Coach Ken Henderson
Nov. 20, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Saluki Baseball head coach Ken Henderson has announced 12 players have signed a National Letter of Intent to join SIU for the 2014-2015 school year. The highly touted class features 10 current high school seniors and two junior college transfers.
"Time will tell, but I believe this is as good as any signing class we've had in my 24 years as a Saluki," Henderson said. "We obviously like their physical skills and athleticism, however the thing that sets them apart is their makeup. We focused on signing tough, hard-nosed kids who play the game the right way, kids who know how to play hard. This group definitely fits into our vision for the future of Saluki Baseball."
This year's signing class features five pitchers (Michael Baird, Colin Holderman, Alex Lesiak, Ryan Netemeyer and Colten Selvey), three infielders (Hunter Anderson, Greg Lambert and Chase Slone), three outfielders (Logan Blackfan, Michael Klein and Braden Mosley) and one catcher (Nick Hutchins).
This signing class will replace the 14 seniors on the current roster. The Salukis are building a foundation with deep signing classes in consecutive years. The Dawgs have 14 freshmen on this year's squad following last year's strong recruiting class.
"When you put these 12 kids with the 14 freshmen we currently have on campus," Henderson said, "the foundation is in place for some exciting years ahead. "
Henderson said credit must go to everyone involved in the program who helped bring this group together.
"Recruiting is a collective effort and it starts with the guys doing all the road work," Henderson said. "Coach Finigan and Coach Strain deserve a great deal of praise for their work identifying and building relationships with this group. We also need to thank Dr. Rita Cheng, Mario Moccia and all of the people on campus that make Southern Illinois University such a great place to sell to future Salukis. Lastly, we need to thank Kristina Stepps and all of our academic staff and Ben Jaeger, our strength coach for their help in the recruiting efforts."
|Saluki Baseball's 2014 Signees|
|Hunter Anderson||R/R||6-1||190||INF||Brentwood, Tenn.||Brentwood HS|
|Colin Holderman||R/R||6-6||200||RHP||Bourbonnais, Ill.||Bradley-Bourbonnais Community HS|
|Michael Baird||R/R||6-4||180||RHP||Parker, Colo.||Legend HS|
|Logan Blackfan||L/L||6-1||210||OF/1B||Germantown, Tenn.||Houston HS|
|Nick Hutchins||R/R||6-1||200||C||Franklin, Tenn.||Franklin HS|
|Michael Klein||R/R||6-5||205||OF||Trenton, Ill.||Wesclin HS|
|Greg Lambert||R/R||6-0||185||INF||Athens, Ala.||Madison Academy|
|Alex Lesiak||R/R||6-4||215||RHP||Tinley Park, Ill.||Parkland College|
|Braden Mosley||R/R||6-2||205||OF||Moline, Ill.||Moline HS|
|Ryan Netemeyer||R/R||5-11||160||RHP||Belleville, Ill.||Mascoutah HS|
|Colten Selvey||R/R||6-0||205||RHP||Liberal, Mo.||Jefferson College|
|Chase Slone||R/R||6-0||150||INF||Murfreesboro, Tenn.||Siegel HS|
Hunter Anderson (6-1, 190, INF, Brentwood, Tenn., Brentwood HS)
Anderson hit .388 with three home runs, 42 RBIs and eight stolen bases for Brentwood (Tenn.) High School this past spring. He is a two-time All-Conference selection and helped the Bruins to a 30-17 record and a regional championship in 2013. He played summer league with the Tennessee Baseball Club along with Hutchins.
"Hunter can really hit and has the athleticism to play several positions," Henderson said. "He has good size, very good bat speed and runs well. He is a physical, tough kid who was a linebacker in a good Brentwood football program. Hunter also had a very successful summer playing with the Tennessee Baseball Club, one of the better summer baseball programs in that area."
Perfect Game rates Anderson the No. 1 third baseman and eighth overall prospect in Tennessee. Top Tenn ranks him as the fifth best infielder and 19th overall prospect in the state.
"SIU offers everything I was looking for in a university," Anderson said. "It is a big time school but has a smaller college feel with many opportunities for studies. The team is great, and I think I will fit in well."
Michael Baird (6-4, 180, RHP, Parker, Colo., Legend HS)
Baird posted a 4-1 record for Legend (Colo.) High School and helped lead them to a district championship as a junior in 2013. He was selected second-team All-Conference and All-State Academic honorable mention.
"At 6-foot-4, Michael is very athletic and has good arm strength," Henderson said. "He is one of the most projectable kids we signed. He has a good feel for his off-speed pitches, and we are excited to get him on campus and watch him develop."
