Minnesota Crookston baseball adds nine players in class of 2021
Wednesday, Nov. 11 was the first day that many high school athletes could sign National Letters of Intent to play college athletics. The Minnesota Crookston baseball program received nine commitments, their first of the 2021 signing class.
In a press release, coach Steve Gust said that UMC tried to bring in the best all-around athletes, regardless of position, and gave credit to recruiting coordinator Max Casper for identifying talent and guiding them to sign with the Golden Eagles.
Cameron DeMaria, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound first baseman and right-handed pitcher from Fresno, Calif., has a UMC connection already — his brother, Alec, is an assistant coach. At Caruthers H.S., he hit .522 as a sophomore to lead his conference, and was named an Under Armour Preseason All-American in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
"It was tough not to notice such a big kid," Gust said. "His size is obviously a plus and makes him very projectable. Some of his hitting numbers are very impressive. He can also throw it. It's not too often that we get a chance to sign a student-athlete that already has a strong physical presence and is only going to get bigger, faster and stronger."
Nolan Dodds, from West Fargo, is a 5-foot-11, 155-pound outfielder and right-handed pitcher who Gust said will play both ways for the Golden Eagles, but projects as a high-level pitcher especially. He is a two-time varsity letter winner for Sheyenne H.S.
"He can play the outfield and pitch at high levels," Gust said. "Nolan will have to develop physically, but he has a high ceiling."
Justin Dykhoff will join his older brother Jake at UMC next season. A 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed pitcher/infielder from Wadena, he follows in his brother's footsteps by coming from Minnesota State Community and Technical College, where he posted a 2.57 ERA in seven innings in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.
"Once we signed his brother last season, we had our eyes set on Justin," Gust said. "He has a high baseball IQ and some physical tools that cannot be taught. Along with his brother, we expect Justin to anchor our pitching staff. He put up some unbelievable numbers in high school both as a pitcher and position player. He gives us options as a two-way player."
In Dalton Garbers, Minnesota Crookston adds a 6-foot-3, 225-pound utility player from Sioux Falls Lincoln H.S. in South Dakota. Garbers hit .281 this spring for his American Legion Post 307 team.
"We believe Dalton is a hidden gem in South Dakota," Gust said. "He has size, strength and the ability to swing the bat at a high level. He is just an all-around solid player that should compete for playing time his freshman year."
Angelo Pacyga comes to Crookston by way of Sunfish Lake. The 6-foot-1 outfielder helped lead St. Thomas Academy to a state championship as a sophomore in 2019.
"Angelo has great desire and passion along with some valuable tools as a player," Gust stated. "We expect his work ethic to be extraordinary. He is our type of player and one that shouldn't be underestimated."
Infielder Cam Quinlan, from Cottage Grove, plays for Hill-Murray H.S. and plays travel ball with Take the Field. He comes from a baseball family: his father, Craig, played in the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league system, and two of his uncles — Tom and Robb — played Major League Baseball.
"Cam has some physical skills that we are looking for in a player," Gust said. "He is a versatile player and provides some much needed depth to our infield. We feel he will develop into an all-around solid student-athlete."
Isaac Roers, a 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher from Stacy, played at Forest Lake H.S. and for the Minnesota Icemen Baseball Club. He won the Gopher State Home Run Derby in eighth grade.
"We believe Isaac can be a fantastic pitcher for us," Gust said. "He has a loose arm and the ability to get swings and misses. Isaac should help us immediately in some manner. As he develops, we project him as a weekend starter."
Americo Sculati, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder/right-handed pitcher from Golden Valley, plays at Hopkins H.S. Sculati helped lead Hopkins Post 320 to the Minnesota Junior Legion State Championship in 2019.
"We believe Americo is one of the most talented outfielders in Minnesota," stated Gust. "He has all the tools we are looking for; he can run, throw and hit. He can compete for a spot the minute he arrives on campus."
Max Weber joins the Golden Eagles from Cretin-Derham Hall H.S. in St. Paul, the alma mater of former MLB stars Joe Mauer and Paul Molitor. Weber is an infielder and right-handed pitcher.
"He is very athletic and can do multiple things well," Gust said. "We were impressed with him both as a pitcher and position player. His ceiling is high as a student-athlete. If he keeps developing, he has a chance to come in and help us immediately."
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