Lassiter won its ninth region title in baseball this season, but this is the first that didn’t have a Division I signee.
“We probably have some D-I talent, but they’re not getting D-I looks,’’ said Lassiter coach Scott Kelly. ‘’We’ve got a smart team. They do great job in the classroom. We’ve got several kids with 3.8, 4.0, 4.3 grade-point averages, and they bring it out on the field. They study the game and do a good job of not hurting themselves with stupid mistakes.’’
Lassiter is 17-8 overall, 10-1 in Region 5-AAAAA, with a game Friday at Etowah before starting the state playoffs next week as a No. 1 seed.
Lassiter returned only three starters and graduated its three-man rotation and five college signees from the 2011 team that lost in the second round to Brookwood.
The new rotation of underclassmen is 6-foot-4 junior Caleb Kutsche (5-2, 2.56 ERA), junior K.J. Sinclair (5-2, 3.38) and sophomore lefthander Tim Eber (3-1, 4.10). All are college prospects.
Lassiter is hitting .303 as a team, which is outstanding in a season that bought new bat regulations that have diminished offense statewide. Senior third baseman Keegan Corley, one of those with D-I talent without the looks, is hitting .450. Another is center fielder Jared Aarons, who is hitting .320 with a team-leading 25 RBI. Both are undersized, perhaps explaining their lack of D-I attention.
Other players that typify Lassiter’s 2012 team are senior Tyler Seaman and Austin Rose.
Seaman, the 6-foot-5 first baseman, idn’t play baseball last season. He was in a band. Rose was the bullpen catcher sitting behind Division I recruits such as Reed Anthes (Duke) and Brandon Stephens (Georgia). He almost never played. Rhodes is batting .300 while throwing out half the runners attempting to steal against him. His GPA is over 4.0.
“We’ve got kids who didn’t even start on the JV team who are starting on varsity,’’ Kelly said. “It’s something about the history and tradition at Lassiter. When it comes their turn to play, they always step up.’’
Lassiter’s signees since 2002, the last time the school did not have a Division I college signee.
*2012 – None
*2011 – Reed Anthes (Duke), Nelson Ward (Georgia)
2010 – Stephen Janas (Kennesaw State), Ross Ripple (Georgia), Brandon Stephens (Georgia)
2009 – Blake Crohan (Tulane), Kevin Link (Princeton), Tyler Muse (Western Kentucky)
*2008 – Michael Palazzone (Georgia0, Ray Anderson (Kennesaw State), Cuyler Esposito (Villanova), Joe Gorley (Kennesaw State)
2007 – Grant Youngblood (Penn State), Chad Johnson (Marshall)
*2006 – Kevin Bishop (Kentucky), Brandon May (Alabama), Robbie O’Bryan (Georgia)
*2005 – Davey Knapp (Samford), Zach Kayne (Davidson)
2004 – Ryan Peisel (Georgia), Billy Shaughnessy (Mercer), John Michael Vidic (Tulane), Stephen Ochs (Florida State)
*2003 – John Goodman (Georgia Tech), Charlie Pelt (Georgia State), Louis Cribeiro (Kennesaw State), Michael Zarat (Princeton), Kyle Muschara (Kennesaw State)
2002 – None.
*Team won region championship.