Huskie Baseball Reloads with 11 Signess in Class of 2012

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES

Nov. 15, 2011

PDF Release with Photos

DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois Huskies baseball team announced the signing of 11 players for its Class of 2012 recruits Tuesday morning, a class that includes 10 freshman and one junior college transfer. The class ties Northern Illinois’ largest fall signing class under 10th year Head Coach Ed Mathey, the program’s all-time leader in wins at 240.

“In looking at this recruiting class, I must first commend Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Ccoordinator Steve Joslyn and Assistant Coach Ray Napientek for their work on the road these past several months in bringing in what I consider to be a VERY good class,” remarked Mathey. “There were many days spent evaluating, and while that is a big part of the job, it is never easy to do. Both guys really got after it on the recruiting trail.  I would also like to thank Assistant Coach Jason Smith, our administration, and the rest of the athletic department for all their work in making this possible. We identified early on what our future needs would be and I believe we have filled most of those needs.

“This group of young men reminds me in a lot of ways of this years current senior class. It is filled with quality young men who can play baseball. Not only do I think a few of these guys will be impact players as soon as they set foot on campus, I believe the will be impact people in the classroom, in the community and in life. In addition to a high quality of athleticism, exhibited by the large number of successful multi-sport athletes, a vast majority are very good academically and mostly all have been involved in community service work in the area they live. These guys not only see, but understand, the big picture!

“They have been leaders in their very successful school programs, have played for high level travel ball teams, and have a positive passionate attitude that can be contagious. We are looking forward to their joining the Huskie team in the fall of 2012!”

All 11 players in the class of 2012 are from the state of Illinois and one of the signees, infielder Brian Sisler (DeKalb, Ill.), played locally at DeKalb High School, where he was The Daily Chronicle’s Athlete of the Year in 2011. Twin pitchers Jordan and Justin Ruckman (Kankakee, Ill.) are also in the class.

The Huskies finished 30-27 last season and qualified for the Mid-American Conference Championship, after falling in its first 10 games of the season to some of the nation’s elite.

The class is the largest since NIU inked 11 signees for its Class of 2010. Complete bios for each signee listed below.

CLASS OF 2012 SIGNEES

Name                        Pos.   Bats  Throws    Hometown (Previous School)
Brett Chappell             IF       R       R          Rock Falls (Rock Falls)
Tommy Hook              IF       L        R          Lockport (Lockport Township)
Bobby Kuntzendorf     LHP     L        R          Yorkville (Aurora Christian)
Ryan Olson                LHP     L        L          Sterling (Newman Central Catholic)
Jordan Ruckman        LHP/IF R        L          Kankakee (Herscher)
Justin Ruckman       RHP/OF  R        R          Kankakee (Herscher)
Nate Ruzich                C       R        R          Joliet (South Surburban College)
Danny Seiton             IF       R        R          Batavia (Batavia)
Wes Sery                   IF       L        R          Bloomington (Normal West)
Brian Sisler                IF       R        R          DeKalb (DeKalb)
Johhny Zubek            C        R        R          Oak Forest (Oak Forest)

BRETT CHAPPELL
FRESHMAN
ROCK FALLS, ILL. / ROCK FALLS
BATS: R THROWS: R
MIDDLE INFIELDER

ROCK FALLS HIGH SCHOOL
Lettered in golf, basketball and baseball at Rock Falls High School … Father coaches the high school baseball team … Three time all-area selection … Two-time unanimous first team all-conference honoree … Team MVP in 2011 … Awarded the hustle award sophomore and freshman year … Team captain in 2011 and 2010 … Played summer ball with the Northern Illinois Reds … Batted a .495 average and accounted for four home runs, 10 doubles and 44 RBI junior year … Knocked in 36 runs, hit 13 doubles and boasted a .468 average, along with scoring 42 runs in 2010 … Also had a 5-2 record on the mound and 47 strikeouts in 2011 (2.30 ERA).

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born March 12, 1994 … Son of Donnie and Shelley Chappell … Sister, Jordan, plays softball at St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa … A four-year honor roll student … Volunteers as a youth baseball and basketball coach in Rock Falls … Enjoys spending time with family and younger brother … Admires Dustin Pedroia and Brett Favre because they remind him of himself … Would like to major in history and minor in secondary education … Wants to become a teacher and coach.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Brett is the most dedicated player I have ever coached in my years at Rock Falls. He is devoted to be being the best student, player and person he can be. He is always trying to do whatever it takes to improve himself on the field and off.”

