Dec. 6, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State Head Baseball Coach Tim Mooney announced Friday the addition of seven players who signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.
"This is the best recruiting class since I've been here," Mooney said. "We're not done either. These players that we signed will leave their marks at Washington State before their careers are over."
Mooney will welcome five high school seniors and two junior college players next fall. The early signing class includes: outfielder Jason Freeman (Kennewick, Wash.), pitchers Jared Arehart (Idaho Falls, Idaho), Jordan Pratt (Monmouth, Ore.), Bryan Stone (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Wayne Daman Jr. (Beaver, Wash.) and infielders Jeff Miller (Bellevue, Wash.) and Justin McClure (Anaheim Hills, Calif.).
"I like the ability they have," Mooney said. "We covered every area we needed and we felt we got the best kids that fit our program."
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Freeman was a First Team All-NWAACC East selection last season at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash. He also was the MVP of the prestigious Pacific International League last summer while playing for the Wenatchee Applesox.
"We couldn't have asked for a better fit," Mooney said. "He's a little guy, but with power and strength."
Arehart (6-foot-2, 174 pounds) was named his conference's player of the year last season at Idaho Falls High School and Mooney envisions him as a versatile player able to pitch or play the infield.
"He's a legitimate two-way guy," Mooney said. "He was recruited to do both. He gives us tremendous flexibility."
Pratt, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, is a great athlete who was the Valco League Player of the Year in football and basketball last season at Central High School in Independence, Ore., and was a first team all-league pitcher. Mooney believes Pratt, an Area Code Games selection last season, could have an instant effect on WSU's pitching staff.
"Pratt will be an impact guy as a freshman," Mooney said. "He's a very impressive guy."
Stone (6-foot, 175 pounds) batted .410 last year as an outfielder and pitcher at Central Arizona College, which won the Junior College National Championship.
"Stone is a junior college guy that brings a lot athleticism," Mooney said. "We just thought we needed one more guy with some experience and we think Stone is it."
Daman Jr. is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound pitcher and shortstop from Forks High School.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Miller is the brother of WSU freshman outfielder Jay Miller and hails from state powerhouse Newport High School. Mooney expects the talented second baseman to contribute immediately. Miller chose the Cougars over Washington.
"I love his mentality," Mooney said. "He's a tough, tough competitor and offensively he can play right now."
McClure is a big (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) shortstop, whom Mooney thinks is another freshman who can play immediately.
"He's physical enough and has enough offense to play right away," Mooney said.
As for the recruiting class in general, Mooney believes the Cougars are headed in the right direction.
"I'm really very happy," Mooney said. "We really needed infielders and pitchers and we got them. We got who we thought was the best junior college pitcher. We got some real difference makers who want to be Cougars through-and-through."