Baird is rated the 20th-best prospect and fifth-rated right handed pitching prospect in Colorado by Perfect Game.
"I chose SIU because I really liked the school," Baird said. "I loved the baseball program and everyone involved. I can definitely see myself playing as a Saluki."
Logan Blackfan (6-1, 210, OF/1B, Germantown, Tenn., Houston HS)
Blackfan hit .360 with five home runs and 33 RBIs and helped Houston (Tenn.) High School to a 32-8 record and a regional championship as a junior in 2013. He was selected to the Memphis All-Metro team as well as the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association West Tennessee team.
"One of our big needs was to add a left-handed bat, and we think Logan will be a very good college hitter," Henderson said. "He is a strong kid and has the athleticism to play either the outfield or first base. Logan played in one of the better high school programs in the Memphis area and knows how to play hard and how to win."
Blackfan hit .400 for Houston High School's summer team. He also participated in the 7th Annual Power Showcase in 2013.
"I love the coaches," Blackfan said. "The facilities are great. The new baseball field, and the campus are awesome. It feels like a perfect fit."
Colin Holderman (6-6, 200, RHP, Bourbonnais, Ill., Bradley Bourbonnais Community HS)
Holderman posted a 5-2 record for Bradley-Bourbonnais (Ill.) Community High School as a junior in 2013. He played summer ball for Team DeMarini Koutnik, helping the team to a 39-4 record. The team won the Sandlot Series and the University of Missouri Invite.
"At 6-foot-6 and extremely athletic, Colin possesses good arm strength and has a very high ceiling," Henderson said. "He throws strikes, competes hard and has the ability to make significant contributions as a freshman."
Holderman is ranked as the 29th-rated player in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report.
"I chose SIU because after meeting the coaches and seeing the campus, I could see myself as a Saluki," Holderman said. "I really like the plans for the new stadium."
Nick Hutchins (6-1, 200, C, Franklin, Tenn., Franklin HS)
Hutchins was selected All-District at Franklin (Tenn.) High School where he hit .395 with three home runs, and 47 RBIs as a junior in 2013. As a sophomore, he hit .338 and helped the Rebels to District 11AAA and Region 6AAA championships and an appearance in the 6A state playoffs.
"One of our goals was to add a big time guy behind the plate," Henderson said. "We are excited to sign Nick as he has all of the skills needed to be a tremendous college catcher. He is a very physical and tough kid, as evidenced by the fact that he was a linebacker on an outstanding high school football team. Playing summer ball with the Tennessee Baseball Club, Nick has competed at a high level and will make an early impact on our program."
Top Tenn has him rated as the 23rd-best prospect in Tennessee and the third-rated catcher in the state.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of a great program that has a rich history in college baseball," Hutchins said.
Michael Klein (6-5, 205, OF, Trenton, Ill., Wesclin HS)
Klein has been named All-Conference and Belleville News Democrat All-Area each of the past two years at Wesclin (Ill.) High School. As a junior in 2013, he helped the Warriors to a 20-8 record, hitting .412 with a .505 on-base percentage, 21 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
"Michael is a Southern Illinois kid who we are excited to keep at home," Henderson said. "The thing we liked most was his athleticism. He is 6-foot-5 and can really run. As his offensive skills develop, he has a chance to be a special player."
He played his summer ball in southern Illinois with Quakes Baseball, where he was a teammate of Netemeyer and hit .400 with a .494 on-base percentage, and 10 stolen bases in 70 at-bats.
"I chose SIU because Coach Henderson and his staff are passionate about their program and about winning," Klein said. "The new facilities also make it an exciting time to be a Saluki. I am really thankful for the opportunity to become a part of a baseball program with such a proud history."
Greg Lambert (6-0, 183, INF, Athens, Ala., Madison Academy)
Lambert attends Madison (Ala.) Academy where he was named first-team All-State, an ABCA All-Star and selected to the Huntsville Times Elite Team as a junior in 2013. He hit .431 with four home runs, 47 RBIs and nine stole bases in 137 at-bats.
"Greg was one of the better hitters we saw last year," Henderson said. "He had an outstanding summer with the Nashville Knights, one of the more successful teams in the country. He is an athletic infielder with all the tools needed to play at this level. We are excited to go into the state of Alabama and sign someone with Greg's ability."
Perfect Game has Lambert ranked as top third baseman in Alabama and the 24th prospect overall. He played summer league baseball with the Nashville Knights and hit .412 with 12 doubles, six triples and 12 stolen bases in 136 at-bats.
