Two Western Nevada College baseball players have committed to NCAA Division I programs for next year during the early college signing period. Sophomore infielder Mike Umscheid and sophomore right-handed pitcher Brandon Show signed their letters of intent today. Umscheid committed to Kansas State University, while Show signed with the University of San Diego.
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Umscheid said. “It takes a lot of stress off,” Show agreed. “I don’t have to worry about where I’m going next year, … just focus on playing now.”
The 6-foot-3 Umscheid started 47 games for the Wildcats last year, playing corner infield spots as well as left and right field. He was fourth on the club in hitting at .331, fourth in stolen bases with eight, fourth in putouts with 130 and first with four triples.
“He’s a complete player who really takes pride in his work habits,” Wildcats Head Coach DJ Whittemore said. “He’s a great student, very coachable and a great leader. He’s a Wildcat to the core.”
Show worked out of the Wildcats’ bullpen last year but will likely move into the starting rotation in the spring. He figures to have a more prominent pitching role this season. As a freshman, he tossed 13 1/3 innings and struck out 14. Show’s role was limited due a loaded pitching staff that included fifth-round draft choice Dylan Baker, as well as Andrew Woeck, Brandon Jackson, Anthony Consiglio and Tyler Spencer, a quartet that landed in Division I programs.
“Brandon has been patient, worked very hard and done everything we’ve asked,” Whittemore said. “He went out this summer and put a great effort into getting better, and got tremendous results.”
Show increased the velocity on his fastball 2 to 4 mph to 94 mph and raised his slider to 82 mph. “He has the makings of a dominant Scenic West Conference pitcher,” Whittemore said.
Both players said they have also improved as students at WNC.
“Coach ‘Whit' really pushes you for school and academics and lets it be known that school is first,” said Umscheid, who pointed out that his GPA has risen to 3.6 since entering the program. “The first year here I probably learned more about baseball and life than throughout my whole high school career.”
Show said, “Back in high school I was a 2.8 student, and Coach has pushed us with grades and everything, and now I’m like a 3.4. I’ve gotten better at school, baseball, everything, as a person …”
“I’m grateful to both of them for their hard work, and being able to represent our program,” said Whittemore. “I’m proud of them and happy for them.”
The pair enhances WNC’s growing baseball alumni list. Since the Wildcats program launched in 2006, 53 players have moved on to Division I programs. WNC players have gone on to programs in the Pac-12 (formerly Pac-10), Mountain West Conference, WAC, Summit, Big 12, ACC, SWAC, SEC, Big West, GWC, Sun Belt, USA and WCC.
Last year, the Wildcats sent Taylor Smart to Tennessee, Consiglio (New Mexico State), Spencer (New Mexico State), Jackson (Oregon State), Woeck (North Carolina State), Dillon Ness (Oregon State), Zach Hendrix (Kansas State), Chris Woolley (San Diego), Alex Schmidt (Washington) and assistant coach/former player Beau Day (Oregon State).
Wednesday’s signings allow Umscheid and Show to each rejoin a teammate from last year’s JUCO World Series squad. Umscheid will reunite with Hendrix at Kansas State, while Show will rejoin Woolley at San Diego.
“I feel it’s a tribute to those two players when those coaching staffs come back to our program and want to recruit more players,” Whittemore said.