Wisconsin Rapids, WI (PRESS RELEASE) – March 16th, 2010. The Rafters added some punch to their 2010 lineup today when they announced the signings of Michael Smith (University of North Florida) and Ryan Palermo (University of California-Santa Barbara). Both players have started their spring season swinging a hot bat.
Michael Smith, 5'9", 185 lbs (S/R) Jr.
Smith, a junior outfielder and switch-hitter, has gotten off to a fast start this spring batting .271 while starting in all 15 games for North Florida. His best game so far this season came on March 2nd against Georgia Southern when he went 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored.
Last season, Smith started in 50 games for the Ospreys while hitting for a .312 average and sporting a .393 on-base percentage. He had 14 extra base hits on the season, including five doubles, a team-high three triples and six home runs. He recorded 16 multiple hit games and had a team-best 12 multiple RBI contests during the season. He was named to the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic Team in both 2007 and 2008.
Smith was a three year letter winner at Providence High School where he hit for a .521 average with four home runs, 19 RBI, seven doubles, and five stolen bases as a senior. He is originally from Jacksonville, Florida.
Ryan Palermo, 6'2", 185 lbs (R/R) So.
Palermo has burst onto the scene in his second season with the University of California-Santa Barbara. After appearing in nine games and making only one start as a freshman, Palermo has started all 11 of the Gauchos contests entering 2010. He has made it difficult for head coach Bob Brontsema to take his bat out of the lineup, while batting at a respectable .282 clip with a .378 on-base percentage and slugging .410 to begin the season.
Palermo was named First Team All-State, First Team All-West Catholic Athletic League, and First Team All-Metro in both his junior and senior years at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. He holds school records for home runs, RBI, and total bases. Named MVP of the team as a senior, Palermo also led his team to a West Catholic Athletic League championship in both his junior and senior years.