Nashville Outlaws rely on local talent to stock initial roster

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 11:30pm

It’s simple: Drew Fann is fond of home.

When it came time to choose a college, the Murfreesboro native opted to stay close and enroll at Vanderbilt, where he was an invited walk-on with the baseball team three years ago.

When he thought about where he wanted to spend the summer after his junior year, he hoped for an opportunity with the Nashville Outlaws, a first-year franchise in the Prospect League.

Tuesday he got his wish. The Outlaws announced their initial roster, and Fann was one of 12 players with ties to Middle Tennessee.

“I’m really excited,” the Commodores’ backup catcher said. “I get to play in front of a lot of friends, and (VU teammates) Navery Moore and Bryan Johns are going to be on there with me. So I get to spend some more time with those guys.

“Anytime you can play on your home field it’s unbelievable. And I get a whole extra set of games here. So it’s great.”

The Outlaws will play a 56-game season and their home games will take place at Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field.

In addition to Fann, Moore and Johns, four others from local universities – Greg Bachman and Matt Marsh of Austin Peay, Jon Ivie from Belmont, and Nick Montgomery and Judd Stoltz from Middle Tennessee State – will be on the team. Additionally, Brentwood Academy graduate Sam Dove (Georgia Tech) and David Lipscomb product Ryan Emery (Arkansas State) will come home for the summer months.

“The Outlaws are truly going to be a team that is representative of Nashville,” president/general manager Brandon Vonderharr said in a release announcing the roster. “The type of talent that we were able to accumulate on short notice is a testament to the level of play of baseball in our community.”

Last summer, Fann went to Saratoga, N.Y. and played in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.

The Prospect League, like the NYCBL, is a wood bat league designed to showcase collegiate talent in the summer. The difference for Fann, however, is enormous.

“When I heard about this opportunity I thought it would be really cool if I ended up on this team,” he said. “(Vanderbilt assistant Derek Johnson) called me one day and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a spot on the Outlaws for you.’ I thought. ‘How great to be able to stay around here in Middle Tennessee for the summer.”

The Outlaws open the season June 4. Their home opener will be June 8.