HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State baseball left-hander Blake Schilleci signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Auburn University, highlighting an impressive sophomore class to hook on with Division I colleges once they leave Hanceville.
Wallace State baseball’s Peyton Hayes also signed to pitch for Murray State, and softball’s Taylor Beshears inked with Jacksonville State.
Schilleci, an Oak Mountain graduate and lifelong Auburn fan, became a target for the Tigers after a solid fall season on the mound and an impressive sophomore showcase last month. As a freshman at Wallace State, Schilleci was a workhorse, logging 55 2/3 innings and striking out 55 hitters, while walking only 19.
“I’m extremely blessed and excited about the opportunity to play baseball at Auburn. I grew up an Auburn fan and my sister recently graduated from there. It’s in my family’s blood. I’m so glad the opportunities here at Wallace State have allowed me the chance to fulfill this dream,” said Schilleci, who credited a strict regimen this offseason to improving his velocity and strength from last season.
Schilleci becomes the sixth Wallace State pitcher in as many years to sign with an SEC school, joining the likes of Garrett Suchey, Chad Smith, Izaac Yarbrough, Robby Clements and Bret Marks.
“I think Blake will have an outstanding chance to contribute once he gets to Auburn. You can never have enough left-handed pitchers, and he knows how to pitch,” said Wallace State baseball coach Randy Putman, who will enter his 28th season with the Lions in February.
Meanwhile, Hayes hooked on with the Murray State Racers out of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Like Schilleci, Hayes put together a steady fall season and caught the eye of Murray State early in the process. Hayes, a Grissom High grad, pitched 13 1/3 innings for the Lions last season.
“It’s going to be great to continue my baseball career and education at a high-caliber place like Murray State,” Hayes said. “I can’t wait to see what our sophomore season brings at Wallace State. There are a lot of goals we plan to meet this spring.”
Wallace State baseball went 34-25 last season, advancing to the ACCC tournament quarterfinals.
“Blake and Peyton are as fine as two young men can be. They are both excellent student-athletes and great people. I’m excited for them because they get to continue to play a game they dearly love,” Putman said. “It’s amazing how much both have matured on the mound between their freshmen and sophomore years. They are going to be major contributors for us this season. They both work hard and exemplify what we look for in a Wallace State baseball player.”
Taylor Beshears signs with Jacksonville State
Beshears turned a record-setting freshman campaign at Wallace State into a scholarship with Jacksonville State.
Beshears signed with the Gamecocks after earning NJCAA 3rd-team All-American recognition last season for Wallace State and being named the 2016 ACCC North Division Player of the Year. She set single-season school records in multiple categories.
Playing multiple positions, Beshears hit .446 with 13 homers and a school-record 84 RBIs for Wallace State. She also set a school record with 33 doubles and finished with 104 hits, putting her tied for second in school history.
“It was a no-brainer to commit to Jacksonville State once they were interested in me. I’m going from one great program to another. Jacksonville State was a step away from the Women’s College World Series last year,” Beshears said. “It’s also close to home and a place I’ve always seen myself. I’m glad I can sign early and focus on having a great sophomore season.”
Beshears, a Hewitt-Trussville grad, helped Wallace State win its 10th ACCC tournament championship during the 2016 season and make its 10th NJCAA Division I national tournament appearance.
First-year Wallace State softball coach A.J. Daugherty is excited to see Beshears progress even more on the softball field.
“It’s obviously a great day for our program. Taylor is an outstanding softball player and an even better person. Jacksonville State is getting a great asset, and I’m looking forward to what she’ll do on the field for us this spring,” Daugherty said. “This just continues a long-standing tradition of our program producing four-year softball players and specifically today a Division I player.”
Wallace State volleyball sophomore Kelsea Bivins, the 2016 ACCC Player of the Year, has plans to sign with the University of Memphis later this month, marking the second consecutive season a player from the program will sign a Division I scholarship.
Wallace State has additional sophomores across all of its sports still mulling four-year offers.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit http://athletics.wallacestate.edu/
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