"I chose SIU because of the atmosphere around the campus," Lambert said. "The coaches were great, and I already knew some of the players committed here."
Alex Lesiak (6-4, 215, RHP, Tinley Park, Ill., Parkland College)
Lesiak joins the Salukis from Parkland Community College where he posted a 3-0 record in 13 relief appearances. A native of Tinley Park, Ill., he played his high school baseball at Lincoln Way North.
"Like Selvey, Alex can either start or come out of the bullpen and will provide us an experienced arm," Henderson said. "He is a very polished pitcher, has good arm strength and can throw his off-speed pitches for strikes. He comes out of a juco program that is used to winning and should make an immediate impact on our staff."
Over the summer, he was a Midwest Collegiate League all-star and helped the Southland Vikings to a MCL championship. With the Vikings, he had a 1.79 ERA and four saves in 17 relief appearances.
"I chose Southern Illinois because I felt it was an excellent fit academically and athletically," Lesiak said. "I feel that SIU can help me achieve my goal of playing at the next level."
Braden Mosley (6-2, 205, OF, Moline, Ill., Moline HS)
Mosley is rated as the third best outfielder and 24th best overall senior in the state of Illinois by Prep Baseball Report. He helped Moline High School to a sectional championship in 2013, hitting .298 overall and .375 in the postseason.
"Braden will be one of the best pure athletes in our program," Henderson said. "He is a big physical outfielder, is a plus runner and possesses outstanding bat speed. He has played summer ball at an extremely high level and should make an early impact for us."
In the summer he played for the Top Tier 17U team and hit .370 with a .651 slugging percentage. He led the team in home runs (three), triples (three) and doubles (11).
"I chose SIU because the coaching staff is encouraging and driven to take the Saluki baseball program to the highest level," Mosley said. "I wanted to be a part of it."
Ryan Netemeyer (5-11, 160, RHP, Belleville, Ill., Mascoutah HS)
Netemeyer was selected as an Under Armour Preseason All-American, first-team All-Conference and first-team Belleville News-Democrat All-Area as a junior in 2013. Last year he helped Mascoutah High School to a regional championship, posting a 6-2 record and a 1.93 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 65 and a third innings.
"Ryan was one of the first pitchers we targeted," Henderson said. "He can flat out pitch and might be the most competitive kid we signed. He comes from a baseball family. His dad and cousin both played professionally, and he has a very good knowledge of how to pitch."
Prep Baseball Report has Netemeyer as the 40th-ranked overall prospect in Illinois. While playing for Quakes Baseball during the summer, he went 5-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 34 innings.
"I am very excited to be a Dawg," Netemeyer said. "Carbondale has a top notch engineering program, great coaches, a baseball program with great tradition and great new facilities."
Colten Selvey (6-0, 205, RHP, Liberal, Mo., Jefferson College)
Selvey will join SIU from Jefferson (Mo.) Community College where he went 3-0 with three saves and a 1.98 ERA in 2013 and helped the Vikings to a 35-14 record.
"With so many young pitchers on the staff, we felt as if we needed to add a couple veteran arms," Henderson said. "Colten gives us someone who has had success at the college level. He comes out of one of the better junior college programs in the Midwest and has experience both as a starter and as a closer. Colten has a good arm, can throw his off-speed pitches for strikes and is a tremendous competitor."
A native of Liberal, Mo., Selvey led Liberal High School to a 20-5 record and a runner-up finish in the Missouri Class 1 state tournament as a senior.
"Before stepping foot on campus, I had heard so many great things about SIU," Selvey said. "Then after spending a day in Carbondale, I knew being a Saluki would be the right decision."
Chase Slone (6-0, 150, INF, Murfreesboro, Tenn., Siegel HS)
Slone hit .310 as a junior for Siegel (Tenn.) High School. He hit .300 while playing for the Nashville Knights summer league team.
"Chase was an early target for us as we had a need to bring in a quality middle infielder," Henderson said. "He definitely fits the bill as he has big time defensive skills. He is the son of a high school coach and has a high baseball IQ and great instincts. Chase plays extremely hard and should make an immediate impact on our club."
Slone is the No. 2-rated shortstop and No. 7 overall prospect in Tennessee, according to Perfect Game. Top Tenn ranks him as the 18th overall prospect and the fourth-rated infield in the state of Tennessee. Slone is a Preseason Perfect Game All-American.
"I chose SIU due to how professional the coaching staff is," Slone said. "I also wanted to be a part of all the great things about to happen with Saluki Baseball."