TOLEDO, OH - The University of Toledo baseball program received signed committments from eight recruits for the 2011-12 season, head coach Cory Mee announced today.
Joining the Rockets in Fall 2011 will be Cory Finkler (Olmsted Falls, OH - St. Ignatius), Nate Langhals (Strongsville, OH - Strongsville), Andrew Marra (LaSalle, ONT - St. Thomas of Villanova), Alec Schmenk (Perrysburg, OH - Perrysburg), Austin Schmidt (Sylvania, OH - Northview), Anthony Smith (Hinckley, OH - Holy Name), Lucas Sokol (Akron, OH - Hoban) and Dan Zuchowski (Hamtramck, MI - Bishop Foley).
"We are very excited and pleased with the group of student-athletes that we're bringing in next fall," said Mee, the 2010 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year. "I want to first off thank Recruiting Coordinator/Pitching Coach Josh Bradford and Assistant Coach Nick McIntyre for doing a tremendous job of identifying players that are not only talented baseball players but perfect fits for our program. I also want to thank our players for showing these eight recruits what our program is all about. I think the coaches and players worked well together, and their efforts definitely helped our program continue to grow.
"I feel that we addressed some real specific needs with this recruiting class," Mee added. "We added players from a pitching standpoint that are going to make immediate contributions, and we feel like we've improved ourselves from a position player standpoint. We had a need to add infielders that could help us on defense and also provide a middle-of-the-order type bat, which I feel we did. I can't wait for these young men to get here next fall so we can put them in a Rocket uniform."
Name Pos. B/T Ht. Wt. Hometown - Last School
Cory Finkler RHP/C R/R 6-2 190 Olmsted Falls, OH - St. Ignatius
Nate Langhals INF/RHP R/R 6-0 160 Strongsville, OH - Strongsville
Andrew Marra RHP R/R 6-0 175 LaSalle, ONT - St. Thomas of Villanova
Alec Schmenk RHP R/R 6-2 180 Perrysburg, OH - Perrysburg
Austin Schmidt RHP R/R 6-6 200 Sylvania, OH - Northview
Anthony Smith INF R/R 6-2 205 Hinckley, OH - Holy Name
Lucas Sokol C R/R 6-3 175 Akron, OH - Hoban
Dan Zuchowski INF/P L/R 6-2 180 Hamtramck, MI - Bishop Foley
Here is a closer, in-depth look at all eight of Toledo's early signees:
• Played for Head Coach Brad Ganor at St. Ignatius
• Helped lead team to sectional championship (2010)
• Played for Lake Erie Bulldogs and went 1-1 with two saves on the hill (Summer 2010)
• Also hit .316 (25-for-79) with 14 runs scored, five doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBI for the Bulldogs (Summer 2010)
Mee on Finkler: "I am very excited about Cory's potential because he just started pitching in the last year, and I feel he has a very bright future on the mound. I think he's going to develop into a power-type pitcher with a good fastball and a good breaking ball. I can't want to see him work with Coach Bradford on a daily basis, because I feel Josh is going to have a real positive influence on him. Josh and I both think he is going to blossom as a pitcher and be a guy that we can count on in our program for many years to come."
• Three-year letterwinner in baseball and soccer at Strongsville High School
• Played for Head Coach Josh Sorge
• Hit .323 with 21 runs scored and 15 RBI (2010)
• Tallied 16 strikeouts in 20.2 innings on the mound (2010)
• Earned first-team all-league honors (2010)
• Helped lead squad to state tournament regional finals (2010)
• Started at shortstop and helped guide team to state tournament regional finals (2009)
• First-team all-conference and second-team All-Greater Cleveland in soccer (2010)
• First-team all-conference and honorable mention All-Greater Cleveland in soccer (2009)
• Attended same high school as current Rocket Jeff Cola
Mee on Langhals: "Nate is a player that is going to help solidify our infield defense during his time at UT. He is outstanding defensively. Nate comes to the ballpark everyday ready to play. I think he's an outstanding athlete, and he'll have an impact on our program from the get-go because of the energy and enthusiasm he possesses."
• Three-year letterwinner in baseball at St. Thomas Villanova High School
• Played for Head Coach Tom Beale
• Tallied 6-1 record on the hill with 34 strikeouts and 1.41 ERA in 35.0 innings (2010)
• Also hit .381 and did not record an error at shortstop over 132 innings of play (2010)
• Earned first-team all-league honors at shortstop (2009)
• Named to Top Prospect Team at the National Underclassmen Showcase Main Event in Fort Myers, FL
• Played for 18th-ranked South Oakland A's (Summer 2010)
• Pitched three-hit, complete game vs. second-ranked East Cobb Astros in Perfect Game Tourney (Summer 2010)
• Played for ninth-ranked South Oakland A's (Summer 2009)
• Hurled four-hit, complete game vs. top-ranked Canes Baseball Club in Perfect Game Tourney (Summer 2009)
Mee on Marra: "I'm very excited about Andrew joining our team and pitching staff. He is very polished for a high school pitcher who can throw three pitches for strikes. Andrew has everything we are looking for in a guy on the mound. He has great composure, and he has pitched in a lot of big games in different situations. For all these reasons, I think he's going to come in and really be a guy that contributes in a big way early in his career."
