Baseball Vols sign six

Vol baseball coach Rod Delmonico has landed three pitchers, an infielder, an outfielder and a catcher for his 2004 signing class. Of the six, three hail from the junior college ranks and two were selected in the Major League draft this past June.

''We were selective in our approach to signing players this year. We mainly focused on specific needs at certain positions and finding quality players who could come in and play right away,'' said Delmonico. ''I think the pitchers are really the strength of this class with (Scott) Feldman and (Sean) Watson being two of the best at the junior college and high school levels.''

Teammates, pitcher Sean Watson and outfielder David Hernandez, inked with the Vols out of Florida Christian High School in Miami, Fla. The pair helped Florida Christian reach the Class 2A finals last season and the semifinals in 2000.

Watson, who earned All-State and All-County honors, can throw 90 mph at times and has a quality slider. He also has the ability to be a power-hitting first baseman.

Hernandez earned first team All-State and All-County honors after batting .433 with 18 doubles and 30 RBI in 30 games last season.

Scott Feldman was selected by the Houston Astros in the 41st round in the 2002 draft. The All-America right hander was one of the best in the California Community Colleges last year as he lead the league in wins and ERA while helping lead San Mateo Community College to a first place conference finish. Feldman, who was a perfect 12-0 in the regular season, finished with a 12-1 mark and a 1.37 ERA, strking out 97 against just seven walks in 113.1 innings.

Shortstop Eric King was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 35th round in the 2002 draft. King, a Junior College All-America, led Los Medanos Community College in nearly every hitting category. The All-Bay Valley Conference West First Team selection posted a .449 average with 83 hits, 19 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 48 runs scored and 46 RBI, as his team finished 20-24. He established school records for batting average and hits, while going on a 20-game hitting streak.

Chris Howell, a right handed pitcher from Pensacola (Fla.) Community College, saw limited action on hill as he missed most of last season due to illness. He was a three-time All-State and four-time All-Region selection at Tift Area Academy in Chula, Ga., as well as being a Wendy's High School Heisman Award nominee.

Coming to the Vols from Vestavia Hills High School, a state baseball powerhouse located just outside Birmingham, Ala., is catcher Martin Evans. He batted .368 with three home runs and 27 RBI in 24 games last season. He holds a .390 career average and was ranked as the top catcher and No. 13 player overall in the state of Alabama by Baseball America.

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