Dec. 8, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - With their previous two recruiting classes ranked in the top-40 alongside a number of elite college baseball programs throughout the nation, the Cal State Northridge Matadors have taken a giant step towards receiving accolades once again as they begin to assemble their 2011 recruiting class.
Seniors Harley Holt (Kamehameha HS/Honolulu, Hawaii), Jeff McNeil (Nipomo HS/Nipomo, Calif.), and Chester Pak (Diamond Bar HS/Diamond Bar, Calif.) have all signed national letters of intent to compete for Head Coach Steve Rousey and his baseball team next season.
After compiling large incoming classes in previous seasons, Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Mark Kertenian and the rest of the staff decided to focus their recruiting efforts on a finite number of student-athletes in an effort to build as solid a team as possible in the years to come.
"This recruiting class was designed to be smaller in size to address specific needs of the future with the highest quality of players. We have signed three players, all of whom fit into the team's philosophy and overall identity," said Kertenian.
All three signees are highly decorated, each has the potential to make an immediate and positive impact on the program once they arrive on-campus next fall.
A 6'0 RHP from Honolulu, Hawaii, Holt has recently participated in a number of high-profile amateur baseball events including the Arizona Fall Classic, East Cobb Wood Bat Championships, and the Perfect Game National Championships, drawing the interest of numerous baseball professionals in the process.
An athletic pitcher who has been a shortstop for most of his career, Holt is known for his competitive nature who attacks hitters with an aggressive mix of pitches.
"Harley has proven to our coaching staff through the recruiting process that he is eager to learn the necessary fundamentals needed to become a top-notch Division I pitcher," stated Kertenian.
"Our coaching staff believes that he will continue to develop throughout the spring at Kamehameha High School thanks to the veteran coaching staff comprised of Head Coach Vern Ramey and Assistant Coaches Al Kam (who also founded the prestigious Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League), Joe Kamai, Isaac Kamai, Scott Paiva, and Billy Piper.
Holt finished the 2009 season with a 1-0 record and 0.00 ERA in his 18 2/3 innings pitched, allowed only seven hits, struckout 12 batters, and led the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in nearly all pitching categories during Kamehameha's recent post-season run.
An accomplished three-sport standout (baseball, basketball, golf) from Nipomo, Calif., McNeil has spent the last three spring seasons focused on establishing himself as one of the premier amateur golfers in the state having recently participated in the US Junior Amateur Championship.
In 2008-09 McNeil averaged over 17 points per game as a member of the Titan's basketball team before deciding to spend the summer and fall months honing his skills and talents on the diamond.
Ever since McNeil has dedicated himself solely to baseball, the 6'1 shortstop has "morphed into an extremely talented and hard-nosed young player who offers a healthy combination of speed, athleticism, and grit to the Matadors," exclaimed Kertenian.
During the last six months, McNeil has competed for the California Wahoos Baseball Club based in California's Central Coast Region as their leadoff hitter. Managed by former Matador and current Cleveland Indians scout Vince Sagisi, he continues to develop and enhance his skill set and base of experiences through Sagisi's guidance in an effort to become as highly talented and well-prepared as possible for the rigors of a Division-I schedule.
After spending his summers playing for the SoCal Bombers Baseball Club coached by Ed Sifuentes and the fall months as a member of the Boston Red Sox Scout Team led by Red Sox scout Jim "Woody" Woodward, Pak will once again don a red jersey as a member of the Matador baseball team.
The 6'0 infielder/outfielder from Diamond Bar, Calif., initially caught the attention of Kertenian due to his "compact swing and aggressiveness at the plate. Pak is a dynamic hitter who also possesses the speed and power needed to distress pitchers and punish the opposing team once on base."
A versatile defender who has been successful playing all infield and outfield positions with great range and athleticism at Diamond Bar High School, Pak has drawn raves from the Matador coaching staff due to his many similarities with current Matador and former Big West Freshman of the Year Ryan Pineda.
Last season Park finished with a .456 average, 41 hits, six home runs, and 22 RBI's en route to earning All-Sierra League First Team and All-San Gabriel League Second Team honors.
Harley Holt: RHP (L/R), 6'0", 150 - Kamehameha HS/Honolulu, Hawaii
Jeff McNeil: SS (L/R), 6'1", 155 - Nipomo HS/Nipomo, Calif.
Chester Pak: INF/OF (R/R), 6'0", 180 - Diamond Bar HS/Diamond Bar, Calif.