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    SFA Inks 10 In Fall Signing Period
    Lufkin native Chase Greening was one of 10 players SFA signed for the 2012 season.
    Lufkin native Chase Greening was one of 10 players SFA signed for the 2012 season.

    Dec. 1, 2010

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    NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin head baseball coach Johnny Cardenas announced the signing of 10 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The group includes a pair of high school prepsters and eight junior college transfers.

    Each of the 10 players originally hail from Texas, but for the first time since the 2007 signing class the Lumberjacks plucked away a player from a junior college outside of the Lone Star State. Left-handed pitcher Jose Gonzalez (Seward CC) and right-handers Justin Choate (Texarkana College), Cass Ingvardsen (Weatherford College), Chase Greening (Angelina College) and Cameron Gann (Crandall HS) make up the pitching centerpieces of the class. Cardenas also landed infielders Freddy Villalobos (Weatherford College) and Michael Ruiz (Angelina College) along with catchers Zach Marberry (Angelina College) and Joseph Olson (Waco Robinson HS) and outfielder Rory Myers (Navarro College) to round things out.

    "This class addresses a number of needs for our team moving forward, including finding a guy who we feel could be a legitimate Friday starter for us," Cardenas said. "In addition to finding a power lefty, we also brought in players that we feel will make us much deeper and more versatile."

    2010 Fall Signees Jose Gonzalez - LHP, L/L, 6'1", 170 lbs (Dumas, Texas/ Dumas HS/ Seward CC)
    Gonzalez started 14 games for the Saints as a true freshman, and helped lead Seward County to 33 wins and the Jayhawk League's West Division title last season. In 2010 he posted a 5.75 ERA in 14 games, striking out 45 in 63 innings of work.

    He sports an upper-80s fastball, along with a developing splitter and is expected to make significant strides at Seward as a sophomore after overpowering opponents at Dumas High School in his prep days at DHS.

    Cardenas on Gonzalez: "He's a great candidate to be our Friday night starter and he's a guy whose velocity has really gone up in the last couple of years and we look for him to come in and solidify the top spot in our rotation."

    Justin Choate - RHP, R/R, 5'9", 180 lbs (Hooks, Texas / Hooks HS / Texarkana College)
    Choate compiled a 22-4 record and struck out 308 batters in his career on the mound at Hooks High School. In his senior season he posted a 0.90 ERA and struck out 133 hitters while walking only 12, and giving up just 33 hits. He went on to earn all-state and all-area honors, while taking all-district honors in both 2008 and 2009.

    Last year as a freshman he helped lead Texarkana College to a share of the Region XIV championship.

    Cardenas on Choate: "We are bringing him in to compete as one of our weekend starters and comes in with good velocity and a plus breaking pitch. He is a lot on the lines of what we've brought in as a improving pitching staff."

    Cass Ingvardsen - RHP, R/R, 6'3", 215 lbs (Livingston, Texas / Livingston HS / Weatherford College)
    A big right-handed arm, Ingvardsen was an all-district choice in both his junior and senior seasons after posting a 1.93 ERA with 60 strikeouts as a junior and a 1.36 ERA with 93 strikeouts as a senior at Livingston High School.

    He then signed on with Weatherford College, but only managed to get into three games for the Coyotes in 2010 as a freshman on a loaded pitching staff, fanning eight in just 7.1 innings of work.

    Cardenas on Ingvardsen: "He has shown really good velocity at the high school and junior college level and should really be able to improve our staff either as a late-inning guy or as a weekend starter."

    Chase Greening - RHP, R/R, 6'2", 185 lbs (Lufkin, Texas / Lufkin HS / Angelina College)
    Greening is one of two former Lufkin Panthers in the signing class and is one of three Angelina College transfers to sign with the Lumberjacks, the first since the 2006 class. The righty was a 5A honorable mention all-state selection in 2009 for the Panthers, helping lead LHS to the state title game.

    He spent his freshman year as one of the top starting arms for the Roadrunners, going 7-5 with a 4.01 ERA, striking out 52 and walking just 19 in 76.1 innings of work.

    Cardenas on Greening: "A pitcher who we recruited out of high school and was solid last year at AC. He's another guy who we feel can come in and compete for either a weekend rotation spot, or take over a spot in the late innings."

