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Clovis seniors Langrell, Piepkorn sign with Newman

Pair had committed to Jets before season began.

 

April 12, 2018

Connor Langrell

CLOVIS — Next stop, Wichita.

A pair of Clovis High baseball players made their next steps official Wednesday, with seniors Connor Langrell and Jace Piepkorn signing letters of intent with NCAA Division II Newman University.

Piepkorn, who mostly plays catcher for the Wildcats, signed his letter during a morning ceremony at the school's athletic department. Langrell, a pitcher and shortstop, sent his letter to coach Zane Ehling before heading to his Wednesday morning classes.

Both had given verbal commitments before the baseball season began, and neither saw any other offers to sway them from the Division II Jets prior to the signing period that began Wednesday.

"It's helpful knowing Connor is going there," said Piepkorn. "It's going to be good to have a teammate to go with. They have a great nursing program, and they've been very welcoming."

Langrell, who came to Clovis two seasons ago, said he didn't field other offers after verbally committing — but never really looked either. He's excited to go to Kansas to be part of a small but hopefully impactful signing class.

"There's one from Dallas and one from Las Vegas (Nevada), where I lived before Clovis," Langrell said. "I'll try to link up with him before I get there. He's a junior college transfer, though, so I probably (never played against) him."

So far this season Piepkorn is batting .406 overall — 26-for-64 with two doubles, a triple and 17 RBIs. He's also thrown out eight of 11 baserunners on steal attempts. Ehling said Piepkorn might also see time at second, third and even the outfield.

"He's a high-energy guy who plays really hard," Ehling said of Piepkorn. "He has a lot of upside, and can bring energy to our team. He can play multiple positions, which is helpful."

Langrell is batting .391 — 25-for-64 with three doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs. On the mound, he's 5-0 with a 1.28 ERA in 38 1/3 innings with 32 strikeouts against 29 hits and 15 walks.

"I think he's got a lot of upside, with the long body he has," Ehling said. "We like him as much on the mound as we do as a position player. I think he's going to get a lot better in college."

Clovis coach Richard Cruce said there are many reasons the Wildcats are off to a 17-3 start, and Langrell and Piepkorn are two pretty big reasons.

Jace Piepkorn

"They come to work every day, compete hard every day and they're both good leaders," Cruce said. "There's a trickle down with that."

The Jets are 12-22 on the season, and have been snakebit in the close games — they're 2-9 in games decided by one or two runs.

"We're still trying to figure out how to work our bullpen because of inexperience on the mound," Ehling said. "We're trying to find the right guys to get quality starts."

Newman will remain in the Heartland Conference through the 2019 season, then move to the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 14 of its 18 sports.

Cruce said two or three more Wildcats should have opportunities to sign with college programs over the next few weeks.

 

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