Coastal Carolina

This local pitcher among recruits added by Coastal Carolina baseball, football squads

Coastal Carolina’s baseball team has gained a number of verbal commitments from high school players in recent weeks.
Coastal Carolina’s baseball team has gained a number of verbal commitments from high school players in recent weeks. jbell@thesunnews.com

Coastal Carolina baseball coach Gary Gilmore will be keeping a local talent at home, as St. James High sophomore pitcher Ethan Salak verbally committed this weekend to play for the Chanticleers beginning with the 2021-22 season.

As a freshman this past season, Salak helped St. James go 27-6, win the Region VII-4A title and come one win from the Class 4A state championship series.

He threw 87 mph in the preseason last year and went on to play a significant role for the Sharks, playing some left field and pitching in the Lower State championship game. He throws a slider and changeup in addition to his fastball, and visited both South Carolina and CCU’s Conway campus as a freshman.

“He was just really impressed and felt comfortable with Coastal Carolina,” St. James coach Robbie Centracchio said.

Gilmore has received some other commitments of late, including a few for the 2019-20 season.

High school seniors who have committed include infielder Connor Kirkley of McBee High; right-handed pitcher Michael Limoncelli of Elmira, N.Y., who has a fastball that has been clocked at 95 mph and a biting breaking ball; shortstop Dale Thomas from De Leon Springs, Fla., a 5-11, 185-pound smooth fielder and right-handed hitter; and right-handed pitcher Casey Green of Chesterfield, Va., who has a fastball clocked around 90 mph and an offspeed pitch.

Pitcher Luke Barrow of Oak Ridge, N.C. is a commitment for the class of 2020, and catcher Derek Bender of Albany Academy is in the class of 2021 with Salak.

Football adds commits

CCU football coach Joe Moglia has also garnered a few commitments recently for next season’s incoming class.

Isiah Grant is a 6-foot, 210-pound three-star athlete from Atlanta who plays running back and safety, and J.T. Killen is a 6-3, 215-pound linebacker from Charlotte Christian (N.C.) who had offers from several schools including Air Force, Army and Harvard, according to 247sports.com. He has also been recruited by colleges as a baseball player.

They give the Chants at least a dozen verbal commitments in the 2019 class, according to player Twitter accounts.

Previous in-state commits include Indian Land High safety Dorian Williams (6-2, 195), all-purpose back Joe Ervin of South Pointe High in Rock Hill, and Dutch Fork High offensive tackle Kameren Stewart.

Out-of-state commits include Newton-Conover High (N.C.) wide receiver and cornerback Myles Baker, Brevard (N.C.) High wide receiver and cornerback Luke Ellenberger, Richmond Hill (Ga.) High running back and slotback Aaron Bedgood, Science Hill (Tenn.) High offensive and defensive tackle Blake Austin, Whiteville (N.C.) High offensive and defensive lineman Donnell Wilson, Brooks County High (Ga.) receiver Deon Fountain, and Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian High linebacker Quewon Hilliard.

Beck on move

Former Coastal Carolina forward Demario Beck has signed to play for the Surrey Scorchers of the English Basketball League for the 2018-19 season. The Scorchers begin the season on Sept. 22 at home against the Glasgow Rocks.

Beck said in a Scorchers release the he “had a lot of options for the upcoming season, but after researching the team, the community and the league, I felt like the Scorchers are the perfect fit for me for the upcoming season. There is a real family feel to the Scorchers and that is very important to me.”

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Former Coastal Carolina basketball player Demario Beck is headed to England to play professionally. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com

Surrey head coach Creon Raftopoulos said of Beck through the team: “I believe Demario will be our energy guy. He’s an athletic forward that can defend multiple positions. I know he’s a hungry rookie real excited about starting his professional career with a winning season.”

The 24-year-old power forward joins former Alabama-Birmingham and Longwood University point guard Quincy Taylor as imports on the Surrey squad.

