Aug. 9, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - When Northern Illinois baseball announced its 2010 recruiting class of 11 highly-skilled newcomers back in November, none of the 10 high school student-athletes had played their senior seasons yet.
With the pressure of the all-important, life-changing college decision off their minds, the members of ninth-year NIU head coach Ed Mathey's largest-ever recruiting class were able to really focus, just play baseball, and enjoy stellar final seasons as prepsters.
A 6-1, 200-pound right-handed hurler, Eli Anderson (Glenview, Ill.) was a member of a New Trier High School team that went 23-12 en route to a regional championship. As an honor roll student at NTHS, Anderson intends on majoring in physical therapy.
Anthony Andres (Western Springs, Ill.) was a two-way standout on St. Rita High School's runner-up state championship run with a 31-9 record. The 6-0, 195-pound outfielder/left-handed pitcher hit .386 with 56 RBI, 28 runs, 10 doubles, and six home runs. On the mound, he logged an 11-3 mark and 2.86 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 96.3 innings over 14 games. Making the honor roll at SRHS, Andres plans on majoring in business.
Harlem High School's Bo Andrews (Roscoe, Ill.), another two-way talent, was selected to the inaugural Northern Illinois Senior Baseball Classic all-star game. The 5-10, 180-pound outfielder/right-handed pitcher contributed to his team's dominant 27-7 win. The HHS honor roll student will major in physical education.
Catcher Joe Battaglia (Westchester, Ill.) was named the Westchester Suburban Life Player of the Year after compiling a .420 batting average, 17 doubles, three home runs, and 40 RBI. The 6-2, 200-pound St. Joseph High School star was a four-time all-area selection and made the East Suburban Catholic Conference all-league first team as a senior and sophomore. In addition to being team captain and MVP for each of his final three years as a Charger, Battaglia made high honor roll all four years and was on the National Honor Society leadership board. He intends to major in communications.
The reason Battaglia didn't win ESCC Player of the Year? Because future NIU teammate Chris Divarco (Long Grove, Ill.) did. As team MVP, Divarco led Carmel Catholic High School to a 27-9, 15-3 league record, while winning both conference and regional championships. The 6-4, 218-pound infielder batted .451 with 28 runs, 13 doubles, 11 home runs and 41 RBI, garnering all-area, all-conference, and second team all-state honors. The second all-time Carmel home run leader was selected to the Chicago White Sox all-star game, and participated on the Top Tier Baseball Club over the summer, hitting seven homers with a .470 batting average. Divarco served 40 hours of community service each year as a Corsair and plans to major in finance.
St. Laurence High School product Tom Keating (Chicago, Ill.) was recognized as a first team All-Chicago Catholic League selection. The 6-3, 210-pounder was the Vikings' team captain and holds the SLHS career record for doubles, while he ranks second in RBI, home runs and walks, and ranks third in hits. During the offseason, he was a member of the Illinois Sparks Baseball Club and Los Angeles Dodgers of the Midwest Fall Scout League. Academically, Keating made the honor roll and was a Leader Scholar at SLHS.
In his fourth year on the Kearney High School varsity roster, Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo.) was honored as an all-conference performer. Standing at 6-4, 170 pounds, Klonowski is another two-way recruit as an infielder and right-handed pitcher, and played summer ball for the KC Barnstormers Baseball Club, while volunteering for the Kearney Park District youth sports programs. Academically, Klonowski ranked at the top of his class with a 4.0 Grade Point Average, was a National Honor Society and National Association of Scholars member, and plans on majoring in biochemistry and minoring in accounting.
Mathey's first prospect from the state of Arizona, Trey Lang (Mesa) stood out for Skyline High School as an outfielder/right-handed hurler. The 6-2, 210-pounder hit .356 with 18 runs, nine doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, .450 on-base percentage, .689 slugging percentage, and three stolen bases in 27 games. He also notched 43 strikeouts in 50 innings on the mound with three complete games in 10 appearances. An honor roll student at SHS, Lang was president of the varsity baseball club and had community involvement with the Paz De Cristo Homeless Shelter and Legends Baseball Academy.
Kevin Sweeney captained Fenwick High School by hitting .432 with 38 hits, 30 runs, six triples, 24 RBI, and 10 steals in 10 attempts in 31 games. He led the Friars to a regional runner-up finish. The 6-2, 175-pound Chicago, Ill., native garnered first team all-conference recognition as an infielder and right-handed pitcher, and was also selected to the Chicago Catholic League all-star game. Sweeney made the honor roll every semester as a Friar and intends to major in biomedical engineering.
An all-state selection, Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park, Ill.) was team captain for Victor J. Andrew High School's sectional championship run in the state playoffs with a 27-11 record. The 6-3, 210-pound infielder/left-handed pitcher hit .424 with nine doubles, 10 home runs, 45 RBI, 32 walks, and .838 slugging percentage in 36 games. On the bump, Zimmerman was 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA and had 25 strikeouts in 22 innings over 10 appearances. Zimmerman also earned first team all-area and all-conference honors, and was MVP of the PG Kernels Tournament as a member of the Cincinnati Reds Fall Scout Team. Zimmerman was a four-year honor roll student as a Thunderbolt and member of the National Honor Society, and logged 30 hours of community service by assisting with several summer baseball camps. He plans on majoring in physical therapy.
Additionally, Andrews, Battaglia, Klonowski, Lang, Sweeney, and Zimmerman are all currently with the Downers Grove Longshots summer traveling team participating as one of 10 teams in the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M. The future Huskies helped the Longshots go 6-0 in regional competition in Battle Creek, Mich., in order to qualify as the North Central region winners for the most prestigious amateur baseball championship in the country. The team's progress can be followed at http://www.cmws.org/index.htm.
The 10 products from the high school class of 2010 will be joined by junior college transfer Jordan Rishavy (Rochester, Minn/John Marshall ). Rishavy was an honorable mention all-state selection as a senior before heading to North Iowa Area Community College. As a Trojan, the 6-2, 195-pound outfielder batted .337 with five home runs and 35 RBI, earning honorable mention all-region recognition. Intending to major in business, Rishavy made the dean's list in the spring of 2009. Rishavy will look to join a recent and fruitful list of former-Trojans-turned-Huskies as Jesse Seykora (2006-07), Danny Reed (2007-08), and Chuck Lukanen (2009-10) all turned successful Trojan careers into productive seasons at NIU.
With their 2010 seasons behind them, the rookies will start life as Huskies in just a couple of weeks, joining the four redshirt and 16 returning Huskies for fall workouts.