MARTIN, Tenn. – Alex Martin, Tyler Anderson, Max Balter and Chase Young have all signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball at The University of Tennessee at Martin, head coach Bubba Cates has announced.
Martin is a transfer out of Jackson State Community College in nearby Jackson, while the trio of Anderson, Balter and Young are rounding out their high school careers before advancing to UT Martin next fall.
“Hopefully Alex and these three freshmen will be foundational pieces for our program,” Cates said. “They are all athletic and have the ability to be good college players.”
A 6-0, 185-pound right-handed pitcher out of Clarksville, Martin will have two seasons of eligibility remaining with the Skyhawks. Currently playing under head coach Tyson Malik, Martin filled a variety of roles in 2012 for the Generals, who posted a 34-18 record. Martin went 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 appearances, conceding 29 hits while fanning 12 batters. Seven of his 10 appearances were multi-inning outings, including a career-high six frames against Walters State Community College on March 25.
Playing his high school ball alongside current Skyhawk Troy Holland at Rossview High School in Clarksville, Martin enjoyed a remarkable senior season. He went undefeated (8-0) on the hill on his way to earning 2011 Pitcher of the Year accolades from the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle newspaper. Overall, the Hawks completed their best season in school history, going 30-10 with a 16-2 league record under head coach Jason Rice. Martin led RHS to the regular season 10AAA and district tournament championship in 2011, earning multiple accolades – including all-area Pitcher and Player of the Year honors.
“We have some good connections and ties to Jackson State and we feel Alex is a late bloomer,” Cates said. “He’s really developed over the last year and threw a lot of quality innings. He broke some new ground and showed increased velocity in the span of one year and was pitching at a higher level, maturing at the right time.”
Anderson is a utility player out of Sikeston Senior High School in Sikeston, Mo. Playing for head coach Alan Scheeter, the 6-2, 185-pound Anderson was a Class 4, District 1 first team selection in 2012, as well as a SEMO Conference honorable mention by the Dexter Daily Statesman newspaper. Primarily playing outfield, he has earned all-district and all-conference accolades in each of his first three seasons as a Bulldog. He experienced tremendous success at an early age, as he was named the batting champion at the 2007 Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Md., and still holds records for most hits in a game, home runs in a game and home runs in a series in the Babe Ruth League World Series. A true athlete, Anderson also lettered in soccer and basketball in high school.
“Tyler is versatile – he can play shortstop, outfield and pitch,” Cates said. “He can be used in a lot of different ways and his versatility will allow us to get him in lots of ballgames. He’s a hard thrower and a very athletic player.”
A 6-0, 175-pound infielder, Balter attends Western High School in Davie, Fla. Primarily playing shortstop for head coach Paul Barnes, he was a 2012 honorable mention All-Broward County selection by the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper. He led the Wildcats with a .365 batting average while also tallying team-highs in hits, RBI, doubles and slugging percentage while also ranking fourth in his district in hits, RBI and doubles. He was identified by Jim Gemler as a Top Underclassmen prospect by Baseball America after a fall tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. in 2011.
“One thing we look for in a high school prospect is if he is projectable because of his tools and Max fits that mold,” Cates said. “He runs well and has a very good arm and we think he can develop into a nice player in college. He has ties to the state of Tennessee – as his mother is from Knoxville and his grandfather ran track at Tennessee in the 1950’s.”
Young plays for head coach Brian Becker at Dexter High School in Dexter, Mo. but the 5-10, 170-pound outfielder originally grew up in Martin after both of his parents attended UT Martin. Young is coming off back-to-back all-SEMO Conference and all-district first team accolades. As a junior, he hit .408 with 29 runs scored and 28 RBI to go along with seven doubles and 11 stolen bases. Like fellow signee Anderson, Young is a three-sport athlete, also playing football and basketball. Primarily lining up at wide receiver, he was recently named as an all-SEMO Conference selection for the third straight season.
“Chase is a local guy and we have known him all his life,” Cates said. “He’s a versatile, solid, very athletic player who was a three-sport standout in high school. Sometimes when you get those guys and they focus on one sport in college, they apply all their energy into that sport and they improve.”