Beck was one of three players lost to graduation off CCU’s 2017-18 squad along with guards Jaylen Shaw of Hartsville and Christian Adams. Coastal coach Cliff Ellis said he believes Shaw will be playing in Greece next season.

Davis takes over

Kevin Davis, an assistant sports information director at Georgia Tech for the past two years, is Coastal Carolina’s new sports information director and assistant athletic director. He began Tuesday.

Davis, 35, replaces Mike Cawood, who accepted a job in July as an assistant SID at Arkansas after eight years at Coastal.

Davis is an Asheville, N.C., native who has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Gardner-Webb. He began working in sports information as a two-year grad assistant at his alma mater, was the first SID at Brevard College, returned to Gardner-Webb as an assistant SID from 2009-13, moved to Bowling Green for three seasons and has been at Georgia Tech for the past two, working with the football, baseball and swimming and diving teams.

“I’ve known Coastal Carolina since the Gardner-Webb days in the Big South Conference and I’ve seen Coastal grow,” Davis said. “This is a good place. I couldn’t pass it up when [AD] Matt [Hogue] offered it to me.”

Davis will be moving to the Grand Strand with wife, Bailey, and 2 1/2-year-old son Cooper.

Soccer rebounds

The CCU men’s soccer team, which reached the third round of the NCAA playoffs last season, was ranked 18th in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I preseason poll.

But the Chants dropped out of the ranking for Week 1 following a 4-0 defeat at home to UCLA, which was not ranked in the top 25 preseason poll but would have been ranked 27th based on its number of votes. UCLA temporarily moved up to No. 8 in the Week 1 poll but has since fallen out.

The Chants impressively bounced back from their lopsided opening loss with a 2-1 win at home over preseason No. 13 Georgetown on Aug. 26 – Georgetown is now ranked 20th – and added wins of 2-0 and 1-0 over Memphis and UAB, respectively, in Birmingham, Ala., elevating the Chants (3-1) back into the top 25 at No. 19.

The CCU women’s soccer team has started the season 1-2-1.

Volleyball favored

Coastal’s volleyball program is seeking its fifth consecutive conference championship and has been picked to win the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division.

The Chants have won the Sun Belt in their first two seasons in the league after claiming back-to-back Big South titles, and have to replace four-time conference player of the year Leah Hardeman. Sophomore outside hitter Kyla Manning was voted preseason all-conference.

While Coastal was picked to win the East Division with 67 total points in a poll of the league’s head coaches, South Alabama was picked to finish second with 63 points, and Texas State was predicted to win the West Division with 70 points. The Bobcats fell to CCU in the 2018 league championship match.

The Chants have started the season 1-4, are headed from a tournament in Hawaii to a tournament at Duke, and debut at home on Sept. 13 against College of Charleston.

Garren adjusts schedule

Coastal Carolina men’s golf coach Jim Garren has significantly changed Coastal’s fall schedule in his second season.

The Chants will play in some of the nation’s top golf events in 2018-19, and the fall schedule will feature four new top-tier events.

Coastal begins the season Sunday and Monday at Minnesota’s Gopher Invitational followed by the Northern Intercollegiate at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago, which hosted the 2017 NCAA Championship and 2009 Solheim Cup. Coastal will also play in the 64th William H. Tucker Intercollegiate at New Mexico’s South Course and North Texas’ Maridoe Intercollegiate, and it will return for the 11th time in 12 years to the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges in Jonesborough, Tenn.

The spring schedule has little change and includes the 18th annual General Hackler Championship on March 11-12 at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club for the fifth consecutive year.

Of the 13 teams committed to date, four played in the 2018 NCAA Championship (Texas A&M, Kent State, Kentucky and North Florida) while five additional teams participated in an NCAA Regional (CCU, Georgia, Liberty, Louisville and Wake Forest).

Coastal and the Myrtle Beach Regional Sports Alliance will host the 2019 NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional at TPC Myrtle Beach from May 12-15.

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