Baseball Welcomes 13 New Players for 2016

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania announced the addition of 13 newcomers to the program for the 2016 season, welcoming 11 freshmen and two transfers to University City.

“We are extremely excited to bring this group into our program,” W. Joseph Blood Head Coach John Yurkow said. “As a group, they have experienced success at every level that have played at. Individually, they bring a wealth of talent and skills to our program. We have high expectations as a program, and I know that these young men believe in those goals and will do everything we ask of them to help us get to where we want to be.”

The Quakers will add players from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas for the upcoming season.

As a class, Penn’s recruiting group is ranked No. 87 overall in the county by Perfect Game.

Penn has posted a 46-32 overall record in its first two seasons under head coach John Yurkow. In Ivy League play, Penn has posted a 31-9 overall record and reached a playoff game for the Gehrig Division title the last two seasons.

Adam Bleday | LHP
5’11 | 185 pounds
Titusville, Pa./Titusville (University of Virginia)

At Gulf Coast College (2015): Posted nine wins and had an ERA of 2.36.

At Virginia (2014): Made one appearance.

High School: Lettered four times in baseball … Amateur Baseball Report’s 2009 16U Player of the Year … Named All-State in 2012 and 2013 … Had a 0.18 ERA his senior season … Four-time All-Region selection … 2013 District 10 Player of the Year … Also lettered in swimming and golf … Twice named All-State in swimming … Set six school records in the pool … District qualifier in golf … Class Treasurer … Key Club member …. Varsity Club member … Math Team member … National Honor Society member.

Personal: Son of Kathy and Raymond Bleday … Cousin, Alec, ran cross country at Penn … Enrolled in the College of arts and Sciences as a biology major.

Coach Yurkow on Adam: “Adam has succeeded on the mound at all levels so far. He is an athletic lefthander that we will count on to step right into our rotation. Adam has the talent to be a top Ivy League pitcher.”

Elijah Connell | LHP
6’4 | 195 pounds
New York, N.Y./The Dalton School

High School: Lettered four times … Served as team captain … Twice named first-team All-League (2012, 2015) … Named All-New York City in 2015 … Also lettered in basketball three times … Served as hoops team captain.

Personal: Son of Karen and Joshua Connell … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Coach Yurkow on Elijah: “Elijah Connell is an exciting lefty that is long and has a chance to have dominant stuff down the road. He was highly recruited and we are excited to run him out to the mound as a Quaker.”

Grant Guillory | INF/RHP
6’2 | 165 pounds
Houston, Texas/St. John’s School

High School: Lettered three times in baseball … Served as team captain … Twice named All-Conference (2014, 2015) … AP Scholar (2014-15) … President’s Volunteer Service Award recipient.

Personal: Son of Sabrina and Keith Guillory … High school teammate of Penn teammate Daniel Halevy … Enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science as a mechanical engineering major.

Coach Yurkow on Grant: “Grant is an athletic kid with great hands and a good throwing arm. He’s a solid defender and he can pitch. Grant will be fun to watch develop during his time here.”

Daniel Halevy | OF
6’1 | 190 pounds
Houston, Texas/St. John’s School (Houston)

At Houston: Did not appear in any games for the Cougars.

High School: Four-time letterwinner … Captained team his senior season … Named Houston Area Baseball Coaching Association All-State (2013) … Twice named Houston 5A Baseball first-team All-Houston (2013, 2014) … Named HABCA Senior All-Star … Three-time All-Southwest Prep Conference (2012-14) … Active with Challenger Baseball program for special needs students in Houston.

Personal: Son of Amy and Amir Halevy … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences as an economics major.

Coach Yurkow on Daniel: “We are very excited to add an offensive player of Daniel’s caliber to our roster. Daniel will give us a strong bat and some versatility on defense. He should contribute from Day One.”

John Alan Kendrick | INF/LHP
5’10 | 160 pounds
Chatsworth, Ga./Calhoun

High School: Lettered all four seasons ... First-Team All-Area (2015) … Gordon County Co-MVP (2015) … Second-team All-Area (2014) … Twice won regional championships (2012, 2014) … Also lettered once in basketball … Beta Club member … Future Business Leaders of America member … Georgia Merit Scholar.

Personal: Son of Kelli and Alan Kendrick … Enrolled in Wharton.

Coach Yurkow on John Alan: “John Alan impressed every time we saw him in high school. He has command of his pitches which should allow him to step right in and pitch as a freshman.”

Matt McGeagh | INF
6’2 | 175 pounds
Pacific Palisades, Calif./Loyola

High School: Lettered twice in baseball … Served as team captain … Perfect Game honorable mention All-American (2015) … Westside LA All-Star (2015) … First-team All-Mission League (2015) … Named 2015 team MVP … 2014 Mission League champion … Cum Laude student …. Highest Honors student.

Personal: Son of Tracy and Rick McGeagh … Father played baseball at USC … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Coach Yurkow on Matt: “Matt is a physical infielder that can play multiple infield positions. His hands work well allowing him to defend and have a bit of pop in the bat. He will add depth and versatility to the infield.”

