The Dallas Baptist Baseball Program announced Tuesday the signing of Austin Listi and Drew Smith to National Letters of Intent during the Early Signing Period this past week. Head Coach Dan Heefner, the 2011 Midwest Region Coach of the Year, gives credit to his assistant coaches for the commitments of the two high-ceiling prospects. “Jim Blair and Wes Johnson did a great job this summer and fall of identifying the top prospects in our area who are a good fit for our program,” said Heefner. “Both Austin and Drew have the work ethic, discipline, and ability to be top level players for us in the future and I’m looking forward to getting them in our program next fall and watching them develop as athletes and as young men during their time at Dallas Baptist.”
The Patriots are coming off their best season in the program’s Division I history. Their 42 wins were the most since 2004 and a trip to the Santa Clara Super Regional – after winning the Fort Worth Regional Championship – was a first for the program. Three more players were drafted in 2011, bringing the total number of Patriots to sign professional contracts since 2004 to 26. Dallas Baptist will open the 2012 season at home on Friday, February 17, against Southeast Missouri.
Austin Listi Infielder Huffman, TX Huffman Hargrave High School 6’00 195lbs
Austin Listi is an infielder at Huffman Hargrave High School where he has been a four-year letter winner for Coach Tom DeBerry. During his Sophomore and Junior campaigns, he was a 1st Team All-District selection while being named the District Offensive MVP in 2011. During that 2011 campaign, Listi hit .594 with 12 homeruns and 48 RBI. He also carried a slugging percentage of 1.377. He was named 1st Team All-Greater Houston in 2011 as well as being selected for the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game. During the summers, Listi competes with the Houston Heat organization. Austin is the son of Tom and Laurie Listi.
Heefner said, “We are thrilled to have Austin join our team. We believe that he is one of the best hitters in the state of Texas and his defensive abilities are exceptional. He has an outstanding plate presence and bat speed – the type of tools you can expect in a big time run producer. He has been clocked in the low 90’s across the diamond and, with the seniors we will lose this year, Austin will make an immediate impact in the middle of our order. His baseball make-up is second to none and we feel like he has a true passion for the game of baseball.”
Drew Smith RHP Crowley, TX Crowley High School 6’1 165lbs
Drew Smith is a right handed pitcher from Crowley High School, where he was 10-1 last spring for head coach Lynn Grimes. He received 1st Team All-District accolades and was an All-Area nomination. In 85 innings of work, Smith struck out 91 and only gave up 49 hits while carrying a 1.90 ERA. This fall Drew competed for his Crowley High School Fall Team where he threw 18 innings while striking out 40 hitters and only allowing 3 hits. During the summer he competes with the San Antonio Spikes. Drew is the son of Dwayne and Laurie Smith.
Heefner said, “Drew is a right handed pitcher that we are extremely excited about. He has an electric arm and we believe he will make jumps in velocity as he matures over the next few years. His fastball has been consistent in the 89-92 MPH range this summer and fall. What really separates Drew in our mind is his off-speed pitches. He has a sharp breaking ball that should play as a strike out pitch at our level. He can fit into multiple roles and we expect him to be a big time contributor next year. He has an outstanding work ethic and, as we did our background checks and talked to multiple people about Drew, we found him to be of high character and a great fit for our program. “