- Coach Donnie Chappell, Rock Falls High School

TOMMY HOOK
FRESHMAN
LOCKPORT, ILL. / LOCKPORT TOWNSHIP
BATS: L THROWS: R
MIDDLE INFIELDER

LOCKPORT TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL
Participated in football, basketball and baseball at Lockport High School … Baseball team won conference championships and finished as regional runner-up in 2010 and 2011 … Honorable mention all-conference pick after junior season … Batted .319, with 15 stolen bases, nine doubles and 15 RBI in 2011 … Recorded five stolen bases and five RBI in 39 at-bats during sophomore year.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born December 27, 1993 … Son of Bill and Diane Hook … Father, Bill, played football at Northwestern … Plans to major in business and pursue a career in agricultural business … Enjoys hunting and fishing … Admires Alexi Ramirez because of his work ethic … Was a member of Best Buddies program.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Tommy has been a contributor on varsity since his sophomore year and is a high energy player who wills things to happen. His high energy and work ethic make him a leader both on and off the field for our program. Tommy is a three sport varsity athlete which speaks for his athleticism. We are excited to see Tommy grow as a baseball player in the Northern Illinois University baseball program.”

- Coach Andy Satunas, Lockport Township High School

BOBBY KUNTZENDORF
FRESHMAN
YORKVILLE, ILL. / AURORA CHRISTIAN
BATS: L THROWS: L
LEFT HANDED PITCHER

AURORA CHRISTIAN
Lettered in baseball and basketball at Aurora Christian … Beacon News Player of the Year and Team MVP in 2011 … Was team’s Cy Young Award winner sophomore and junior years … Suburban Christian Conference Player of the Year … Twice named first team all-conference and all-area … First team all-state in 2011 … Was an academic all-conference pick junior year as well … Won regional and conference championships, and was sectional runner-up with the Eagles in 2011 … Team set conference record for most wins by champion … Played summer ball with the Northern Illinois Reds … Recorded 128 strikeouts, 9-1 record in 13 starts, and an ERA of 1.26 in 77.2 innings pitched as a junior … Had an earned runs average of 0.82 in sophomore season, along with 98 strikeouts and a 5-2 record in 60 innings on the mound … Hit .381 as a junior with eight home runs, eight doubles and 37 runs batted in … Opened varsity career with .358 batting average and nine doubles.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born June 20, 1994 … Son of Bob and Kelly Kuntzendorf … Enjoys fishing, hunting and hanging with friends … Lists Mark Buehrle as his favorite athlete because he’s a smart pitcher … Would like to major in business.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Bobby is a classic gamer. He has the unique ability to pitch effectively on short rest and always wants the ball in big game situations. I have coached him for five years and have rarely seen him get hit hard. He competes every time out!”

- Coach Steve Hanson, Northern Illinois Reds

“Bobby has been the anchor of our pitching staff for the past two seasons at Aurora Christian. He burst on to the scene during his sophomore season and continued that great success as a junior. Bobby has the composure and poise necessary to be successful at the next level.

- Pitching Coach Andy Zorger, Aurora Christian High School

RYAN OLSON
FRESHMAN
STERLING, ILL. / NEWMAN CENTRAL CATHOLIC
BATS: L THROWS: L
LEFT HANDED PITCHER

NEWMAN CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
Played three varsity baseball seasons at Newman Central Catholic High School … Was an honorable mention all-conference pick in junior year … Named team captain in 2011 … Pitched 46 innings, totaling a 3-6 record and 3.35 earned run average, with 66 strikeouts in junior year … Had a 3-3 record as a sophomore, recording 20 strikeouts on the hill … Mainly appeared in relief situations freshman year … Played summer ball with the Northern Illinois Reds.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born May 14, 1994 … Son of Matt and Nancy Olson … Looks up to his father because “he shaped who I am today” … Plans to major in business and minor in political science … Interested in becoming a lawyer after graduation … Volunteered with the Sterling, Ill. annual food drive, YMCA and at the Woodlawn Arts Academy, working with special needs children.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Ryan is a hard working pitcher and a team leader for us. He competes everyday and has a great off speed pitch.”

