Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 | 11:10 p.m.
At the signing deadline for junior colleges on Thursday, the College of Southern Nevada had letters of intent from eight players -- down from their usual 12 to 15 -- with three locals as part of the class.
Southeast Career and Technical Academy slugger Chris Sambol, Liberty pitcher Kyle Rynearson and Cimarron-Memorial catcher Kas Smith will join the Coyotes next fall.
Sambol batted .414 as a junior with two home runs and 19 RBIs while splitting time at first and third base.
"I've watched CSN's games and seen their coaching and I think it's the best option for me," Sambol said. "I think they have the best coaching of any junior college I've seen. I like how they practice, how they play and the attitude they have. I think it will be a good fit for me."
With 20 returners coming back next season, CSN coach Tim Chambers said the program had to limit its recruiting class.
Chambers noticed Sambol at a CSN camp two years ago where he was impressed with his power and patience at the plate.
"Chris has a big body. He's country big with big bones and big wrists," Chambers said. "We think he's going to develop some big power pretty quickly. We were a little concerned that he wasn't going to see big enough competition with the schedule (Tech) had back then but he's come along."
Chambers is also expecting a lot of growth out of Rynearson, who has been working with Coyotes pitching coach Glenn Evans in his free time. Chambers predicts the right-handed pitcher can get his fastball up to 95 miles per hour.
Last year, Rynearson pitched 48 innings collecting a 5-3 record with a 4.25 earned run average and 70 strikeouts.
"I liked that CSN was close to home and has had some great teams," Rynearson said. "When you look at pitchers they've had in the past, a lot of them have been successful and gone on to pitch at a Division-I school or they got drafted. I'm excited to be a part of that — to learn and improve."
Smith, a power-hitting catcher for Cimarron, will be a positive addition to the Coyotes offense, Chambers said. Smith batted .439 last season with 32 runs, 29 RBIs and seven home runs but Chambers said he was even more impressed with Smith's presence behind the plate.
"(Smith) is a very good receiver -- he's actually pretty advanced from that standpoint," Chambers said. "With 20 returners we're going to have an older pitching staff with a bunch of sophomores and he'll have to be able to work with them and develop quickly. We're confident he can do that while adding some power to the line-up."
Smith said he works diligently to prepare himself mentally and physically for what it takes to play his position and he feels he's gotten himself to a point where he can be an asset to the Coyotes.
"I think CSN is a great program and I wanted to go where I'm wanted and where I could play,‰ Smith said. „If coach wants me to work with a veteran pitching staff I'm ready for that responsibility."
Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or [email protected].