Baseball inks six in early signing period

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama baseball team added six signees during the November 14-21, 2001 early signing period. These student-athletes will enroll at Alabama in August, 2002 and be eligible for the 2002-03 academic year.

Ryan Beagle, Evan Bush, Billy Hogan, Brian McCann, Allen Ponder and Charlie Lyons have all signed national letters of intent with the Crimson Tide baseball program, according to head coach Jim Wells. The list includes three high school players listed among Baseball America's Top 100 prospects.


  • Ryan Beagle, RHP/OF 5-9, 175 Hueytown, Alabama Shelton State Community College
  • Evan Bush, INF/RHP 6-2, 190 Gadsden, Alabama Southside High School
  • Billy Hogan, SS 6-3, 190 Carrollton, Texas Newman Smith High School
  • Charlie Lyons, C 6-3, 205 Northport, Alabama Tuscaloosa County High School
  • Brian McCann, C 6-2, 180 Duluth, Georgia Duluth High School
  • Allen Ponder, RHP 6-4, 200 Auburn, Alabama Lee-Scott Academy

Beagle (5-9, 175) is currently enrolled at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, where he plays for former Alabama pitcher and assistant coach Bobby Sprowl. Beagle is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder with the Buccaneers. Prior to enrolling at Shelton State, Beagle attended Hueytown High School.

Bush (6-2, 190) is one of the state's top high school prospects. He plays second base, third base and is a right-hand pitcher at Gadsden's Southside High School for coach Scott Calhoun. Named to 2001 Birmingham News Super All-State team after his junior season. Bush compiled a 10-1 record and 1.06 ERA with 111 strikeouts on the mound in 72 2/3 innings for the Class 5A state champion Panthers. In addition, he batted .416 (47-for-113) with five home runs, 37 RBI and 47 runs scored.

Bush was a high school teammate with former UA signee, Eric West, who was drafted in the fifth round last year by the Boston Red Sox. Bush was also named to the Birmingham News Class 5A All-State team. Bush has also participated in the Alabama High School Athletic Association All-Star week and led his team to three straight Etowah County Championships. Bush was a member of the USA Gold Medal winning team at the 2000 Youth Nationals. He has also played for East Cobb Yankees (1998-2000) and Team Florida (2001).

Hogan (6-3, 190) is one of the top infield prospects in the state of Texas. A three-year starter at shortstop for coach Fred Howard at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, Texas, Hogan is listed as the No. 5 prospect in the Lone Star state. Team One Prospects and Baseball America rates him as the nation's 45th best prospect.

Hogan is listed as the nation's fifth-best shortstop prospect by Baseball America. He attended Team One Prospects camp this past summer in Long Beach, Calif. Hogan was also a member of the 1999 Team USA Youth National Team, 1998 CABA National Championship team, 1999 Police Athletic League National Champions and three district championship teams in high school.

Lyons (6-3, 205) is a local product and starting catcher for coach Roger Haynes at Tuscaloosa County High School. Lyons batted .333 and posted a .978 fielding percentage as a junior at TCHS. He also plays first base for the Wildcats. He has been a member of the varsity baseball team for the past two years.

McCann (6-2, 180) is considered one of the top high school prospects in the nation. The left-handed, power-hitting catcher batted .513 with 14 home runs and 35 RBI as a junior at Duluth (Ga.) High School. McCann recently attended Team One Camp in Jupiter, Fla., where he was rated as the seventh-best prospect and the second-best prospect among non pitchers. He was also listed the top catching prospect.

In addition, Baseball America rates McCann as their 54th best prospect and the number-two catching prospect in the country. He is expected to be a high draft pick in the upcoming MLB draft. His father, Howie, is a graduate of Miss. State University (bachelor's) and LSU (masters) and was a former assistant coach at the University of Georgia. His brother, Brad, was a fourth-round draft pick last season and is now enrolled at Gulf Coast Community College.

Ponder (6-4, 200) is a right-handed pitcher from Auburn's Lee-Scott Academy. He is listed as the No. 1 pitching prospect in the state of Alabama and is rated as the nation's 34th best player by Baseball America. This past summer he was the winning pitcher for the East Cobb Yankees in the championship game of the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, New Mexico. He was named to the All-Tournament Team.

In addition, as a junior at Lee-Scott Academy, Ponder batted .605 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI in addition to his mound duties. He led Lee-Scott Academy to a school record 30 wins last year and a runner up finish in the AISA state playoffs. For his efforts, Ponder was named to the Birmingham News Super All-State team last year. He was also named to the Birmingham News AISA-Independent All-State team.

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