OMAHA, Neb. – Head coach Evan Porter announced the signing of nine student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The Mavericks welcome Conner Barnett, Nolan Brown, Harrison Denk, Chris Esposito, Tanner Howe, Garrett Kennedy, Gavin Pitts, Brady Posch and Easton Smith for the 2020 season.
“We are thrilled to have these nine student-athletes join our baseball family,” said Porter. “Our staff did an excellent job of building and maintaining relationships with this recruiting class.
“The most integral part of our recruiting philosophy involves getting high-character players. We look for guys that treat people the right way, respect their teammates, coaches and themselves. When you combine that aspect with talent, special things will happen. This class exemplifies those traits, and we are excited to welcome this talented group into our program.”
Conner Barnett | INF/OF | R/R | 5-11 | 175 | Papillion, Neb.
Barnett comes from Papillion-LaVista High School and is a three-year letterwinner who played for head coach Nate McCabe. For the Monarchs, he earned letters in baseball and football. As a sophomore, he was part of a Legion state championship team, and he led the state in stolen bases during the 2018 Legion season last summer.
“We started recruiting Conner during his sophomore year in high school,” said Porter. “During that time, we’ve developed a great relationship with him. Conner is the type of person we want representing our program. He is a natural-born leader and a versatile player on the field who can play multiple positions. We can’t wait to have him join our baseball family.”
Nolan Brown | INF | R/R | 5-10 | 185 | Waverly, Neb.
Brown joins the Mavericks from Waverly High School. For the Vikings, he was a letterwinner in baseball and football. Most recently as a junior, he garnered all-state honorable mention and was named to the all-conference team.
“Nolan is a multi-sport athlete for Waverly and an intense competitor,” said Porter. “He is an infielder with a great baseball IQ who brings passion and energy to every game he plays. He is a confident and intelligent player, and we are thrilled to have Nolan join our baseball family.”
Harrison Denk | OF | S/R | 5-10 | 185 | Andale, Kan.
Denk recently helped Barton Community College to a Jayhawk West and Region VI Championship en route to the program’s first appearance in the JUCO World Series. At Andale High School, he earned all-state and all-league honors multiple times throughout his career.
“We first saw Harrison in the JUCO College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.,” said Porter. “He was a spark plug for his team last year as a switch-hitting leadoff man. Harrison sets the tone by being a remarkably difficult ‘out’ at the plate. He is a super guy, and we look forward to having Harrison join our baseball family in Omaha.”
Chris Esposito | INF | R/R | 6-0 | 180 | Overland Park, Kan.
A transfer from Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan., Esposito recently helped his team to an appearance in the 2018 Jayhawk Conference tournament and batted .382 on the season. When he was at Blue Valley Southwest High School, he was a first-team Kansas Class 5A All-State selection.
“Chris is a slick-fielding infielder who can really swing the bat,” said Porter. “He’ll play shortstop this year for a very talented Johnson Community College team and will be a substantial part of their upcoming success. Chris is an extraordinarily hard worker, and we are thrilled to have him in Omaha.”
Tanner Howe | RHP | R/R | 6-0 | 170 | Great Bend, Kan.
Howe comes from Barton Community College as a pitcher where he recently broke his school record for appearances as a freshman and helped his team to its first JUCO World Series berth in program history as a sophomore. He also earned a Jayhawk West and Region VI title along with being a high school state champion and a multiple-time Eastern Kansas League honoree.
“We’ve seen Tanner throw multiple times at Barton Community College, and he is as resilient as they come,” said Porter. “He is a bulldog on the mound and has the ability to throw multiple days in a row. He has the ability to expose weaknesses with his command of multiple pitches and is a great teammate and person. We are thrilled to have him in Omaha.”
Garrett Kennedy | OF | R/R | 6-1 | 175 | Omaha, Neb.
Kennedy is a local from Millard West High School in Omaha where he most recently helped his team to a Legion state runner-up finish and a Legion regional tournament appearance.
“Garrett is a tremendous competitor and might be the fastest player in the state,” said Porter. “His speed translates well onto the baseball diamond as he is a plus baserunner and defender in the outfield. He is an impressive young man with a bright future. We are delighted to have him join the program.”
Gavin Pitts | OF | L/L | 5-9 | 170 | Cincinnati, Ohio
Pitts joins the Mavericks out of West Clermont High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has been named to the all-conference and academic all-conference teams multiple times. He was also named to the All-Ohio team by Prep Baseball Report.
“Gavin is left-handed hitting outfielder with an advanced baseball IQ,” said Porter. “He has a deep drive and passion to be the best player on the field who not only improves himself but others around him. He has tremendous plate discipline and can spray the ball to all parts of the field. We are delighted to have Gavin in Omaha.”
Brady Posch | LHP | L/L | 6-4 | 230 | Sauk Rapids, Minn.
Posch joins the Mavericks out of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School where he led his team on the mound with a 1.86 ERA last season. He also led his team in home runs and strikeouts, en route to earning all-conference and all-section honors. A four-year letterwinner, he has earned all-conference in each of his first three seasons.
“Brady is an imposing left-hander who really understands how to pitch,” said Porter. “He has excellent command of three different pitches and the ability to take over a game on the mound. He does a great job of attacking hitters and getting ahead early in the count. Brady is an extremely hard working player, and we are excited to have him join our program in Omaha.”
Easton Smith | RHP | R/R | 6-4 | 215 | Great Bend, Kan.
Smith comes to Omaha from Barton Community College, where he helped his team reach its first JUCO World Series appearance. He also earned a Jayhawk West and Region VI Championship and was named a second-team Academic All-American.
“Easton is an imposing figure on the mound and has the command and ‘stuff’ to excel at any level,” said Porter. “He has an arsenal of pitches with a plus breaking ball that he can throw in any count. He is projected to be a starter on a very talented Barton CC staff this year. We can’t wait for Easton to join our baseball family.”