Archive for the 'College Baseball Recruiting' Category

Northern Sun & College Baseball Updates – Thanksgiving Edition

Okay, Thanksgiving was really yesterday but I was busy eating turkey.  Now with a day off it’s time to update a few items of interest for the Northern Sun Conference and college baseball as a whole.

A lot of the recent news in college baseball revolves around recruiting news as teams are announcing the signing of players during the NCAA’s early signing period.  Last week I posted 5 press releases from Northern Sun teams that had announced signings – Northern Sun Fall 2009 Signings

  • A couple days after that blog entry I was sent the press release from Minnesota State.  MN State Announces seven 2010-11 Signings  The school has been right up there with St. Cloud State as having some of the largest and most high profile recruiting success lately.  Zach Bohar, Ronnie Donley, Dalton Grove, Jason Hoppe, TJ Larson, Tyler Ockuly and Parker Sullivan will be suiting up for the Mavericks during the 2011 season.
  • College Baseball Insider also has done some tracking of overall Division 2 College Baseball fall signings and although they are woefully behind the announcements it’s interesting to see what other schools are adding to their rosters – Division 2 Early Signings
  • Baseball America continues to be a premier site for baseball as a whole and while the majority of their college baseball content is premium Aaron Fitt had a recent column answering Division 1 college baseball recruiting questions – College Recruiting Chat
  • In addition to following Upper Midwest D2 baseball I’ve long been a fan of the University of Minnesota (my alma mater) and their baseball team.  Kendall Rogers from Rivals just published a positive outlook about the team, although I’m a bit more skeptical after the Gophers lost 3 of their top hitters and 2 of their top pitchers.  Five Keys for Minnesota Baseball
  • Finally, I like to check the NCAA site and while this has nothing to do with college baseball, per se, I see that the Northern Sun Conference has been awarded $10,000 to potentially add new members to the Conference.  This has the potential to be something to keep track of in future years.  D2 Committee Approves Membership Grants

Northern Sun Baseball – Fall Signings Announced


The NCAA allows college baseball teams to sign players to a National Letter of Intent at 2 times during the year.  The primary time is during the late spring/summer but there is also a fall signing period which this year ran from November 11 – 18.  This is for baseball players in their senior year of high school who will begin college play for the 2010-11 school year.

The following Northern Sun Conference teams announced the signing of athletes –

  • Winona State – Announced the signing of 4 players (Tyler Smith, Tyler Zemla, Ryan Style & Michael Wasilik) including 2 players from Oak Creek, WI – Winona State Signs 4
  • Northern State – Signed a player from California (Sheldon Ekstrand) to come play in Aberdeen – Wolves Ink Ekstrand
  • Bemidji State – Had never before signed players during the early signing period during head coach Tim Bellow’s 5 years as the manager but announced that they signed 2 players this year (Zach Braun & Aaron Young) – Beavers Sign 2
  • Wayne State – Signed the first 2 players of new coach Brian Disch’s tenure and went to Minnesota and Wisconsin to find them (Ben Schaben & Brandon Lalk) – WSC Baseball Inks 2
  • St. Cloud State – Continued their pattern of strong recruiting by signing 7 players during the early signing period (Garrett Anderson, Chris Kubitz, Jordan Milbrath, Max Ditty, Matt Vold, Michael Jurgella & Eric Loxtercamp).  They’ve definitely impressed me as being among the most active recruiters in the Conference – Huskies Sign 7 to NLI’s

While it’s certainly possible that other college baseball teams in the Northern Sun Conference have signed players during the early signing period, they haven’t issued press releases at this time. 

Northern Sun Baseball – Summer ‘09 Recruiting

signing graphic

The 2009-10 school year is about to begin and the summer 2009 baseball signing period has come and gone.  A number of programs have announced additions to their programs for the coming year.  It’s actually quite surprising to see SO MANY signings at some of these schools.  If I was one of the first to commit and they signed 17 more players after me I might be a bit upset –

