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Baseball: Bishop McLaughlin's Dre Leal chooses USF

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Mon. January 24, 2011 | Bryan Burns

Bishop McLaughlin middle infielder Dre Leal, only a sophomore, has given an oral commitment to USF according to Hurricanes head coach Nick Rodriguez.

Leal started in the middle infield and was the backup catcher as a freshman last season for a Bishop McLaughlin team that advanced to the Class 2A region finals. As the Hurricanes' No. 2 hitter, Leal batted .238 with 26 runs scored and 9 RBIs, but it was his defensive prowess that caught the eye of USF coaches.

"He is an outstanding baseball player with some of the best hands I have seen," Rodriguez said. "He loves to play the game, and as he continues to develop, he will be a great player at that level."

Rodriguez said Leal has attended a number of clinics at USF and recently had the opportunity to tour the facilities and meet with Bulls head coach Lelo Prado.  

USF was the first school to offer Leal, but he quickly jumped at the opportunity.

"That's where he wanted to be," Rodriguez said. "It's Big East baseball, playing in a brand new stadium. It's tough not to sell that opportunity to a kid."

Rodriguez said USF likes Leal's ability behind the plate at catcher as well as in the middle infield. Leal joins T.J. Wharton (UNC Greensboro) and David Heintz (Tampa) as current Hurricanes who have made their collegiate choices. Wharton was Bishop McLaughlin's first Division I commitment when he verballed in October of 2009.

"This has been pretty big for our program," Rodriguez said.

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