Jake Nelson | RHP
6’3 | 215 pounds
Hopkinton, N.H./Phillips Academy Andover

High School: Lettered five times in baseball, four times at Hopkinton High School and once at Phillips Academy … Was a team captain twice … Named first-team All-Central New England in 2015 … 2014 New Hampshire Player of the Year … Named first-team All-State in 2014 … Team MVP … Silver Slugger Award winner (2014) … Twice named second-team All-State (2013, 2014) … Named third-team All-State in 2012 … Member of 2012 New Hampshire state championship team … Honor Roll student … New Hampshire Scholar … Scholar Athlete (2012-14) … Worked with Challenger Baseball program for special needs students while at Phillips Academy.

Personal: Son of Jackie and Timothy Nelson … Enrolled in Wharton with a concentration in finance.

Coach Yurkow on Jake: “Jake Nelson was very highly ranked and recruited out of high school. He chose Penn over many great baseball schools, and we are happy to have him. Jake has velocity on the mound and should have a chance to develop into a professional down the road.”

Matt O’Neill | C
6’0 | 195 pounds
Morristown, N.J./Seton Hall Prep

High School: Lettered twice in baseball … Served as team captain … Named first-team All-State in 2015 … 2015 Super Essex Conference Player of the Year … 2014 and 2015 first-team All-Essex County … Two-time Super Essex Conference champion (2014, 2015) … Twice winner of the Greater Newark Tournament (2014, 2015) … Essex County Scholar-Athlete Award recipient.

Personal: Son of Lauren and Daniel O’Neill … Father played basketball at Tufts University … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Coach Yurkow on Matt: “Matt was one of the best catchers in the state of New Jersey last year. He can defend, throw, and he really drives in runs with the bat. We look forward to seeing Matt develop in his time here at Penn.”

Sean Phelan | 1B
6’3 | 220 pounds
Devon, Pa./Devon Prep

High School: Lettered four times … 2014 High School Coaches Association All-State Team … Won 2014 PIAA state championship … 2015 Bicentennial League and district champion … Named All-Main Line three times (2013-15) … Named All-Bicentennial League three times (2013-15) … Carpenter Cup selection three times (2013-15) … Also lettered twice in golf … Distinguished Honors student … National Honor Society member.

Personal: Son of Kathleen and David Phelan … Father swam at Vermont … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences as a philosophy, politics and economics major.

Coach Yurkow on Sean: “Sean is an advanced hitter from the left side with a bit of juice in his bat. He was part of a very successful high school program. He has a chance to come in and play first base right away with the graduation of two first basemen.”

Chris Rabasco | INF/RHP
5’11 | 210 pounds
Allentown, Pa./Parkland

High School: Lettered four times … Served as team captain … Three-time District XI champion (2013-15) … Twice won East Penn Conference championships (2014-15) … 2015 Area Player of the Year … 2015 EPC Player of the Year … 2014 second-team All-State … Twice named first-team All-Area (2014-15) … Twice named first-team All-EPC (2014-15) … 2015 East Penn Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year … Science Honors Society member … Spanish Honors Society member … Math Honors Society member.

Personal: Son of Jennifer and John Rabasco … Older brother, Nick, plays baseball at East Stroudsburg … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Coach Yurkow on Chris: “Chris can hit and has arm strength. His ability to hit and pitch should bolster us on both sides. He comes from a winning program, which will help his transition into college baseball.”

Kevin Thomas | INF
6’1 | 185 pounds
Coconut Creek, Fla./North Broward Prep

High School: Lettered four times ... Served as team captain … Twice named Perfect Game honorable mention All-American (2014, 2015) … 2014 district and regional champion … 2015 Male Scholar-Athlete Award recipient … Ronal Reagan Leadership Award recipient … AP Scholar with Distinction … Graduated with highest honors … 2015 Faculty Award recipient … Community Service Award recipient … Rho Kappa Honor Society Board member … National Honor Society Board member … High School Orchestra master … Plays the violin and piano … Captain of altar servers at local parish … Eagle Scout.

Personal: Son of Jeanne and Timothy Thomas … Enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science as a mechanical engineering and applied mechanics major.

Coach Yurkow on Kevin: “Kevin is a strong a physical infielder that has a knack for making great plays. We are excited about his future and he will help to bolster the group of infielders.”

Willy Thomas | C/INF
6’2 | 185 pounds
Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral

High School: Lettered in baseball … Named 2015 Top Senior Hitter … 2015 Academic All-State … National Honor Society member … Spanish Honor Society member.

Personal: Son of LeAnne and Todd Thomas … Grandfather, Bill Myers, played baseball at Salem State… Father swam and played water polo at Claremont McKenna … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences as an economics major …

Coach Yurkow on Willy: “Willy has a really great athletic frame with strength and tools. He is a left-handed hitting catcher, so he will solidify our catching depth and lineup.”

Matt Tola | INF
6’1 | 185 pounds
Hamilton, N.J./Lawrenceville

High School: Lettered four times … Twice served as team captain … Twice named first-team All-Prep (2014, 2015) … Twice named first-team All-MAPL (2014, 2015).

Personal: Son of Pam and Sam Tola … Enrolled in Wharton with a concentration in finance.

Coach Yurkow on Matt: “Matt was one of the top defensive infielders that we evaluated throughout the year. With his athleticism and body, he has the chance to be a very good player.”

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