  • Augustana had a better than expected season last year under new coach Tim Huber and is building on that with the addition of 18  new players for the 2010 season.  They announced 10 summer signings in June (Augustana Baseball Inks 10) and 3 more in August (Augies Add to 2009 Class).
  • Concordia is adding 11 new players to a team that had last years smallest roster and a team that lost a number of its best players to graduation – Tartan Star Commits – Brings Golden Bears to 11
  • St. Cloud State, in my  opinion, easily had the best recruiting class for the coming year (granted I only know MN high schoolers).  They already had an excellent class coming in when they announced in late July the signing of Lion’s All-Star Series MVP, Jon Traetow (Lions MVP Signs) and then followed that up with signing 3 transfers from D1’s Northern Iowa who disbanded their team (Schultz SigningSchwenke SigningJohnson Signing).  The Huskies had previously announced the signing of 6 other freshman who participated in the Lion’s All-Star Series, including one of Minnesota’s top 2009 high school athletes in Willmar’s Jordan Smith.
  • Upper Iowa one upped Augustana by announcing that they had signed 19 players for the 2010 season.  The press release was pretty interesting as they didn’t even have any information on a number of their players previous baseball careers.  It would be interesting to see how they divvy up the scholarship money or find out how many of these guys are walking on.  Peacock Baseball Recruiting Class
  • Back in July, Wayne State announced the signing of 3 additional players to bring their class to a total of 8.  3 Join Wildcat Baseball
  • Finally, Minnesota Duluth announced that they have signed 4 more players bringing their total to 9 (including 7 pitchers).  One interesting note is that early signee, Evan Knutson of Faribault, is no longer listed as a signee so he’s obviously going somewhere else.  Also, the signings at UMD include 2 sons of former Minnesota Twins!  UMD Baseball Adds 4

Concordia Announces 3 New Commits for 2010


Concordia announced yesterday that 3 new players have committed to the Golden Bears to start play for them as freshman in 2010.  Three Commit for 2010 Season

Concordia University head baseball coach Mark “Lunch” McKenzie has announced the commitments of three student-athletes that will suit up for the 2010 season. Left handed pitcher Patrick Rydeen (Lakeland, Minn. / Stillwater Area HS), utility player Mick Sawinski (St. Louis Park, Minn. / St. Louis Park HS) and outfielder Bobby Widenski (Oak Creek, Wis. / Oak Creek HS) are the three newcomers who will help the team next season.

Rydeen is a leftie and is Stillwater’s #1 pitcher this year.  He won his first game this year against Roseville (Roseville Story) and lost a game this week against Park of Cottage Grove (gotta dig for it – Park Box Score).  He was Stillwater’s starter in game 1 of their 2008 Minnesota State Tournament appearance and took the loss against eventual champion Coon Rapids – Stillwater – Coon Rapids Boxscore

Sawinski was quite good in 2008, hitting .352 for St. Louis Park (2008 Statistics) but is off to a slow start this year as he’s hitting only .158 through the Orioles first 8 games (2009 Stats).

Widenski comes from the same school in Wisconsin as one of Concordia’s fall signee’s (JT Schneider).  In fact, that school (Oak Grove HS in WI) also has a player attending Northern Sun’s Winona State (Ross Fassbinder), a D1 player and 3 – D3 players.  Oak Creek Knights Site

The other intriguing thing about the press release is that it says these 3 join 2 others (JT Schneider and Griffon Kilber).  It makes no mention of Marcus Fitzgerald, a transfer player from DCTC who was listed on Concordia’s fall early signing press release.

The Challenge of Baseball in the Lake Conference

Fighting the Sun

In Minnesota, the premier athletic conference in all of high school sports is by far and away the Lake Conference.  Pick any high school sport and it’s likely that a Lake Conference team has won the state championship within the past 3 years.

That has been the case in baseball as well with teams from Apple Valley, Lakeville and Eden Prairie winning it all within the past 5 years.  Last year the Conference sent 3 teams to the state championship.  2008 saw a bumper crop of talent come from the Lake as almost every team produced college bound baseball players.  Chaska turned out the state’s player of the year, Brad Hand, who skipped college to go straight to the Florida Marlins system after being drafted by Major League Baseball in the 2nd round.

While some consider the talent to be down this year, here’s an example of the challenge faced by being a Lake team using my hometown Rosemount nine –

Game 1 – Eastview – starting pitcher Nick Dolsky, a D1 recruit going to Arizona.  4 pro scouts were in the stands.

Game 2 – Eagan – starting pitcher Charlie Weinberg, a D1 recruit going to Illinois-Chicago

Game 3 – Burnsville – starting pitcher Grant Larson, a D2 recruit going to Augustana who was relieved by Jack Lassonde, a D2 recruit going to Minnesota Duluth

Game 5 – Chaska – starting pitcher Shawn Riesgraf, a D1/D2 recruit

Game 6 – Eden Prairie – almost certain to face Tim Bado, their #1 pitcher

Speaking of Chaska’s Shawn Riesgraf, it was interesting to see his recruitment unfold as St. Cloud State’s pitching coach (Pete Pratt), Minnesota State’s head coach (Matt Majers) and D1 recruiters from NDSU and UND were in attendance.  Riesgraf got a 4-1 complete game win, giving up 6 hits and no earned runs.  He threw around 83 on the UND/NDSU guns.  I’m guessing there’s a decent chance he ends up in the Northern Sun next year as at least 1 of the D1 recruiters didn’t seem that interested.

