Updated Sat, May 25, 2013 8:22 pm
The Rio Grande RedStorm baseball team added four new faces to its 2013 recruiting class. On Wednesday, Clark Rice signed with Rio Grande, and on Friday, Brandon Stevens, Drew Haislop and Trent Downs joined Rice in signing with the RedStorm, according to RioRedStorm.com
Rice, a catcher, and Stevens, a left-handed pitcher, currently attend Lawrence County High School in Louisa, Ken. Haislop plays shortstop at Oak Hill High School in Oak Hill, Ohio. Downs hails from Zane Trace High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he pitches and plays third base.
Rice and Stevens will be teammates in 2014, but that is nothing new for the two Bulldogs as they currently make up a dynamic battery for Lawrence County. The two helped the Bulldogs to a 21-11 record this season and a spot in the Kentucky 57th District Tournament.
Stevens stands at 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds. He carried a 7-2 record this season to go along with a 1.30 ERA.
He appeared in 13 games and started seven. In his 55.2 innings pitched he allowed just 10 earned runs. He also threw three complete games; two of which were shutouts.
The left-hander also bats on the left side of the plate and is capable of playing first base.
Stevens’ battery mate, Rice, entered postseason play batting .354 along with a .448 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .462. Rice also drove in 18 runs in the regular season.
According to Rio Grande head baseball coach Brad Warnimont, Rice’s defensive ability is ahead of his offensive game and Rice’s ability to command a pitching staff is a factor that will put him into immediate contention for significant playing time.
Though Haislop and Downs were not teammates in high school, they did see each other on the baseball diamond, in Ohio’s Division III District Finals.
Haislop and the Oak Hill Oaks got the best of Downs and the Zane Trace Pioneers in a 4-3 victory.
Haislop helped his team to a 20-8 record by batting .372, hitting three home runs and driving in 24 runs this season. The 5-foot-11 shortstop also scored 24 runs while slugging .612 this season and carrying an OBP of .458.
While most proficient in the field and at the plate, Haislop has also been effective on the mound. In the 2013 regular season he had a 3.50 ERA in five appearances.
Haislop’s family and friends will not need to travel far to see the shortstop play college ball. The campuses of Oak Hill and Rio Grande are separated by a drive of just 13 miles.
In Trent Downs, Rio Grande is adding a true dual-threat player who is dynamite on the mound and at the plate.
In 2013, Downs led Zane Trace with a .410 batting average, a .467 slugging percentage, a .475 OBP, 33 RBIs and 38 hits.
From the rubber he was just as dominant with a 1.65 ERA and a 6-5 record. Ten of the right-hander’s 12 appearances were starts including eight complete games. In 72 innings he led his team with 51 strikeouts.
Downs put up equally impressive numbers in 2012. In his junior season he pitched another eight complete games and carried a 1.73 ERA en route to a 7-3 record. He averaged nearly one strikeout per inning.
In four seasons as a varsity player Downs pitched 19 complete games and held a career record of 21-10. As a hitter he batted .320 or higher in three of his four years at Zane Trace. The stellar pitcher and hitter can also play third base.
Rio Grande’s four newest additions join an already solid RedStorm team that went 36-20 in 2013. The loss of senior catcher Vincent Perry might allow for Rice to see playing time and the addition of Stevens will give the RedStorm another left-hander after losing two to graduation.