Southern baseball coach Chris Crenshaw announced a 13-member signing class that could grow larger by the time classes start Aug. 15.
Nine freshmen and four transfers will join an experienced Jaguar squad that nearly won a third consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference title before falling 6-5 to Alabama State in 14 innings at the conference tournament final in May.
“The class is freshman heavy with a sprinkling of transfers, and we hope to add three or four more transfers to give us more experience,” said Crenshaw, who is preparing for his third season as head coach. “We have a lot of freshmen because this year we’re going to have a lot of upperclassmen, seniors.
“Hopefully, these guys will come in and learn the way from the seniors and take a big step forward for us. We needed some lefties since we lost Khristian Paul, who pitched a lot of innings.”
Paul had another season of eligibility remaining but graduated with an engineering degree and has accepted a job at Boeing, Crenshaw said.
Southern lost only three of nine players from the everyday lineup and returns most of its pitching staff.
Among the signees are right-hander Drew Lasseigne, who prepped at Central High School and was part of LSU-Eunice’s national championship team; left-hander Ranard Grace, whose twin brother Rashard is a Southern catcher; and catcher Donnell Sandifer, who played at Barbe in Lake Charles.
Southern also picked up Raphael Douglas, who was on the Major League Baseball draft board before a shoulder injury derailed those hopes this year.
“We hope he can come in and be a starter for us,” Crenshaw said of Douglas. “All those guys should be able to fit in and blossom.”
One Southern signee won’t make it to campus. Noah Williams, an outfielder from Redondo, Calif., has announced he will sign with the Atlanta Braves after being drafted in the 18th round.
Crenshaw said fall practice will begin Oct. 1 after two months of weights and conditioning.
Mike Latulas and Gustavo Nava Sanchez were injured during summer baseball but are expected to recover in time. Crenshaw also said Jaguar infielder Jalon Mack is having a strong summer, batting .329 with 12 stolen bases for Martinsville of the Coastal Plains League.
Southern university baseball recruiting class
Oliver Brown, LHP, Chicago/Leo Catholic
Genesis Prosper, 1B/LHP, New Orleans/St. Augustine
Jacoby Radcliffe, OF, Chicago/Morgan Park
Tyson Roberson, 1B/LHP, Atlanta/Dominion Christian
Sadir Ryan, C, Atlanta/SW DeKalb
Donnel Sandifer, C, Lake Charles/Barbe
Myles Terrell, IF, Sacramento, Calif./Alpha Charter
Justin Toussaint, IF, Los Angeles/St. Bernard
Kelcey White, IF, Atlanta/Westlake
Raphael Douglas, RHP, Des Moines Area CC/Sioux City, Iowa
Ranard Grace, LHP, UAB/Madison Central (Miss.)
Drew Lasseigne, RHP, LSU-Eunice/BR Central
Riley Ashton, RHP, Utah State Eastern/W. Jordan, Utah