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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball program has added left-handed pitcher/outfielder Sebastian Fabik (Lebanon, Ohio), infielder/right-handed pitcher Treyben Funderburg (Beavercreek, Ohio), right-handed pitcher/outfielder Chace Harris (New Marshfield, Ohio), left-handed pitcher Alex Kuster (Lake Orion, Mich.), infielder Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) and left-handed pitcher Brett Manis (Port Huron, Mich.) as part of the early signing period of its 2017-18 recruiting class, fifth-year head coach Rob Smith announced on Friday (Nov. 18).
"Overall, the class definitely addresses a lot of needs that we had," said Smith. "We know that we have to replace some pitching that will be exiting the program over the course of the next year or two, and, fortunately, we were able to do that with three left-handers and one projectable power right-handed arm. In the infield, we had a couple of holes to fill, and we addressed that as well. All in all, the players that we've gotten in the early signing period definitely address many of those needs."
A 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound left-hander at Archbishop Moeller High School, Fabik earned honorable mention all-state, First Team All-Greater Catholic League and second team all-city honors as a junior in 2016. He hit .348 with a .500 OBI, 1.061 OPS, two home runs and 18 RBIs while going 5-1 with a 2.67 ERA on the mound. He helped lead the Crusaders to an Ohio High School Athletic Association title as a sophomore in 2015 under head coach Tim Held. Fabik has also competed for the Cincinnati Baseball Club (2016) under head coach Tom Kuncl as well as the Cincinnati Flames (2014-15). He was ranked as the 12th-best left-handed pitcher and 40th-best player in the state of Ohio by Prep Baseball Report. Fabik is also the captain of the swimming team at Archbishop Moeller and earned Second Team All-GCL laurels. Born July 12, 1998, he is the son of Laura and Ray Fabik and has three brothers - Tevin, Draden and Mateo.
"Sebastian is a great pitch ability guy," said Smith. "He has growth for more velocity but definitely has tremendous feel for the baseball. He's got very good spin on his curveball, good feel for the change and can locate to both sides of the plate. He's very much a command-type pitcher that I think will fit really, really well into our system."
A 5-foot-11-inch, 155-pound righty at Beavercreek High School, Funderburg received Ohio Division I Honorable Mention All-State honors from Prep Baseball Report as well as garnering First Team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference and First Team All-GWOC Central Division recognition as a junior in 2016. He helped guide the Beavers to a sectional championship as a sophomore in 2015 under coaches Brandon Long, Justin Nidiffer, Ian Baltzer, Micah Wilson and Pat Will. Funderburg has also competed at the club level for both the Cincinnati Flames and Team RPM under Travis Beck, Brian Caudill, Charlie Miller, Chris Daniel and Brad Funderburg. He has batted .434 with 188 hits and 49 walks while totaling 170 strikeouts over 136 innings pitched over the course of his summer seasons. After being named to the Perfect Game All-Tournament Team in 2015, Funderburg competed in the U.S. Baseball Championships in Richmond, Va., where he pitched the title game, striking out eight and collecting three hits in a 3-1 win over the Virginia Cardinals. In a 2016 matchup between Worthington Wood Bat and Bo Jackson Elite, he fanned 16 and tallied three hits in a 1-0 win. Funderburg is rated as the No. 13-best shortstop in the state of Ohio by Prep Baseball Report. Born May 12, 1999, he is the son of Nicole and Brad Funderburg and has a brother, Garrett.
"Treyben plays shortstop and is a right-handed pitcher and is a very athletic kid, a very toolsy kid," said Smith. "We believe there's a lot there to work with and think that he's going to be able to help us in multiple ways throughout the course of his career."
A 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound right-hander at Alexander High School, Harris has garnered All Tri-Valley Conference honors three times and all-district honors once. He helped guide the Spartans to a 25-5 record and a regional runner-up finish in 2015 under head coach Larry Bean. Harris is also an accomplished football player, notching All-TVC honors three times as well as all-district and honorable mention all-state on the gridiron. He was named the TVC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2015. He has served as a team captain in baseball, football and basketball. Born Feb. 9, 1999, he is the son of Jill and Matt Harris and has a brother, Drew.
