Four Blinn College baseball players have signed with four-year schools before even stepping onto the diamond for their sophomore seasons.
Pitcher Taylor Cobb has signed with the University of Houston, catcher Holden Cammack has signed with Coastal Carolina University, outfielder and pitcher J.C. Neighbors signed with Arkansas State University and pitcher Karl Malecek has signed with the University of British Columbia. All four will begin playing for their new schools during the 2013-14 season.
Since 2001, 105 Blinn College baseball players have either signed with four-year colleges and universities or been drafted by professional baseball organizations.
"That's our calling card," said head coach Harvey McIntyre. "That's why kids want to come here."
Cobb, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander, came to Blinn from Fort Bend Austin, where he was an all-district, all-region and all-state third baseman. He threw 18 innings as a freshman last season, going 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA. He struck out 22 while walking nine.
"He has really made strides this fall with his consistency and his delivery and that's what's going to make him a factor for us this spring," McIntyre said. "He's going to be big for us."
Cammack, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder out of Grapevine, was an UnderArmour All-American his senior season with the Mustangs. As a freshman, he batted .247 with 13 runs scored and 16 RBIs.
"You've got to give Holden a ton of credit because he was a little guy coming out of high school, but he knew he had to get stronger and add weight and now he's 195 pounds," McIntyre said. "He's made himself into a better player and I think that says a lot about him."
Neighbors, a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder out of League City, played his high school ball at Clear Springs, where he was named all-district, all-county and all-region. He batted .267 as a freshman, scoring eight runs while driving in 10.
"He does so many things that translate into winning games," McIntyre said. "He's actually got a chance to play all three outfield spots for us next year but he has been great on the mound for us this fall and we could use him for lefty-lefty matchups."
Malecek, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander, came to Blinn from North Vancouver, Canada, where he played for Argyle High School. As a freshman, Malecek went 1-3 with a 5.10 ERA in 30 innings. He struck out 19 while walking seven.
"He has been a real pleasure," McIntyre said. "Every day he goes out there, you know he's going to pound the strike zone, pitch with tempo and give you a chance to win."
The Buccaneers went 34-24 last season, including a 21-13 record in the Region XIV Conference. Eleven players from last season's team are currently with four-year baseball programs, while another, Eric Wood, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Blinn's 2013 season opens Jan. 29 with a 3 p.m. double-header against Temple College.