MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois baseball announced the signing of four student-athletes for the 2013-14 season. The early singing class includes two pitchers, one infielder and a catcher. Two players come from Illinois, while one player hails from Iowa and one from Indiana.
"I am very excited about our early signing class. It was a complete athletic department and University effort." said first year head coach Ryan Brownlee, "In five weeks, we built a solid foundation for Leatherneck baseball. We still have a little bit of work to do to fill out our class but feel very fortunate in getting these players and families to believe in Western Illinois University Baseball."
Position - LHP - 6'3"/200
Hometown - Ogden, Iowa.
High School - Ogden High School
Spring/Legion Ball Teams - Carroll Merchants
Parents - Scott & Gina Church
High School Coach - Dick Smith
Church posted 5-0 record with a 0.83 ERA during his junior season at Ogden. The lefty surrendered just 24 hits in 42 innings, while striking out 83 batters and giving up five earned runs. Preston set the Ogden high school record for strikeouts and lowest ERA in a season. Was named First-team All-Conference and Second-Team All-District after both sophomore and junior seasons. Was also named to the Iowa Preps All-State Team after his junior season. Career record through three seasons is 16-2 with a 1.13 ERA and 224 strikeouts in 142 innings pitched.
Coach Brownlee on Preston Church:
"I saw Preston pitch and play 1B this summer and during camp. He was one of the first recruits I reached out to when I got the job. He reminds me of Blake Monar who pitched at Indiana, who had a nice career for them. Preston is just touching the tip of the iceberg. He is your typical Iowa high school athlete who has to play every sport offered at the high school. Iowa players really blossom in college once they settle into one sport."
Position - Catcher/Infielder -
Hometown - Normal, Illinois
High School - Normal West
Summer/Fall Teams - BNBA/Central Illinois Outlaws
Parents - Robin & Rich McGinnis
High School Coach - Chris Hawkins
Travel Coaches - Jeff Paul, Steve Clapp/Dan Hargis
McGinnis batted .412 last spring for Normal Community West High School, with 25 RBI. He struck out only three times in 112 plate appearances and also had 22 assists defensively while being named First Team All-Big 12 conference. As a sophomore, Adam hit .424 and led a 31-8 team with 56 hits, 41 runs and 36 RBIs. He had 29 assists that season and was named Honorable Mention All-Big12 conference. He received the IHSA - "Sporting a Winning Attitude" Award his junior year. McGinnis has also been a varsity starter for the basketball team the last two years and is on the all-time top 10 list for 3-point shots and assists.
McGinnis played in the National Team Identification Series event at the USA Baseball Training facility in Cary, North Carolina as a member of the Great Lakes regional team that consisted of players from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota. Last summer he represented Illinois in the Crossroads Series where he helped lead team Illinois to a championship over teams representing Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
Coach Brownlee on Adam McGinnis:
"Adam is a player that I had seen play quite a bit the last 2.5 years. He fits our mold of what we are trying to accomplish here at Western. He is a proven winner on and off the field. What really sold Adam was Coach Napoleon's experience as a catching and hitting coach. They hit it off great when Adam was here on campus. Adam's coaches speak very highly of his leadership skills. He also excels as a basketball player.
Position - RHP - 6'2"/185
Hometown - Evansville, Indiana
High School - North Posey
Summer/Fall Teams - Princeton American Legion Post 25
Parents - Joe & Cindy Stolz
High School Coach - Kevin Smith
Travel Coaches - Jesse Simmons
Stolz finished his junior campaign 7-1 for North Posey with a 4.03 ERA and one save. He received All-Conference Honorable Mention honors as a pitcher. Last summer, Tyler helped lead Post 25 to sectional and regional championships, and a third-place finish at the American Legion Indiana State Tournament.
Coach Brownlee on Tyler Stolz:
"Once I got the job at Western, I reached out to Ryan Miller, who was a former high school and college teammate who owns a facility in Evansville. He recommended Tyler because of his personality and how he competes. Pitching and catching are the two toughest transitions to Division I baseball and you have to be ultra competitive to succeed at this level. Ryan described Tyler as a bulldog. I am partial to the Southern Indiana area since I grew up there. It is a blue-collar area and kids from that area are great people and know how to work."
Position - Infielder- 6'2''/180
Hometown - Joliet, Illinois
High School - Joliet Catholic
Summer/Fall Teams - Chi-Town Cream
Parents - Mike & Tammy Tschida
High School Coach - Jared Voss
Travel Coaches - Chuck Reeder
Tschida hit .495 with 52 hits and 33 RBI his junior year for
Joliet Catholic. He also ended the season with a .627 on base percentage, .810
slugging, 10 doubles, seven triples and three home runs. Chris is a two-time
Herald News All-Area shortstop and a two-time All East Suburban Catholic
Conference shortstop. He was also named ESCC Offensive Player of the Year
following his junior season. Chris has also received accolades at the state level,
including Chicago Tribune Second-Team All-State, Illinois High School Baseball
Coaches Association All-State and Prep Baseball Report Second-Team All-State.
Coach Brownlee on Chris Tschida:
"I was very excited when I found out that Chris had committed to Western when I got the job. Coach Davis did a great job of keeping Chris and his family committed to Western Illinois Baseball. Chris and I had worked together at quite a few camps over the years and I saw him play the last two years. One of my first calls when I got the job was to Chris. We had a relationship built up before I got the job so it made for a smooth transition. Chris is a great athlete who also plays football at perennial power Joliet Catholic."
Coach Brownlee End Remarks:
"I want to personally thank Shane Davis and Dusty Napoleon for all of their work on the recruiting trail, on the phone and on campus. They were relentless in their pursuit of getting the right fit for Western Illinois Baseball. We have very good chemistry with our current players so we were looking for student-athletes to come in and complement our current team. We are also big on family here, so our relationship with recruits and player's parents is important as well."
"I want to thank our senior administration and academic services. Dr. Tim Van Alstine was instrumental in us getting these recruits. Not very many Division I athletic directors will meet with recruits personally. Chris Wlezien and Matt Tanney also jumped on board with meeting with recruits as well. Claire Smalzer and Lisa Melz-Jennings showed what we have to offer from a student-athlete academic services standpoint."
"Strength and conditioning is a huge part of Division I athletics and Caleb Robertson, our strength and conditioning coach, is very articulate and passionate. Every recruit that has met with him has come away with a great understanding of what we are doing with our strength program and is excited to work with him."
"Finally, I want to thank our players. In being a student-athlete at Evansville, I understand the time commitment that goes into visits. Our players were very gracious and positive with our recruits and families. As we have told our players, the coaches can do a great job of selling Western Illinois and the baseball program, but it is ultimately our players that will get recruits to campus."