Kerr Barlow and Rieko Ioane in his starting fifteen along with Nehe Milner Skudder.Hawke’s Bay’s Ash Dixon will captain the side which features just two new caps in reserves, Bryn Hall and Rob Thompson.”We’ve named a strong group who all have good clarity on how we want to play this match against the Lions. We feel Damian will suit the game plan that we want to play, from the number 10 position, “Cooper said he was pleased with the way the players had connected throughout the week.”We experienced a powerful pōwhiri on Monday which really resonated with the boys and it’s been great to be here in Rotorua and feel all the support. It’s really lifted the team and helped bring them together as a unit.”We recognise the challenge that is ahead of us on Saturday, but we’re really excited as a group by the opportunity we have to represent New Zealand, Māoridom and the fans that will descend on Rotorua this weekend.”Maori team is (*denotes new cap);1. Kane Hames – Tasman (Ngāi Tuhoe/Ngāti Porou)2. Ash Dixon (captain) – Hawke’s Bay (Ngāti Tahinga)3. Ben May – Hawke’s Bay (Ngāti Maniapoto/Tainui)4. Joe Wheeler – Tasman (Ngāi Tahu)5. Tom Franklin – Bay of Plenty (Ngāti Maniapoto)6. Akira Ioane – Auckland (Ngāpuhi/Te Whānau ā Apanui)7. Elliot Dixon – Southland (Ngāpuhi)8. Liam Messam – Waikato (Ngāi Tūhoe)9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow – Waikato (Waikato/Ngāti Maniapoto)10. Damian McKenzie – Waikato (Ngāti Tūwharetoa/Ngāti Tahinga)11. Rieko Ioane – Auckland (Ngāpuhi/Te Whānau ā Apanui)12. Charlie Ngatai – Taranaki (Ngāti Porou/Te Whānau ā Apanui/Te Whakatōhea)13. Matt Proctor – Wellington (Ngāpuhi/Ngāiterangi)14. Nehe Milner-Skudder – Manawatu (Ngāti Porou/Tapuika)15. James Lowe – Tasman (Ngāpuhi/Ngāi Te Rangi)Reserves16. Hikawera Elliot – Counties Manukau (Ngāti Awa)17. Chris Eves – Manawatu (Waikato/Tainui)18. Marcel Renata – Auckland (Ngāti Whānaunga/Te Aupouri19. Leighton Price – Taranaki (Waikato/Ngāti Maniapoto)20. Kara Pryor – Northland (Ngāti Awa/Ngāti Pikiao/Ngāti Rangitihi)21. Bryn Hall* – North Harbour (Ngāti Ranginui)22. Ihaia West – Hawke’s Bay (Ngāti Kahungunu/Ngāti Porou)23. Rob Thompson* – Canterbury (Ngāti Kahungunu) Photo: Photosport Damian McKenzie evades a tackle at Soldier Field, 2016.