Bama Baseball Adds Five Signees, One Transfer

The University of Alabama baseball team has announced the addition of five signees and one transfer for the upcoming 2004-05 academic year, in an announcement made Friday by head coach Jim Wells.

Junior outfielder Scott Mitchell, junior right-handers Jordan Davis and Patrick Kelly, junior left-hander Kenneth Brown and freshman right-hander/first baseman Austin Hyatt have all accepted offers to play for the Crimson Tide next season. Also, junior catcher Kody Valverde has transferred from the University of New Orleans and will join the Crimson Tide roster this August.

Mitchell (6-2, 210) will bring much-needed speed and power to the Crimson Tide lineup next season. A transfer from Howard College in Big Spring, Texas, Mitchell batted .444 (80-for-180) in 54 games this past season with 11 home runs and 71 RBI. He also scored 69 runs this season and laced 19 doubles.

One of the premier base stealers in the country, Mitchell swiped 52-of-55 bases this season to rank third nationally. His .9455 stolen baseball percentage ranked second in the nation. In addition, he ranked eighth in RBI, 13th in hitting and 29th in home runs among Division I JuCo players this past season.

Mitchell hails from the same junior college that produced ace closer Skip Ames, who recorded 11 saves for the 1996 SEC Championship team at Alabama. Mitchell is playing this summer for the LaCrosse (Wis). Loggers in the wooden-bat Northwoods League.

Davis (6-0, 170) is a hard-throwing right-hander who bounced back from Tommy John surgery (Feb. 24, 2003), which caused him to miss the 2003 season at Paris (Texas) College. During the 2004 season with the Dragons, Davis compiled a 3-3 record with three saves and a 3.82 ERA in 16 appearances.

In 35 1/3 innings, he allowed 36 hits, 18 runs and 15 earned runs, with only six walks and 34 strikeouts for the Dragons. In conference play, Davis was 2-3 with one save and a 4.82 ERA, but walked only four batters in 27 1./3 innings to go along with his 26 strikeouts.

Davis was named to the 2004 NJCAA All-Star Team and will travel with the team to China (July 8-20) to participate in a goodwill All-Star Tour. He is a native of Frisco, Texas and attended Frisco High School.

Kelly (6-5, 195) pitched the last two years for former Alabama and major league left-hander Bobby Sprowl at Shelton State Community College.

An All Northern Conference Selection, Kelly appeared in 12 games and posted an 8-3 record and 2.45 ERA for the Bucs this past season. In 66 innings, he allowed 40 hits, 25 runs and 18 earned runs, with 38 walks and 71 strikeouts. He wrapped up the season by winning four of his last five decisions for Shelton State.

Kelly led the Northern Division with eight wins and was third in the Northern Division with a 2.45 ERA and ranked in the Top 10 in fewest runs allowed (1st, 25), fewest earned runs allowed (1st, 18), opponents batting average (2nd, .165), fewest hits allowed (2nd, 40), strikeouts (3rd, 71), innings pitched (9th, 66.0).

A native of Dothan, Kelly is a 2002 graduate of Houston Academy, where he was a four-year letterman in football and baseball.

BAMA SIGNEES ... Add One

Brown (6-2, 195) spent the last two years at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla. In 2003, he was teammate for current UA outfielder Matt Grooms and help Chipola to the Panhandle Conference Championship and a berth in the state playoffs.

A native of Lafayette, La., Brown attended St. Thomas More High School, where he compiled a 30-0 record in district play while pitching for the varsity team.

Hyatt (6-3, 190) is the only freshman among the recent signees for the Crimson Tide. A native of Marietta, Ga., Hyatt attended Marietta High School, where he was named to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Cobb County Hitter of the Year.

As a senior, Hyatt batted .430 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Hyatt finished in the top two of those triple crown categories for Region 5-AAAAA. On the mound, he posted a 5-1 record and 2.00 ERA 66 strikeouts in 46 innings as he helped put Marietta in the state playoffs.

Valverde (6-0, 201) played two seasons at UNO for coach Randy Bush before transferring to Alabama. In his two-year career, he batted .296 (74-for-250) in 85 games with seven home runs and 45 RBI.

This past season as a sophomore, he was second on the team with a .327 (55-for-168) average and added seven home runs and 45 RBI despite missing 15 games with an injury. He was redshirted in 2003 because of an injury. During his freshman year (2002), he hit .232 (19-for-82) with nine RBI in 41 games for the Privateers.

He also led the Privateers this season with a .371 batting average in Sun Belt Conference play, which earned him First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and placed him on the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-South Region team.

A native of Baton Rouge, he attended Parkview Baptist High school.

In addition the four signees, the Crimson Tide had four of its previous signees sign professional baseball contracts and will not be coming the University of Alabama this fall, including left-hander Ray Liotta (3rd round, Chicago White Sox), infielder Eric Campbell (2nd round, Atlanta Braves), and right-hander Patrick Bryant (6th round, Minnesota Twins). One other signee, right-hander Aaron Tennyson, signed a free agent contract wit the Kansas City Royals.

2004-05 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE BASEBALL SIGNEES (Updated July 16, 2004) 1) Kenneth Brown (LHP, 6-2, 195, Chipola Junior College, Lafayette, Louisiana) 2) Josh Copeland (RHP/3B, 6-3, 200, Northgate HS, Palmetto, Georgia) 3) Jordan Davis (RHP, 6-0, 190, Paris Junior College, Frisco, Texas) 4) Wes Henderson (1B, 6-2, 205, Oxford HS, Oxford, Alabama) 5) Austin Hyatt (1B/RHP, 6-3, 190, Marietta HS, Marietta, Georgia) 6) Cale Iorg (SS, 6-2, 175, Karns HS, Knoxville, Tennessee) 7) Casey Kebodeaux (RHP, 6-2, 200, Mandeville HS, Mandeville, Louisiana) 8) Patrick Kelly (RHP, 6-5, 195, Shelton State Community College, Dothan, Ala. 9) Chris Kirkland (C, 6-3, 190, South Doyle HS, Knoxville, Tennessee) 10) Scott Mitchell (OF, 6-2, 210, Howard CC, Big Spring, Texas) 11) Kyle Moore (SS, 6-2, 190, Edgewood Academy, Montgomery, Alabama) 12) David Robertson (RHP/INF, 5-10, 170, Paul W. Bryant HS, Tuscaloosa, Alabama) 13) Trey Sheilds (RHP, 6-7, 230, Gulf Coast CC, Panama City, Florida) 14) Ben Soignier (INF, 6-0, 185, West Monroe HS, Monroe, Louisiana 15) Kody Valverde (C, 0-0, 000, University of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)


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