MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois baseball announced the signing of eight new student-athletes to the Leatherneck baseball program. The class includes six pitchers, an outfielder and a third baseman all from the Midwest.
Third-year head coach Mike Villano is excited about the prospects of this group combining with the 2011 class as his program continues to sign quality student-athletes with hopes of competing for Summit League titles.
"We had some needs that we knew we needed to fill and I think we did that with this class," said Villano. "We would still like to add a middle-of-the-lineup type hitter."
"I want to thank our administration who did a great job of assisting with the process," Dr. Tim Van Alstine, Josh Moon, Chris Wlezien, Lisa Melz-Jennings, Sue Danner, Laurie Black, Chris Winter and others need to feel great about the work they did to bring this group of student-athletes to the Western Illinois family. Our coaching staff of Shane Davis, Cooper Stewart and Mike Vucsko all put in a lot of hours during the process to secure this signing class."
"In addition, I want to thank
Position - Right-Handed Pitcher - 6'4'' 185
Hometown - Crete, Illinois
High School - Marion Catholic
Summer Team - Northern Illinois Reds
Parents - Kevin & Lindsay Nunn
High School Coaches - Phil Wail, George Shimko and Brian Storako
Travel Coaches - Kevin Sullivan, Derek Golak and Steve Hanson
Robby joins the Leathernecks out of Crete, Ill. A three-year starting pitcher at Marion Catholic and has made 20 starts the past two seasons. During that time, he tossed 107 innings with six complete games with 86 K's. Nunn set the MCHS program record with the fewest walks (23) in 2010 and then broke his own record with 11 walks in 2011. Led his team to a third place finish in the 2011 Summer State Championship - Phil Lawler Summer Classic and also collected two complete game victories in the series. Carries a career ERA of 2.70 and was selected as the 2010 Most Improved Player. In addition, was selected by the East Suburban Catholic Conference to participate in the Northwest Suburban Baseball Tournament Stevenson Showcase. Nunn is ranked as 35th best prospect in the state by Illinois Prep Baseball report. Also, selected to the Chicago White Six Silver & Black Series on three occasions as well as the Area Code Game Tryouts in 2010 and 2011. During the past two seasons he has pitched in Perfect Game tournaments. In the fall of 2010, he collected a complete game shutout at the Underclass Tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla. Nunn was the winning pitcher in the opening game of the Kernels Foundation Tournament in the fall of 2011. Tossed six innings and allowed only one earned run as his team, the Chicagoland 12's, finished as runner-up in the tournament.
Coach Villano: "Robby is a big, projectable body. He has plus sink on his pitches and has good feel for his changeup. He touches 87 mph right now but we have no doubt when we get him in here and work with him he can sit in the low 90s."
Position - Right-Handed Pitcher - 6'2'' 185
Hometown - Hoffman Estates, Illinois
High School - Elgin
Summer Team - Fox Valley Royals
Parents - Gil & Candy Doty
High School Coaches - Dave Foerster
Travel Coaches - Andy Bisceglia
Alex joins the Leatherneck program out of Hoffman Estates, Ill. A two-time team captain while anchoring the pitching staff during his high school career. Invited to the Midwest Suburban Showcase and also participated in The Pitch & Hit Club 40 Showcase. As a sophomore, Doty struck out 55 batters in 54 2/3 innings. As a junior, set down 38 batters via the K in 33 1/3 innings. This past summer, while playing with the Fox Valley Royals he went 4-1 with 2.41 ERA. He collected 38 K's and helped the team to a 24-11 record. This fall, Doty played with Hard Knox Baseball where he went 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA while collecting 28 K's in 20 innings. Alex has been clocked at 85-88 mph on his fastball.
Coach Villano: "Alex is a hard worker and that has helped him make a jump in velocity to 88 mph over the summer, which is exciting. He has a chance to have a plus breaking ball and is a strong athlete."
Position - Right-Handed Pitcher - 6'6'' 200
Hometown - Moline, Illinois
Junior College - Black Hawk College
High School - Rock Island Alleman
Summer Team - Quad City Hitmen
Parents - Kedric & Carrie Prince
High School Coach - Scott Harding
JUCO Coach - Arnie Chavera
Keelan joins the Leathernecks out of Moline, Ill. and spent time at Black Hawk College before joining the Purple & Gold. Prince was a First Team All-State selection by Illinois coaches in 2010. He was also named First Team All-Metro in 2009-10 by the Rock Island/Argus Moline Dispatch. Ranked as the ninth best best prospect in 2009 by Illinois Prep Baseball Report. Prince was named Team MVP in 2010 when he hit .308 with three home runs, 24 RBI and 23 runs scored. On the mound, he collected a 1.34 ERA and struck out 60 K's, five shutouts and walking just 11 batters. At Black Hawk College, Prince tossed a no-hitter in the spring of 2011 against Buffalo University, his first collegiate game. Went 6-0 in his 10 games pitched with a 2.6 ERA with 40 K's in 44.2 innings pitched and he walked just 10 batters. Also an accomplished basketball player, Prince was named Second Team All-State in 2010 and was a Quad City Times Athlete of the Year Finalist. Selected to the All-Western Big 6 Tea, in 2009-10 and the All-Metro Team in 2009-10. He was selected to play in the IBCA All-Star Game. Holds a State Farm Holiday Classic record with converting 19 consecutive free throws and finished 20-for-21 from the line.
