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Baseball adds 10 early signees, majority local talent

The USF baseball team signed two more players to National Letters of Intent on Tuesday, both of whom will be eligible for the 2007 academic year, announced coach Eddie Cardieri.

Infielder Ryan Soares and right-handed pitcher Shawn Sanford join designated hitter Greg Coffman of Gaither High School, right-handed pitcher Mark Diapoules of Martin County High School, left-handed pitcher Troy Graybill of Sarasota High School, utility player Taylor Hashman of Naples High School, catcher Pete Woodworth and right-handed pitcher Matt Sull of St. Pete Catholic, and Matt Quevedo and J.C. Suarez of Tampa Catholic High School, both of whom have seen action as pitchers, of those signed during the early period.

Like years past, Cardieri has focused on obtaining the local talent from the Bay area, which he says he’s been doing most of his career.

“We have always been about the Tampa Bay area first,” Cardieri said. “Then the rest of the state of Florida next and then out-of-state for blue chips guys like (White Sox player) Ross Gload and Jason Dellaero – whoever. That’s been our philosophy, and we’ve pretty much stuck to it.”

However, Cardieri knows sometimes the philosophy isn’t always sound.

“We thought we got what we needed,” said Cardieri, who enters his 21st season as coach. “Then, of course, you never know until they get out on the field. You know, they’re good high school players, and we’ll hope they make it through the June draft and they show up; they’re a good class.”

Included in the local talent are the standouts from Tampa Catholic: Suarez and Quevedo.

A right-handed pitcher, Quevedo had two grand slams in one game and four total in his junior season, while Suarez, Cardieri said, has speed to utilize.

“J.C. Suarez is more of a speed guy,” Cardieri said. “He can really run, sprays line drives all over the place, can lay down a good bunt and will be a good defensive outfielder.

“Matt Quevedo is going to get a shot on the mound as well as on the field. We’ll have to see how his bat comes along and how his pitching comes along before we decide whether he is one or the other.”

Another pitcher that will be getting a good look will be Diapoules, who has a fastball clocked at 88 mph, a curveball at 76 and a changeup at 77.

“He’s got pretty good stuff,” Cardieri said. “His fastball moves and sinks. His breaking ball is real sharp. He can throw strikes, competes real well and has a chance to be a real good pitcher.”

The Bulls open their season with a three-game series against Northwestern starting Feb. 10.