- Coach Tom Wilson, Newman Central Catholic

JORDAN RUCKMAN
FRESHMAN
KANKAKEE, ILL. / HERSCHER
BATS: R THROWS: L
LEFT HANDED PITCHER / FIRST BASE

HERSCHER HIGH SCHOOL
Played baseball, footbal and basketball at Herscher High School … Shared school’s top offensive player award with twin brother, Justin, junior year … Won conference, regional and sectional championships sophomore and junior seasons … Team was 31-5 in his junior year … Recorded a .486 batting average, nine home runs, 10 doubles, three triples and 39 RBI junior year … Also went 9-1 pitching in 10 starts, with 82 strikeouts and one save … Set school-record for lowest ERA in 2011 (1.08) … Went 6-2 as a freshman and 5-4 as sophomore on the mound.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born January 17, 1994 … Son of Jay and Kim Ruckman … Twin brother, Justin, also member of the Northern Illinois Baseball Class of 2012 … Honor roll student last three years … Member of Students Against Destructive Decisions … Volunteered with Salvation Army and Family Fun-a-Thon … Plans to major in sociology … Admires Michael Jordan because he strived for greatness and had a great attitude toward the game ... Advanced to the Great Lakes Regional of the Little League World Series in 2005, appearing on ESPN ... Claimed state championship with Limestone Little League that year.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Jordan and Justin are extremely competitive which makes them very fun to coach. They love to play baseball and have always been successful while participating on the field.”

- Coach Eric Regez, Herscher High School

JUSTIN RUCKMAN
FRESHMAN
KANKAKEE, ILL. / HERSCHER
BATS: R THROWS: R
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER / OUTFIELDER

HERSCHER HIGH SCHOOL
Played baseball, footbal and basketball at Herscher High School … Shared school’s top offensive player award with twin brother, Jordan, junior year … Twice named to The Daily Journal’s All Area team (first team in 2011) … All-Interstate 8 Conference ... Hit 15 home runs and 52 runs batted in junior year … Recorded a 7-2 record on the mound, 68 strikeouts and a 2.15 earned run average in 2011 … Hit .395 as a sophomore, with nine doubles and six home runs … Won conference, regional and sectional championships in sophomore and junior seasons … Team was 31-5 in his junior year.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born January 17, 1994 … Son of Jay and Kim Ruckman … Twin brother, Jordan, also member of the Northern Illinois Baseball Class of 2012 … Honor roll student last three years … Member of Students Against Destructive Decisions … Volunteered with Salvation Army and Family Fun-a-Thon … Undecided on major … Lists Albert Pujols as his favorite athlete because he’s great to watch and learn from ... Advanced to the Great Lakes Regional of the Little League World Series in 2005, appearing on ESPN ... Claimed state championship with Limestone Little League that year.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Jordan and Justin are extremely competitive which makes them very fun to coach. They love to play baseball and have always been successful while participating on the field.”

- Coach Eric Regez, Herscher High School

NATE RUZICH
JUNIOR
JOLIET, ILL. / SOUTH SUBURBAN COLLEGE
BATS: R THROWS: R
CATCHER

SOUTH SUBURBAN COLLEGE/JOLIET CATHOLIC ACADEMY
Played one season at South Suburban College … Bulldogs won the NJCAA Region IV Championship in 2011 … Won the IHSAA 3A State Baseball Championship in 2009 with Joliet Catholic … Team finished fourth at state in 2010 and third in 2008 … Twice named first team all-conference for the Hillmen … Named team captain senior season … First team all-area in 2010.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born April 13, 1992 … Son of Steve and Patti Ruzich … Father, Steve, is the head baseball coach at South Suburban College … Given the Algebra Award after junior year, as one of the top ten students in grade class … Admires Josh Hamilton because of the adversity he’s overcome to be a great baseball player … Plans to major in business and minor in graphic design.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Nate has a great work ethic and knowledge of the game. He is a great catch and throw guy that shuts down the opponents running game. He does a great job handling the pitching staff and he will always give you 100 percent.”

- Coach Steve Ruzich, South Suburban College

DANNY SEITON
FRESHMAN
BATAVIA, ILL. / BATAVIA
BATS: R THROWS: R
MIDDLE INFIELDER

BATAVIA HIGH SCHOOL
Lettered in baseball and football at Batavia High School … Named second team all-area sophomore year with .491 batting average … Hit .349 junior year, en route to honorable mention all-conference honors … Team won conference, regional and sectional championships in freshman year, finishing with a 25-5 record … Won another conference championship sophomore year … Plays with Illinois Sparks summer ball team … Has stolen 38 bases in 40 career attempts at Batavia.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born November 18, 1993 … Son of Brian and Michelle Seiton … Named to the honor roll freshman, junior and senior years … Enjoys fishing, frisbee golf, music, hanging out with friends and golf … Volunteered with Batavia youth baseball during the winters … Also volunteered at Batavia food shelter … Admires Dan Gable because of his determination; after winning a gold medal at the Olympics in 1972, he began training at 6 a.m. the next day … Plans to major in finance and minor in economics.

