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Baseball team lands nine in early signing

Head baseball coach Walt White’s tenure at CSUMB is off to a good start with the early signing of nine recruits for fall 2011.

“This is the best early-sign class I have had in my 16 years of coaching,” White said. “This is a deep, balanced, dynamic, and athletic class that will come in and have a huge impact on our program. Every one of these players has great baseball ability, but more importantly, they bring an attitude and personality to our program that will set the tone for this baseball team from here on out.”

With the new recruits, White thinks his team will have the potential to emerge as a national power.

“The recruiting process by our staff was all about building relationships, trust, and the belief in our program by these players. This is the first step of something very special. We will put this recruiting class up against any other one in the nation . . . at any level.”

The recruits are:

• Matt Blake, right-handed pitcher from West Ranch High School. Blake was part of two playoff teams in the very tough Foothill Athletic League. Through fall games, he sports a 1.81 ERA.

• Chris Blanton, first baseman, outfielder, left-handed pitcher from Burlingame High School. Blanton’s team won the Central Coast Section Division II Championship in 2010. As a junior, he was named All-Peninsula Athletic League first team, All-San Mateo County first team and All-Northern California second team. Blanton was also named to the all-tournament team in the prestigious NorCal World Series. He holds Burlington school records for RBI in a game (6) and in a season (37).

• Steven Farnworth, right-handed pitcher from West Ranch High School. In the Valley Invitational League, Farnworth compiled a 2.62 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 24 innings, and a 4.5 strikeout/walk ratio. • Devin Finn, outfielder from Amador Valley High School. Finn led his team to an East Bay Athletic League title and the first North Coast Section title in school history. During his junior year, Finn batted .330 with five doubles. • Nolan Flashman, right-handed pitcher from University High School. During his junior season at University, Flashman earned an All-League first team selection with a 4-2 record, 2.28 ERA and.197 opponent batting average. He was also dominant at the plate, hitting .426 with 30 RBI.

• Garrett Gemgnani, catcher from Culver City High School. As a junior, he was the most valuable player in the Ocean Athletic League, batting .326 with 30 runs scored and 32 runs batted in while flashing supreme defensive skills. • Matt Urakami, infielder from Branham High School. An All-Blossom Valley Athletic League first team infielder in 2010, he hit .402 with a .622 slugging percentage and a .510 on-base percentage. He is widely considered one of the premier defensive players in Northern California. • Cody Van Aken, right-handed pitcher and catcher from Live Oak High School. Van Aken is a threat on the mound and behind the plate. The All-Blossom Valley Athletic League first-team selection batted .391 with a .596 slugging percentage and 18 runs batted in. As a pitcher he went 4-3, striking out 29 batters in 35 innings. • Jesse White, catcher from Salinas High School. White led the Cowboys to a 22-8 record in 2010 behind the plate with his stellar glove work and rocket arm. He was named to the All-Tri-County Athletic League second team.

Coach White joined CSUMB in July after 15 seasons as an assistant at Sonoma State. In 2008, he was instrumental in leading the Seawolves to a third-place finish in the NCAA Division II World Series after winning the CCAA and NCAA West Regional championships.

He was the starting shortstop at Sonoma State in 1993 and 1994, then spent five seasons in the Florida Marlins minor-league system and three years at Triple A Tucson in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization. In 2002, he returned to Sonoma State to earn his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. In 2005, he received a master’s degree in education from the University of Phoenix.

To read Coach White’s comments on each player, click