Coach Villano:"Keelan is not only an exciting Division I prospect but also a professional prospect. He could be a weekend starter for us this upcoming season. His size and athletic abilities are incredible. He can touch 92 mph with his fastball and does a good job of commanding the strike zone with all his pitches."
Position - Left-Handed Pitcher - 5'10'' 165
Hometown - Decatur, Illinois
High School - St. Teresa
Summer Teams - Jerry Morville All-Stars, Springfield Statesmen and Decatur Commodores
Parents - Chris & Jenny Michel
High School Coaches - Jim Stewart & Jim Bland
Travel Coaches - Chris Michel, Doug Fox, Tracy Cearlock, Steve Jeffers and Jeremy Current.
Aaron joins the Leatherneck program out of Decatur, Ill. Michel was a First Team All-Macon County and First Team All-Okaw Valley selection in 2011. He was named the herald & review Macon County Baseball Player of the Year in 2010. He was also the ESPN1050 Baseball Player of the Year. Michel also earned First Team All-Macon County and First Team All-Okaw Valley honors in 2010. In 2009, he was named Honorable Mention All-Okaw Valley.
Coach Villano: "Aaron is an extremely competitive left-hander with an athletic delivery. He is a gamer that really competes on the mound and could contribute immediately. He possesses the championship mentality that we are seeking."
Position - Right-Handed Pitcher - 6'6'' 220
Hometown - New Holland, Illinois
Junior College - John Wood CC
High School - Lincoln Community
Parents - Jim & Jane White
JUCO Coach - Greg Wathen
John joins the Leathernecks out of New Holland, Ill. White has a big, projectable body with a fast, easy arm. Throws his fastball from 86-90 with a sharp breaking ball and good command of his change up. the tall right-hander collected 33 K's in 40 1/3 innings as a starter for John Wood last season and also picked up three victories.
Coach Villano: "John has a projectable body and can throw three pitches for strikes. He has come a long way in his progression over the last two years. As he continues on that same pace of improvement there is no telling what he could accomplish."
Position - Infielder - 5'11'' 195
Hometown - Portage, Indiana
High School - Portage
Summer Team - Indiana Breakers
Parents - Mariano & Gladys Acevedo
High School Coach - Tim Pirowski
Travel Coach - Ralph Bufano
Gabe joins the Purple & Gold out of Portage, Ind. Acevedo was named his team's Rookie of the Year in 2010. Selected as one of the Top 90 players in Indiana in 2010 and 2011. He was named Second Team All-State as a junior. Was a member of Team Indiana in 2011. The third baseman was an All-Conference and All-Area selection in 2011. Hit .455 with 47 RBI, three triples and five home runs. Fell three RBI short of breaking his high school record, which was set in 1985.
Coach Villano: "Gabe is one of purest hitters I saw this past summer. He can definately hit and has an excellent approach at the plate. He has power to all fields and is a middle-of- the-lineup hitter. He is a solid defender that will be a solid contributor down the road on our infield. We are excited about his potential."
Anton (TJ) Schrader III
Position - Right-Handed Pitcher - 6'1'' 185
Hometown - Mackinaw, Illinois
High School - Dee-Mack
Summer Team - Central Illinois Outlaws & Cincinnati Reds Scout Team
Parent - Jenn Reader
Coaches - Ron Leitner & Brain Shouse
TJ joins the Leatherneck program out of Mackinaw, Ill. Varsity starter as a sophomore and a junior. Schrader was named Peoria Journal Star Honorable Mention All-Area as a pitcher in 2011. He earned Second Team All-HOIC as a utility player in 2010. Selected to the First Team All-HOIC in 2011 as a pitcher by a unanimous decision. Participated on the McDonald All-Star Game in 2010 and 2011. Went 9-2 in 2011 with a 1.92 ERA and 121 K's in 73 innings while hitting .459. high school team was conference champions, regional champions and sweet 16 participants in 2011. Schrader was invited to the Plainfield Showcase in 2011 and played on Team Illinois in the 2011 Midwest Classic Baseball Tournament. He also was invited to play in the 2011 Pitch & Hit Club Showcase and 2011 Illinois Crossroads Baseball Series.
Coach Villano: "TJ is the type of athlete that we like on the mound. He has a chance to have a plus breaking pitch. TJ can touch 88 mph with his fastball and as he continues to mature physically and mentally, he will improve by leaps and bounds."
Position - Outfielder - 6'0'' 175
Hometown - Kankakee, Illinois
Junior College - Kankakee CC
High School - Kankakee
High School Coach: John Wade
Parents - Brian & Andrea DeCook
JUCO Coach - Todd Post
Neil joins the Leathernecks out of Rockford, Ill. after spending time at Kankakee CC. in the spring of 2011, DeCook hit .353 with 44 RBI, 81 runs scored, seven triples, 14 doubles, 76 total hits and stole 25 bases. Started every game in center field and had six outfield assists, 122 put outs with a .975 fielding percentage. Team captain in high school and set the school record with 12 triples in a season while hitting .503.
Coach Villano: "Neil is an excellent athlete that does everything well. He possesses excellent leadership qualities and projects as a top-of-the-lineup hitter. His speed approach at the plate and overall base running ability has us very excited about him being at the top of our lineup."