"The sky's the limit for Chace in terms of his velocity potential," said Smith. "He's a big, physical kid who is already touching the low 90s here this past fall at several events. We think that his potential to be a power arm is very, very high, and we're excited about the potential that he brings."
A 6-foot-3-inch, 185-pound southpaw at Brother Rice High School, Kuster earned All-Catholic League honors as both a sophomore in 2015 and a junior in 2016, going 16-0 with seven saves over the seasons. A 57-pitch complete game highlighted his junior season. He helped lead the Warriors to a record of 62-18 record over the past two years with a pair of Catholic League titles and district championships under coaches Bob Riker, Brian Kalczynski and Tom LeMahieu. Kuster has competed at the club level for A. Green Baseball under head coach Glen Ross, throwing 51.1 frames with 71 strikeouts and just 17 walks and sporting a 1.50 ERA, 1.0005 WHIP and a .206 opponent batting average against. He is ranked as the sixth-best left-handed pitcher and 38th-best player in the state of Michigan by Prep Baseball Report. Born Sept. 13, 1998, he is the son of Diane and Eric Kuster and has a brother, Roman, who played baseball at Findlay from 2013-15.
"Alex is a very projectable left-handed pitcher," said Smith. "He's got good size and a really good feel for the ball. He can throw a couple of different pitches for strikes and has very good deception in his delivery. I'm excited to see how his career plays out here."
A 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pounder at Princeton High School, Levy has hit .310 with 12 doubles, six triples, two home runs, 38 RBIs, 27 runs scored 16 stolen bases and has posted a .377 OBP over the last two years. He has led the Vikings in hits and RBIs in each of the past two seasons while leading the squad in doubles, triples and OBP as a junior in 2016 after leading the way in home runs, stolen bases and batting average as a sophomore in '15. Under head coach Rick Wilson, he garnered Tri-County All-Star selection in both 2015 and '16 and was named Princeton's Offensive Award as a junior. Levy has competed for the Cincinnati Mustangs under head coach Mark Grimm as well as the Cincinnati Riverbats. He is ranked as the sixth-best shortstop and 32nd-best player in the state of Ohio by Prep Baseball Report. Born Sept. 16, 1998, he is the son of Susan O'Connor Levy and Garrett Levy and has a brother, Brendan and a sister, Annaliese. His uncle, Nick O'Connor, pitched in the Detroit Tigers organization from 1980-84 while his cousin, Brian O'Connor, pitched in the Pittsburgh Pirates (1995-2002), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2003) and Atlanta Braves (2004-06) organizations, making his Major League debut in 2000.
"Aaron was the first commitment that we had in the class, and he definitely was a player we were excited to get," said Smith. "He's a projectable left-handed bat who can play the left side of the infield. He's a guy that we think definitely has a big upside and is going to be a very, very good player for us."
A 5-foot-11-inch, 165-pound lefty at Port Huron Northern High School, Manis has earned All-Macomb Area Conferences honors in each of the last three seasons and garnered both all-district and All-MAC Most Valuable Player honors as a sophomore in 2015. He helped lead the Huskies to both a MAC titles and a district championship under head coach Bob Kearns in 2016, going 7-3 with a 1.66 ERA, 110 strikeouts against just 11 walks. His junior season was highlighted by throwing a no-hitter. Manis is ranked as the fourth-best left-handed pitcher and 32nd-best player in the state of Michigan by Prep Baseball Report. He is the son of Jana and Tom Manis and has a brother, Nathan, and a sister, Brianna. His father, Tom, played baseball at Western Michigan from 1977-78.
Brett is a very athletic arm who has a very good feel for the baseball," said Smith. He's very competitive on the mound, and I'm excited to see his growth and development while he's in the program."
Ohio returns 26 players from 2016's 23-win team, including senior infielder Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio), senior right-handed pitcher Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) and sophomore infielder/catcher Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.), who was named to the 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American Team as a first baseman as selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. The Bobcats welcome 11 new faces to their 2017 roster.
Ohio's 2017 schedule will be released next week.