    Freddy Villalobos - INF, R/R, 6'0", 185 lbs (Houston, Texas/ Westside HS/ Weatherford JC)
    The Lumberjacks have developed a solid pipeline of players coming from Weatherford College, with 2010 all-conference selections Garrett Smith and Tyler Herriage already on the roster. SFA added a pair of position players in last year's class with Bryson Myles and Bryce Cummings, and have continued that partnership with the Coyotes with the addition of Villalobos and Cass Ingvardsen this year.

    Villalobos was an all-region infielder out of Houston's Westside High School before heading north to WC. He hit .519 as a senior, and .420 as a junior at Westside where he led the Wolves deep into the Class 5A playoffs each of those seasons. He continued his success as a freshman with the Coyotes 2009, hitting .268 with a pair of homers and 24 RBI before missing the 2010 season with an injury.

    Cardenas on Villalobos: "He's been a utility player throughout his high school and junior college career and we feel like he can hit in the middle of the order for us. But more importantly than that, we feel as though he can step in and play up the middle in the field for us after we lose some guys to graduation."

    Michael Ruiz, - INF, L/R, 5'8", 175 lbs (Friendswood, Texas/ Friendswood HS/ Angelina College)
    Ruiz used up a redshirt last season at Angelina College, and will come to SFA with three years of eligibility remaining. He helped lead Friendswood High School to its first ever trip to the state tournament as a junior in 2008, the same year he was named a Class 4A third team all-state selection at second base.

    Cardenas on Ruiz: "Michael is a solid middle infielder who should really be able to give us some depth and ability to hit in the middle of the infield. Defensively he is very talented and should give us a strong defensive presence up the middle."

    Zach Marberry - C, R/R, 6'4", 200 lbs (Lufkin, Texas / Lufkin HS / Angelina College)
    Marberry was the District 5-5A Newcomer of the Year in 2007 for Lufkin High School, and earned all-district honors each of the next two seasons behind the plate. He served as the Panthers starting backstop in 2009 when LHS made its march to the Class 5A state title game and spent last season behind the plate for Angelina College.

    Cardenas on Marberry: "With the loss of Riley Huble, he should be a guy that can step in right away and step in and catch at the level and give us a very good option behind the plate."

    Rory Myers - OF, L/L, 6'0", 190 lbs, (Watauga, Texas / Keller HS / Navarro College)
    Originally a Texas State signee out of Keller High School, Myers elected to attend Navarro College and after redshirting in 2009, he hit nearly .400 for the Bulldogs while patrolling the outfield in Corsicana.

    He also put together a solid career at KHS, earning District 5-5A Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and first team all-district honors.

    Cardenas on Myers: "He will have the unenviable task of trying to replace Garrett Smith in center field, just like Garrett has the unenviable task of replacing Zach Gardner in center field. But just like Garrett has done, we are very confident that Rory will be able to come in and continue the growing tradition of great center fielders at SFA."

    Joseph Olson - C, R/R, 6'1", 215 lbs (Waco, Texas/ Robinson HS/)
    One of the catalysts of Robinson High School's 32-5 season in 2010 was Olson, a junior catcher that hit .420 for the Rockets. He was named the District 19-3A defensive MVP for his efforts behind the plate and helped RHS maintain the No. 1 spot in the Class 3A poll for the majority of the season.

    Cardenas on Olson: "Once Joseph learns how to play at the college level, he will really be our catcher of the future and has a great upside. He will give us the option of possibly using one of our other catchers as a DH if necessary when he arrives, and gives us one of the deepest catching corps in the Southland."

    Cameron Gann - RHP, R/R, 6'1'', 180 lbs (Crandall, Texas / Crandall HS)
    Gann has spent time at Crandall High School at both pitcher and shortstop for the Pirates, but with a developing upper-80s fastball, Gann's future with the Lumberjacks will likely come on the mound. As a junior he posted a 4-4 record and struck out 79 hitters in just 41.3 innings on the mound, but was a first team all-District 12-3A choice at shortstop after hitting .367, scoring 33 runs and driving in 20 more.

    He has led the Pirates to the state playoffs in each of his first three years on varsity, and will be a starter once again for CHS as a senior. He has earned first team all-District 12-3A honors each of his first three years.

    "Cameron is a solid high school arm with very good velocity, who as he gets bigger and stronger will be a very solid pitcher for us. He will probably come in as a middle relief guy or as a midweek starter and develop from there."