My thanks to coach Pratt and Majers who took a little time to chat – it was good to meet the people in person I’m writing about.

News From Around College Baseball – 4/2/09

Fungos and Ball

There are a number of stories this week in the blogosphere about Division 2 college baseball and upper Midwest baseball happenings that I wanted to highlight –

  • The NCAA publishes a weekly update about D2 baseball which highlights some great individual performances from the previous week or important games between top teams.  One of those players profiled this week was University of Indianapolis pitcher Cory White who struck out a school record 15 batters in a 7 inning game in leading his team to a 3-1 victory over Lewis University (a team that’s played against both Winona State and Upper Iowa this season).  NCAA D2 Notebook
  • Speaking of the NCAA, they are currently running a 3 part series called “A Shoppers Guide to Division 2” which discusses the fiscal impact of Division II athletic membership along with the costs/benefits of college sports at the Division 2 level.  The 2nd installment discusses “ticker envy” and prudent fiscal management while the final piece is about how one school’s attempt to live the D1 philosophy led it back to choose Division II instead.  It’s an interesting read, especially in light of the economic climate that has led to some schools dropping D1 baseball like Vermont and Northern Iowa recently decided to do.  Shoppers Guide to D2 – part 1   Shoppers Guide to D2 – part 2  Shoppers Guide to D2 – part 3
  • Back on March 15th I commented about the record setting win by Southwest Minnesota State in beating Minnesota Duluth 34-1 (Mustangs Beat Bulldogs 34-1).  That was nothing compared to the whooping that D1 school Eastern Kentucky laid on D2 school Kentucky State.  The final score in that contest was 49-1.  Kentucky State actually led 1-0 after the top of the first inning and then gave up 22 runs in the bottom of the inning.  Oh yeah, the game only lasted 5 innings!  Eastern Kentucky Hammers Kentucky State 49-1
  • Finally, I’ll be following Minnesota High School baseball this spring as well.  Minnesota is the primary recruiting grounds for a lot of Northern Sun Conference schools.  In fact, of the 33 high school seniors who signed National Letters of Intent with NSIC teams in the fall early signing period, 24 of them were from Minnesota.  Today was scheduled to be opening day for many teams but a lot of games are already being pushed back.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a preview of the Lake Conference, Minnesota’s premier baseball/athletic conference, in yesterday’s paper.  The article doesn’t really cover enough ground as it only covers 3 teams, but it does mention 2 future NSIC pitchers (Wallace & Kilber).  Star Tribune Lake Conference Preview

College Baseball Recruiting

Signing NLI

I’ve come across a number of resources & articles recently that talk to the college baseball recruiting process and experience that I thought I’d share.

First of all, this video is from Wayne Mazzoni who is the pitching coach at Division 1’s Sacred Heart.  He has great advice to high school players and parents for how to use video and what he’s looking for to find who they are interested in.  I like that he talks about the importance of “getting outs” vs. how hard someone can throw.

Players and parents might also want to look at the following resources:

  • The NCAA has a number of resources that all high school players should know about, especially the process for going through the NCAA Clearinghouse and eligibility requirements – NCAA Information for College Bound Athletes
  • The National Collegiate Scouting Association has some good guidelines for baseball players to help them understand what type level of college baseball they might fit into best based upon their high school stats, body type and throwing speed – NCSA Recruiting Guidelines
  • The Baseball Factory Blog has some great articles including this most recent one on D1-itis.  They have seen lots of players have dreams of playing Division 1 college baseball when they might be happier and get to play more at a lower level – Don’t Catch D1-itis!
  • Kelly Kulina from The Baseball Factory has a ton of great content for high school players on selecting the best fit and getting noticed.  You might start with this article on picking the best school but search his stuff for lots of good stories – Getting It Right the First Time – Part 1
  • Finally, you might want to be looking at Showcases as a way to get some exposure to the recruiting process and college coaches.  The biggest one in Minnesota each year is the Showtime Sports event but there are others too.  Your high school coach should help nominate you – Minnesota High School Showcase

Hopefully a few high school students and parents will find some resources that will help them through this stressful process and find the right school to continue playing baseball.

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September 2021