Menlo College adds plenty of talent to baseball program


Menlo College Baseball has added a slew of talent into the fold for the upcoming season with the announcement of its 10-player recruiting class.

Six members of the class will enter this season as true freshman while three junior transfers and one senior, Sacramento State transfer Dane Fujinaka, adding a veteran presence to the talented class.

Dane Fujinaka
"This class shows a commitment to our future," said third year head coach Jake McKinley. "We invested in young talent that we feel will develop soon into premier players in the GSAC."

Improving team defense, bolstering the pitching staff and adding team speed were all areas addressed in this recruiting class according to Coach McKinley.

The Oaks fielded at a .955 clip in 2015 which tied them for 77th in the nation, stole 53 bases in 55 games and ended the season with a team ERA of 4.38. They finished the season with a 33-22 record, good for the most regular season wins in school history.

"These areas should be dramatically improved from a year ago with a well-balanced blend of high school and junior college talent," noted McKinley.

In addition to the clear on-field talent added, McKinley noted the character of the incoming class as another point of elation.

"Perhaps what excites me most about this class is the character of the individuals we are bringing in. They have all thrived in the classroom, as well as on the field, and come from programs that have won at high levels. They are all excited to compete in one of the best conferences in the NAIA and are great fits for Menlo College," said McKinley. "A huge credit has to go to our assistant coaches David Tufo and Jason Ochart for their tireless work to help put this class together."

Recruiting Class:

Reed Kienle – UTIL, R/R, will be a JR. Franklin Pierce College.

Scouting Report:

Speedy utility player that transfers from a top 10 program in the nation (Div. II). Has seen time in his career in center field, as well as the middle infield.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Reed is the kind of player and person we want representing our program. He is an exceptionally hard worker that has improved a ton since I first saw him. He's well tooled on both sides of the ball and offers much needed speed to our team. In addition, he boasts a nearly perfect GPA in his college career."

Justin Cooney – OF/1B, L/L, will be a FR., La Quinta HS (La Quinta, Calif.).

Scouting Report:

A native of La Quinta, Calif., Justin is a left handed bat that should contribute right away for the Oaks. Has shown home run power and is versatile on defense.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Justin was a great get for us. Not only is he well skilled with the bat, we have a few different options for him on defense. He's an athletic kid that should be a big power threat for us in his career. I'm thrilled he will be donning the Oak's uniform for four years.

Sam Morgan – CF, R/R, will be a JR., College of Marin.

Scouting Report:

Speedy outfielder that was College of Marin's most consistent offensive player down the stretch. Played centerfield every day for Marin and will compete for a spot in the Oaks outfield.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Adding team speed in the recruiting process was a major goal of ours and we have accomplished this by getting Sam Morgan. In addition to running well, I believe he will hit for power during his time here."

Dalton Maxwell – IF, S/R, will be a FR., Nevada Union High School

Scouting Report:

Very good defensive SS that will enter his Freshman year with the Oaks. Switch hitter that has shown increased power this summer.

Head Coach Analysis:

"I'm thrilled Dalton is joining the family. He has great makeup both on and off the field. I trust that he will make all the plays on defense and he has shown the ability to compete well on both sides of the plate as a switch hitter. In addition, he has thrived in school, boasting a GPA north of 4.0."

Walker Musso – MINF, R/R, will be a FR., Sheldon High School

Scouting Report:

Polished second baseman that will compete on the Oak's infield as a true freshman. Currently hitting .360 in summer ball and has yet to commit an error.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Walker Musso is a grinder and I trust he will be an impact player for us sooner rather than later. He's very polished defensively and should hit for increased power as his career evolves."

Dane Fujinaka – C, R/R, will be a SR., Sacramento State

Scouting Report:

Has been a key member of the Sacramento State Baseball program for the last three years. He was the everyday catcher for the Hornets 2013-14 regional team and started all of the Hornet's 56 games his freshman year.

Head Coach Analysis:

"I couldn't be happier to add Dane to this class. Having coached him, I know first-hand that he's a winner. He's been coached by one of the best coaches in all of college baseball in Reggie Christiansen. He makes pitchers better and will consistently give competitive at bats. Our pitchers will love throwing to him."

Cruz Daddario – RHP, will be a FR., Faith Lutheran HS (NV)

Scouting Report:

A physical RHP who was the ace at Nevada's state champion Faith Lutheran High School. He is a strike thrower who has flashed 89 mph with the fastball and dazzled in 2015 with an 8-0 record and a 2.00 ERA.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Cruz Daddario is a big time grab for us. He was arguably one of the best pitchers in the greater Las Vegas area his senior year. Experience in high pressure games will inevitably help him from the second he steps on campus. He's 6'3 with a lot of room to grow. He pounds the zone and is a super competitive kid."

Nick Bonniksen – RHP, will be a FR., El Dorado HS

Scouting Report:

One of the top pitchers in the Sac Joaquin Section in 2015, he went 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA. In addition, he led El Dorado to their best season in school history as the team's starting quarterback, going undefeated. He had staggering strikeout to walk numbers and also hit .432 in his senior year. He will be expected to make an immediate impact.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Nick played for Rusty McDonald, who I believe is one of the best high school coaches in the game. He pounds the strike zone and has great feel for the breaking ball already. He has a ton of room to grow and I believe he will be a force in our rotation during his career."

Brian Ransom – RHP, will be a JR., College of San Mateo

Scouting Report:

Ransom is the second College of San Mateo signee in as many years, joining former teammate and current Oak Skyler Fuss. Ransom helped the Bulldogs reach the super regional in 2015, going 2-2 with a 2.49 ERA and 2 saves out of the bullpen.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Brian undoubtedly will help us a ton in his two years here. He only walked 6 guys in 2015 and he commands the slider exceptionally well. Whatever role he pitches in, we know we are going to have a strike thrower and competitor in him. A top notch teammate and person, we are very excited to add Brian to the Oak's family."

Alexander Thompson – C (R/R), will be a freshman, Meadowwood High School (WA)

Scouting Report:

Big, physical catcher who represents the lone Northwest signee in this class. At 6'1, 215 lbs, Thompson has shown great catch and throw skills with occasional power at the plate.

Head Coach Analysis:

"Alex finishes off a class of great people. He is an exceptional student that will make an impact on our program in his career. He has shown great power and does a great job behind the plate. His best days are unquestionably ahead of him."

— Menlo Athletics

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