Bringing in quality athletes that can help your program is one thing.
Being able to develop those athletes while they are here and help them get to the next level is another.
Lincoln Trail College's baseball team has been able to do both of these things for quite some time and that trend continued recently.
Two more LTC sophomores - pitchers Casey Bargo and Mitchell Spencer - have signed letters-of-intent to continue their baseball careers at Division I institutions after their obligations with the Statesmen have been fulfilled.
Bargo will be heading east to suit up for University of North Carolina-Charlotte, while Spencer will be just a little further south of that at University of South Carolina-Upstate.
"It's exciting to get two guys off the board early and these are two very deserving guys," LTC head coach Kevin Bowers said. "Both of them are good students as well as good baseball players. Casey was an Academic All-American last year and Mitchell just missed. They are both quiet team leaders and quality clubhouse guys."
Two two hurlers posted very similar numbers in nearly identical amounts of time on the mound during their freshman seasons for the Statesmen.
Bargo saw action in 10 games, including one start, posting a 3-4 record with a 3.76 ERA in 26.1 innings of work. He allowed 11 earned runs on 24 hits, while walking 22 batters and striking out 23.
"For a big guy at 6-6 his mechanics are very, very good," Bowers said. "He doesn't look awkward with what he does and I think in the long run that will allow him to find the strike zone with a lot of consistency, which is going to attract some people. He's tightened up his breaking stuff and his consistency around the zone has been outstanding for the majority of the fall."
Spencer also pitched in 10 games and also finished with a 3-4 record, along with a 7.77 ERA in 24.1 innings. He gave up 21 runs on 23 hits, walked 27 and struck out 35.
"He's 88-90 on the mound, he's got a three and some days four-pitch mix with an outstanding change-up and a breaking ball that I would consider wipeout," Bowers said. "When he's on and spotting up his pitches, he can be very, very devastating and can control a game very quickly."
Bargo noted that once he gets to Charlotte, he is going to compete for a spot in the 49ers' starting rotation.
"They want me to come in and be a rotation guy, be a starter for them, which will be a good thing for me," Bargo said. "I think I'll fit in well there."
Meanwhile, Spencer is less sure about his role, but is willing to contribute however he can.
"I think I can go in there and be a big impact guy, whether that's coming out of the bullpen or starting on weekdays or weekends," Spencer said. "I feel like my role is going to be pretty heavy down there."
Bowers believes both players will be very successful at the next level and potentially beyond, but both guys also added they have things they want to accomplish before leaving LTC.
"I want to have a better year than last year, win some games and just go out and compete," Spencer said. "If I can put together a good year, that could help determine what my role will be at Upstate."
"I want to win games here, win the Region and get this team to Grand Junction (for the JUCO World Series)," Bargo said.