WACO (November 13, 2013) Baylor baseball Head Coach Steve Smith announced the signing of four high school student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The Bears added depth in the outfield while also picking up an infielder and pitcher.
Joining the program for the fall of 2014 will be OF Richard Cunningham (Austin, Texas – Stephen F. Austin HS), IF Jonathan Ducoff (Kingwood, Texas – Kingwood Park HS), OF Levi Gilcrease (Odessa, Fla. – Home School) and RHP Theron Kay (San Jose, Calif. – Valley Christian HS).
“The theme of this signing class is quality over quantity,” Smith said. “These four young men are all gifted athletically and equally gifted academically. And they absolutely fit the culture of our program. Our staff feels this group of position players compliments the large number of talented freshmen already in our program. And, in Theron Kay, we get a pitcher who is game-ready for this level. The fact that this class ranges from California to Florida is a tribute to the success of Baylor Athletics as a whole over the past three years and a growing interest and respect for Baylor University all over the country.”
Cunningham is a two-time All-District selection and in three seasons at Austin High has compiled 39 singles, 30 steals, 24 doubles, 17 triples and five home runs. He also helped his Premier Baseball team to a pair of national championship runs.
“Richard is a high energy player with exceptional offensive and defensive skills,” said Smith. “His overall game is very advanced for his age. Our staff felt he was a great fit for our program as a Baylor baseball student-athlete.”
Ducoff is an Under Armour Preseason All-American and is ranked as the No. 6 prospect in Texas, No. 9 shortstop nationally and No. 69 prospect overall nationally by Perfect Game. In 2013, he hit .429 with .492 on-base percentage and .762 slugging percentage, totaling 45 hits, 14 doubles, 13 walks, seven steals, six triples and three home runs in 105 at-bats.
“Jonathan is one of the better overall athletes and students we have signed in a number of years,” Smith said. “He is very physical for a middle infielder with the potential to be a middle of the order type bat. His athletic ability will allow him to play anywhere on the field defensively.”
Gilcrease is a two-time All-State selection and was a finalist for the 2013 Florida Mr. Baseball award. As a junior, he hit .493 with 34 runs, 19 steals, 14 RBI and seven home runs.
“Levi is a tremendous athlete whose entire family has Division One athletic experience,” Smith said. “His numbers throughout his high school career really speak for themselves and are a testament to his baseball skills and pedigree.”
Kay is a 2013 MaxPreps Top 100 player and has a 19-5 record with a 0.98 career ERA in three years at Valley Christian High School. He’s coming off a season in which he posted a 0.93 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 90.1 innings as a junior.
“Our staff felt that Theron was among the more polished pitchers we followed this past year and we are extremely excited to have him join our program,” said Smith. “He has a great feel for pitching and a very mature understanding of how to pitch for his age.”
Complete Signee Profiles
Richard Cunningham | OF | 5-10 | 180 | L-L | Austin, Texas (Stephen F. Austin HS)
High School: Three-year letterwinner for Coach Glenn Bacak at Austin High … Named a team captain for senior season … All-District Second Team as a junior … All-District First Team (unanimous) as a sophomore … Named team’s Rookie of the Year as a freshman … In first three seasons, has 39 singles, 30 steals, 24 doubles, 17 triples and five home runs … Played travel ball in Premier Baseball League for Coach James Ellison in 2011 and 2013 … Helped team go 34-1 in 2011 for a national championship … Helped team go 40-8 in 2013 for a co-national championship.
Personal: Born on May 4, 1995 … Son of Kyle and Betty Cunningham … Brother, Michael, is captain of Santa Clara’s rugby team … National Honor Society member … Member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes … Three-time Academic All-District honoree … Undecided on major.
Jonathan Ducoff | IF | 6-1 | 190 | R-R | Kingwood, Texas (Kingwood Park HS)
High School: Three-year letterwinner for Coach Buddy Thames (2011-12) and Coach Bruce Cox (2013) at Kingwood Park HS … Helped team to district championships in each of last two seasons … Under Armour Preseason All-American … 2013 All-Greater Houston Team … 2013 Perfect Game Underclass Third Team … Two-time All-District First Team choice … Participated in USA Baseball’s 2013 Tournament of Stars … Ranked as the No. 6 prospect in Texas, No. 9 shortstop nationally and No. 69 overall nationally by Perfect Game … In 2013, hit .429 with .492 on-base percentage and .762 slugging percentage, totaling 45 hits, 14 doubles, 13 walks, seven steals, six triples and three home runs in 105 at-bats … Also a three-year varsity football letterwinner … Helped football team to district championships in 2010-11.
Personal: Born on June 20, 1995 … Son of Scott and Laura Ducoff … Father played college football and brother, Taylor, played college baseball … National Honor Society member … Undecided on major.
Levi Gilcrease | OF | 6-0 | 175 | R-R | Odessa, Fla. (Home School)
High School: Four-year letterwinner for Cambridge Christian Lancers and will play senior year at Sickles High School … Helped CCL to four straight district championships and made state final four in 2013 under Coach Sam Marsonek … 2013 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention … As a junior, hit .493 with 34 runs, 19 steals, 14 RBI and seven home runs … Has totaled a .391 batting average, 102 runs, 99 hits, 49 RBI, 44 steals, 21 doubles, nine home runs and seven triples in high school … 2013 finalist for Florida Mr. Baseball award … Florida Dairy Farmers Class 2A State Player of the Year … First Team Small School Baseball All-American … FHSAA First Team All-State … First Team All-Hillsborough County … Earned CCL Lancer Leadership and Character Award … 2012 FHSSA All-State Honorable Mention … All-Hillsborough County Honorable Mention … Also earned two CCL varsity letters in soccer and golf.
Personal: Born on May 23, 1995 … Son of Douglas and Stephanie Gilcrease … Father played baseball at Auburn and played professionally with the Kansas City Royals organization … Mother played tennis at Michigan and Northwestern and played professionally … Brother, Zac, is a junior on the South Florida baseball team … Intends on majoring in history.
Theron Kay | RHP | 6-0 | 170 | L-R | San Jose, Calif. (Valley Christian HS)
High School: Three-year letterwinner for Coach John Diatte at VCHS … Has a 19-5 record with a 0.98 career ERA … Posted a 0.93 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 90.1 innings in 2013 … VCHS 2013 Athlete of the Year … 2013 Prep2Prep CCS Junior of the Year … 2013 All-Mercury News First Team … 2013 MaxPreps Top 100 player … 2013 NorCal Preps Top 50 prospect … 2013 WCAL All-League First Team … Totaled a 0.98 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 78.2 innings in 2012 … 2012 MaxPreps All-American … 2012 San Jose Mercury News Sophomore of the Year … 2012 WCAL All-League Second Team … Compiled a 1.26 ERA with eight strikeouts in 16.2 innings in 2011 … VCHS 2011 Freshman Athlete of the Year… Also earned three varsity letters in water polo.
Personal: Born on June 29, 1995 … Son of Derek and Kiyomi Kay … Father played football at Yale … Intends on majoring in music composition.