Nov. 25, 2003
The Arizona Republic
By Paul Coro
Nov. 25, 2003
Arizona State baseball is never a hard sell in recruiting, but family ties to the Sun Devils program make it darn near irresistible.
ASU announced its latest signing class last weekend. It is a group of 16 players with the usual accolades - eight in-state players, two top-50 national prospects and seven top-250 national recruits.
But the most recognizable names next year may be Andrew Romine and J.J. Sferra.
Romine, a shortstop signee from Lake Forest, Calif., is the son of early 1980s Sun Devils outfielder Kevin Romine, whose .408 career batting average and 86 stolen bases are still ASU records.
Sferra, a Mountain Pointe center fielder, is not on the list. He will forgo an athletic scholarship to play for his father, ASU assistant and recruiting coordinator Jay Sferra.
Romine said his mother wouldn't let his father influence his decision among ASU, Arizona and Cal State Fullerton.
His dad was a first-team All-America outfielder on the Sun Devils' last national championship team, in 1981.
"I have grown up with the colors flying around the house and hearing the stories," said Andrew, who hit .430 as a junior and is rated by Baseball America as the nation's 201st-best high school player. "I heard nothing but great things about ASU because there's no way you can come out of there and not be a better player than you were before."
Sferra has worn the uniform before, serving as ASU's batboy from 1995 to 2000. When the contact period began July 1, his first call came at 9 a.m.
"Hello, is J.J. there?" the coach said.
"This is him," J.J. replied.
"This is coach Sferra from ASU," his dad said.
"Whatever," J.J. said.
J.J. had made up his mind that he wanted to go to ASU when he made varsity as a sophomore. He hit .460 with a state-high six triples last year.
"I was always a Sun Devils fan even before my dad worked there," J.J. said. "Even if he wasn't there, ASU would be my No. 1 choice. I wonder how it's going to be with him. It'll be kind of neat."
ASU pitcher Brett Bordes' brother, Greg, also signed.
The signing class is headlined by left-handed pitcher Drew Bowman of Morrison, Colo., and Seth Garrison of Coppell, Texas, who are 46th and 50th nationally in Baseball America's rankings.
ASU also beat Stanford for Scottsdale Chaparral outfielder Curt Miaso.