• Two-year letterwinner in baseball and basketball at Perrysburg High School
• Played for Head Coach Dave Hall
• Tallied 6-0 ledger on the mound with 0.84 ERA (2010)
• Second-team all-state pitcher (2010)
• First-team all-district and all-conference pitcher (2010)
• Also hit .326 (2010)
• Registered 3-1 record on the hill with 2.57 ERA (2009)
• Second-team all-league infielder (2009)
• Also batted .352 (2009)
Mee on Schmenk: "Alec does the one thing we want all of our pitchers to do. He is the ultimate strike thrower, commanding his fastball down in the zone on both sides of the plate and he throws nothing but strikes. His fastball has really good movement, which leads to a lot of ground balls and that's what we want from all our pitchers. I'm really excited to see him grow and develop as a pitcher as he improves and develops his off-speed pitches. I think Alec teaming up with Josh (Bradford) is really going to lead to some great performances from him."
• Two-year letterwinner in baseball and one year in basketball at Sylvania Northview High School
• Played for Head Coach Kevin Danzeisen
• Honorable mention all-conference infielder (2010)
• Tallied 1.04 ERA on the mound (2010)
• Also hit .337 with .990 fielding percentage (2010)
Mee on Schmidt: "In my opinion, Austin might have the highest ceiling of all of the players of this recruiting class. He's a right-handed thrower who I believe will be a power pitcher as he matures and enters into our strength program. I think Austin is only going to get better as he does that. He is somebody that is really is going to work well with Josh (Bradford), and I think we will see big returns from Austin during his career here."
• Three-year letterwinner in baseball and one year in basketball at Holy Name High School
• Played for Head Coach Don Smith
• Hit .413 with 15 doubles, a school-record seven home runs and a school-record 43 RBI (2010)
• Led team in walks and two-base hits (2010)
• First-team all-conference, all-district and all-region honoree (2010)
• Tallied 2-0 record on the mound with 1.71 ERA (2010)
• Preseason "Player to Watch" in Cleveland Plain Dealer (2010)
• Batted .397 with three home runs and 26 RBI (2009)
• First-team all-league selection (2009)
Mee on Smith: "Anthony is a big, strong corner infielder. He also provides a middle-of-the-order type bat. I think Anthony has some power, and he'll develop into a power hitter during his time here. One of the things I love about Anthony is his great temperament for the game. I look at him as a gamer and we can't have enough of those guys in our program."
• Three-year letterwinner in baseball and two years in basketball at Archbishop Hoban High School
• Played for Head Coach Jim Diestel
• Second-team all-conference honoree (2010)
• Member of the Student Council
• Hit .385 with six doubles, two home runs and 34 RBI (Summer 2010)
• Honorable mention all-league selection in basketball (2010)
Mee on Sokol: "Our staff felt we had a need for a catcher in this class and we really liked the way Lucas performs behind the plate. He possesses outstanding footwork, a quick release and a strong arm. I think Lucas will also benefit from our strength program, and as he gets stronger he is going to blossom as a player. He has a real knowledge and feel for the game, and I'm excited to see his development here in Toledo."
• Two-year letterwinner in baseball at Bishop Foley Catholic High School
• Played for Head Coach Buster Sunde
• Hit .430 with 16 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 60 RBI (2010)
• Also tallied 9-2 record on the hill with three shutouts, 94 strikeouts and 1.50 ERA in 80.0 innings (2010)
• First-team all-state, all-region, all-district and all-league selection (2010)
• Batted .419 with 19 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 59 RBI (2009)
• Also registered 9-1 record on the mound with two shutouts, 88 strikeouts and 1.66 ERA in 76.0 innings (2009)
Mee on Zuchowski: "Dan provides us with a couple of different options. He is an excellent infielder and a solid left-handed bat in the lineup, which I think will be important because we lose some left-handed hitters over the next couple years. Dan can also pitch and his versatility is definitely something we're excited about. I love the fact that the game means so much to him, and he works so hard to become the best player he can be. He plays with great energy and enthusiasm, and I think he's going to have a tremendous impact as a middle-of-the-order type hitter during his career. I also think he's going to be an outstanding defensive infielder, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he contributes on the mound as well. He throws strikes and possesses a good sinking fastball and changeup. I believe Dan is going to be a very key guy for us as our program moves forward in the next couple of years."