Thursday, November 19, 2009


2009 North Shore Navigator, Ben Waldrip (Cypress JC, Los Angeles) has signed a scholarship with Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Waldrip will join the reigning 4 time Ohio Valley Conference Champions for the 2011 season. Waldrip, a 2009 NECBL All Star joins a Jacksonville program that is on the rise nationally with players such as Ben Tootle, Todd Cunningham, Kyle Bluestein and Sam Eberle garnering national attention, with Tootle having been selected in the 3rd Round of the MLB Draft; Cunningham being named the Cape Cod League's top major league prospect, and Bluestein and Eberle being named Louisville Slugger Freshmen All Americans in 2009.

Last June, Jacksonville State’s Ben Tootle was selected as the 101st overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Minnesota Twins during the third round on Tuesday.Tootle becomes the fourth Gamecock player to be drafted in the third round or higher and the first since Bill White was taken as the 99th overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000. He was the first player from an Alabama college taken in this year’s draft.“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play for the Minnesota Twins,” Tootle said Tuesday night. “I was expecting to be picked somewhere between the first and third rounds and got picked in the third round, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Current Gamecock, Jacksonville State Junior, Todd Cunningham has been listed as the No. 20 College Baseball prospect for the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, Baseball America recently announced.Cunningham, a native of Jacksonville, led the prestigious Cape Cod League with a .378 batting average after playing for the Falmouth Commodores. He also led the league in hits (59) and on-base percentage (.458) after winning the batting title by 36 points.The junior outfielder was second in the Cape in runs scored (31) and slugging percentage (.500), while posting 12 extra-base hits with 22 RBI and also drew 19 walks to post a .458 on-base percentage.Cunningham hit a scorching .427 in July to earn the Cape Cod Player of the Month award. He was also selected to play in the Cape Cod All-Star Game, where his diving catch in centerfield was named as one of the Top 10 plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter on July 23rd.The rising junior won the Thurmon Munson Batting Championship for the Cape, which includes previous winners such as Jason Varitek (1993), Chuck Knoblauch (1988), Paul O’Neill (1975), Pete Rose (1974) and Thurman Munson (1967).Along with winning the batting title, Cunningham also was voted the Cape Cod League’s Outstanding Pro Prospect by the Major League Baseball scouts.

Jacksonville State’s Kyle Bluestein and Sam Eberle were both named to the Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American Baseball Team by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday.It marks the first time in school history the Gamecocks had two players earn Freshman All-America honors and the fifth straight season a JSU player has been named to the Freshman All-America squad.“This is an outstanding honor for both Kyle and Sam,” said JSU head coach Jim Case. “They both played a tremendous role in the success of our team this year and I’m proud they were recognized for their accomplishments this season.”Bluestein became the third Jacksonville State player to earn the OVC Freshman of the Year award last month. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native led the team with a .393 batting average with 21 doubles, nine home runs and 46 RBI. He was named to the OVC All-Newcomer team and also to the 2009 OVC All-Tournament squad after helping the Gamecocks advance to the OVC title game for the fifth time in six years.Eberle lead the Gamecocks with 11 home runs and finished with season with 45 RBI. He was named to the OVC All-Newcomer team and also to the 2009 OVC All-Tournament team. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native was named OVC Player of the Week in April after slugging five home runs, including tying the JSU school record with three home runs vs Kennesaw State on April 14th.