HARROGATE, TN -- Tim Helton and Jacob West are set to join the Railsplitters for the 2013 season, Lincoln Memorial University head baseball coach Jeff Sziksai announced Thursday morning. With these two additions, the Railsplitters have added seven to next year's roster, as they join Hunter Hill, Will Meek, Dillon Swaggerty, Ian Creager and Joe Hall in the Railsplitters' recruiting class.
Tim Helton will head down the road to Lincoln Memorial University after a successful prep career at nearby Middlesboro High School in Middlesboro, Kentucky. At 6'4" and 200 pounds, Helton brings a strong left-handed presence to the Railsplitters' roster with the ability to play first base and in the outfield. He recorded a .400 batting average with 14 extra base hits while also being a force on the base paths as he notched 14 stolen bases in 2011. With the 2012 awards still to be determined in Kentucky, Helton already boasts a strong resume of honors and awards. He was named Academic All-State, 52 District All-Tournament Team in 2010 and 2011, 2010 Middlesboro High School Most Versatile Player and 2011 Middlesboro High School Best Offensive and Defensive Player.
Helton was pursued by Tusculum College, Carson-Newman College and Campbellsville University before ultimately deciding on Lincoln Memorial University to continue his academic and athletic career. When asked why he chose LMU, Helton answered, "LMU is a great school that has high academic standards. I am currently undecided about a career choice, but am interested in the medical field, possibly physical therapy and/or business. Coach Sziksai is an outstanding Christian coach who knows how to win, and I think he and his staff can help me continue to grow as a person and player."
Middlesboro High School head baseball coach Bill Powell gave high praise to Helton, stating, "I can't tell you how proud I am and how happy I am for Tim. I believe that his best baseball is in front of him. This couldn't have happened to a more deserving kid."
Regarding Tim, Railsplitter head baseball coach Jeff Sziksai said, "Tim is a big, strong left-handed hitter that has the ability to play both first base and the outfield. He is a great kid and comes from a great family and we are excited about seeing him develop over the next four years at LMU."
Jacob West comes to Lincoln Memorial University by way of Maryville High School in Maryville, Tennessee. A 6'0", 200 pound infielder, West brings strong career statistics and a power bat to the Railsplitters' roster. In 2009, he was named District Rookie of the Year after posting a .367 average with 31 RBIs and five home runs. He garnered All-District honors that year along with earning that distinction in 2010 and 2011. In 2011, West pounded out a .410 batting mark with 52 RBIs and ten home runs. This season, West has compiled a .364 batting average with 28 RBIs and three blasts.
When selecting the destination to continue his academic and athletic career, West was pursued by Wofford College, Carson-Newman College, Volunteer State and Columbia State before deciding on Lincoln Memorial University. When asked about why he chose LMU, West stated, "I chose LMU because I like the rural location of Harrogate, the coaches had a very solid, moral-based philosophy about the game of baseball and they provide a great education to pursue my dreams in the medical field."
Maryville High School head baseball coach Jim Gaylor spoke highly of West, stating, "Jacob West is a winner! He has great character. In terms of baseball, he has good speed and power. He is a solid defensive third baseman, he is dependable and gives consistent effort on a daily basis."
Regarding Jacob, LMU head coach Jeff Sziksai stated, "Jacob is physically mature, and has legitimate power potential. He has a chance to be an impact bat early in his career and he is also solid defender in the infield. But what we like most about Jacob is his makeup, work ethic and character. He is a great fit for our program."