BOONE, N.C. – App State baseball has announced 15 new additions to the program heading into the 2023 season. The newcomers are comprised of five freshmen and ten transfers.
Jake Beaty – LHP
As a left-handed pitcher at South Point High School, Beaty capped his career with an incredible senior year, posting a 0.74 ERA and striking out 71 batters in 45.2 innings of work. He allowed just 13 hits and five earned runs on the season. Beaty was named to the All-Conference team at the end of the season. The Belmont, N.C. native features a fastball, curveball, and changeup.
Carter Boyd – Utility/RHP
Joining the Mountaineers from Lewisville, N.C., Boyd enjoyed an illustrious career at Reagan High School, highlighted by delivering a no-hitter against Fuquay-Varina in the opening round of the state tournament in 2021, finishing with 11 strikeouts in seven innings. It marked the first no-hitter in an NCHSAA championship series since 2012. On the mound Boyd features a low-90s fastball and a changeup. When he’s not pitching Boyd can also play both the infield and the outfield.
CJ Boyd – Utility/RHP
Boyd transfers to App State after two years at East Carolina to join forces with his younger brother Carter. Boyd homered against Wichita State for his first collegiate hit in 2021, and went on to play in 34 games across two seasons, including three outings on the mound. Boyd was also an AAC Academic All-American in 2021 with the Pirates. The Lewisville, N.C. native enjoyed a standout career at Reagan High School, where he was an All-Conference selection as a junior, and participated in the 2020 National High School Invitational hosted by USA Baseball. He was ranked as the No. 18 overall prospect in the state of North Carolina by Perfect Game.
Skylar Brooks – INF/RHP
A Wilkesboro, N.C. native, Brooks spent the last three years at East Carolina, most recently making 14 appearances on the mound in 2022. In 12 innings he struck out 14 batters, posting a 4.50 ERA. Brooks made three appearances as a freshman, all at the plate, going 5-for-11 with two doubles before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 he played in 13 games before suffering a season-ending injury. A three-sport athlete at Wilkes Central High School, Brooks played baseball, football, and basketball, concluding his career on the diamond with a .445 average and 11 home runs, serving as a captain for three seasons. Entering the 2022 season he was listed as the 28th-best prospect in The American for the 2022 MLB Draft by D1Baseball.
Dante Chirico – RHP
Originally from Chapin, South Carolina, Chirico attended Dutch Fork High School before beginning his collegiate career with two seasons at Northwest Florida State College. In 2022 he made 16 appearances (seven starts), going 5-2, while also recording a save. He struck out 67 batters in 53.2 innings of work, walking just 17 on the year. Chirico’s arsenal is highlighted by a 93 mile-per-hour fastball, which led to him being ranked as the 6th best right-handed pitcher, and 12th overall prospect, in the state of South Carolina by Perfect Game in 2020.
Golston Gillespie – INF
A redshirt senior out of Ila, Ga., Gillespie joins the Mountaineers following two years at Tennessee Tech. During his time with the Golden Eagles, Gillespie belted 24 home runs, and 18 doubles, while drawing 61 walks and batting .258 across two seasons. The 6-foot-3-inch first baseman began his career at Ole Miss, where he redshirted as a freshman, before transferring to Wallace Community College-Dothan for two seasons. Gillespie was the No. 15 overall prospect in Georgia coming out of Madison County High School, helping the Red Raiders to a 4A Region Championship his senior year. He also lettered three years in basketball.
Zach Lewis – RHP
Following a redshirt year at Wake Forest, Zach Lewis travels up the Mountain to join App State. The Winston-Salem, N.C. native was a standout at West Forsyth High School, where he garnered 2021 Preseason First Team All-American recognition by Perfect Game, after earning second team honors the year prior. After not pitching this past spring, Lewis spent the summer with the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Futures League where he struck out 16 batters in 16 innings of work, running his fastball up to 93 miles-per-hour. He compliments his heater with a slider and a changeup.
Xavier Moronta – OF
An outfielder from Miramar, Fla., Moronta has spent the last three seasons with Santa Fe College. The left-handed hitter blistered at the plate in 2022 slashing .344/.439/.490 with 14 doubles and three home runs for the Saints. In high school, he helped Doral Academy to a runner-up finish in 2019, and earned the Bright Futures Florida Medallion Scholarship for his efforts in the classroom.
Ryan Sleeper – LHP
A 6-foot-4-inch lefty from Lakeville, Minn., Sleeper has spent the past two seasons pitching for Wabash Valley Junior College, since returning from Tommy John surgery the year prior. Sleeper works from a three-quarter arm slot, featuring a fastball, changeup, slider, and cutter. Once rated as the third best product in the state of Minnesota, Sleeper posted a 2.63 ERA in 13 outings for the Warriors in 2022, following up a 2021 campaign where his ERA was just 0.96 over 10 appearances.
Jackson Steensma – RHP/1B
From Byron Center, Mich., Steensma makes his way to the High Country to join the Mountaineers pitching staff. On the mound his senior season, Steensma enjoyed an outing in which he struck out 16 consecutive hitters over a two-game span. At the plate, he impressed as a switch-hitting first baseman, who has belted home runs from each side of the dish. Steensma has worked his fastball into the low-90s this spring, while complementing it with a curveball and a changeup. He was named to the East Cobb Showcase Top Prospect List this spring.
Tommy Walker – C
After concluding his senior season at Providence High School in Charlotte, N.C., Walker will make his way up the mountain to join the Mountaineers. Walker was named an All-State selection, and co-conference Player of the Year this spring after helping Providence to an undefeated season and the North Carolina 4A State Championship. Walker lined a go-ahead single in the tenth inning of the state title game to help the Panthers become the first 34-0 team in state history.
Collin Welch – RHP
Welch comes to the Mountaineers from Florence Darlington, where he last pitched in 2021. That season he appeared in six games, making four starts, and went 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 19.2 innings of work. Welch is originally from Lillington, N.C., where he played for Western Harnett High School. He features a mid-90s fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.
Hunter Wilder – OF
A native of Port Charlotte, Fla., Wilder comes to App State following three seasons at South Florida Sate College. The left-handed outfielder got off to a strong start in 2019, batting .317 through 25 games before the season was canceled due to the pandemic. Despite being limited to just 20 games in 2022 due to injury, Wilder posted a perfect fielding percentage in the outfield, helping his team to a 30-win season.
Bradley Wilson – RHP
Wilson spent the last three years at East Carolina. This past season he made seven appearances, striking out eight batters in 7.2 innings, and earned his first collegiate save at Cincinnati on April 3. Wilson made three outings in 2020, prior to the pandemic, and did not pitch in 2021. Wilson pitched at Western Harnett High School where he was a two-time All-Conference selection, finishing his prep career with a 2.01 ERA. Wilson was twice an AAC All-Academic team selection during his time in Greenville.
Jonathan Xuereb – INF/RHP
After leading North Broward Prep to a State Championship this spring, Xuereb, an infielder and right-handed pitcher, will suit up for the Mountaineers. After playing at Calvary Christian to start his varsity career, Xuereb transferred to North Broward Prep for his senior year. Not only did he go 3-0 on the mound and record two saves, but he also hit .388 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, and 16 extra-base hits.