COACHES THOUGHT
“Danny Seiton is a baseball natural. He brings athleticism, speed and gamesmanship to the diamond. He is an all-around talent who can play infield and outfield and provide pop and contact at the plate.”

- Coach Matt Holm, Batavia High School

WES SERY
FRESHMAN
BLOOMINGTON, ILL. / NORMAL WEST
BATS: L THROWS: R
INFIELDER / THIRD BASE

NORMAL WEST HIGH SCHOOL
Lettered in soccer, basketball and Baseball at Normal West High School … All-Academic Big 12 Conference all three years in fall, winter and spring … 2011 baseball team finished 31-8 en route to a second place sectional finish and conference championship … Team also won a conference championship and was the regional runner-up sophomore year … First team all-conference selection sophomore and junior year … Hit 20 doubles junior season to set school-record … Also batted .419, with 34 RBI, and 21 walks junior year … First team all-conference in 2010 and 2011 … Twice named team captain and all-conference in soccer … Played in the AAU National Basketball Tournament in 2008.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born December 7, 1993 … Son of Kurt and Ann Sery … Lists basketball and soccer as hobbies … Undecided on a major.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Wes is one of the best left-handed hitters I’ve seen in my 20 years of coaching high school baseball. He uses the whole field, can drive the ball to the gaps with authority, and doesn’t swing and miss. Wes is one of the toughest kids I’ve coached.”

- Coach Christopher Hawkins, Normal West High School

BRIAN SISLER
FRESHMAN
DeKALB, ILL. / DeKALB
BATS: R THROWS: R
MIDDLE INFIELDER

DeKALB HIGH SCHOOL
Played football, basketball and baseball at DeKalb High School ... Two-time all-conference quarterback and point guard ... Was baseball team’s offensive MVP, first team all-conference and all-area during junior year ... Was The Daily Chronicle’s 2010-11 Athlete of the Year ... Broke school-record for batting average in a season (.513) as a sophomore ... Team won conference, regional and sectional championships, advancing to IHSA 3A State Championship game in 2010 ... Recorded 15 doubles sophomore year and 30 runs batted in ... Hit .466, 49 RBI, eight doubles and four home runs in 2011 ... Daily Chronicle first team all-area selection in 2010 ... Played with U18 Upper Deck Cougars.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born August 10, 1994 ... Son of Scott and Rebecca Sisler ... Plans to major in business administration ... Wants to become a CEO ... Member of the spanish club and church youth group ... Did missionary work in Monterrey, Mexico ... Also involved with Feed My Starving Children ... Lists fishing, target shooting and listening to music as hobbies ... Admires Albert Pujols because he’s the best player in baseball and does everything right on and off the field.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“Brian is an outstanding person off the field and a talented worker on the field.  We are lucky that Brian has chosen to stay in the community to continue his education and baseball career.  On the field, Brian has shown remarkable consistency and success at the plate that has been a fun to watch.  His athleticism in all parts of the game should enable Brian to contribute in a successful program like NIU.”

- Coach Jacob Howells, DeKalb High School

JOHNNY ZUBEK
FRESHMAN
OAK FOREST, ILL. / OAK FOREST
BATS: R THROWS: R
CATCHER

OAK FOREST HIGH SCHOOL
Two year baseball letterman at Oak Forest High School … A two-time first team all-conference selection … Played in the Plainfield Showcase All Star game after junior season … Team finished 27-8 in 2011, en route to state runner-up, super sectional, sectional, regional and conference championships … Set the IHSA 3A State Record for hits in a state championship game (three) … Won regional and conference championships as a sophomore … Will serve as a team captain senior year … Played for Oak Forest Storm travel team over the summer.

PERSONAL/MISCELLANEOUS
Born May 11, 1994 … Son of Matthew and Nancy Zubek … Plans to major in pre-law and minor in business … Would like to pursue a career in law or in the front office of a sports team … Member of the National Honor Society … Also involved with the Interact Club and a Special Olympics volunteer … Earned honors with distinction the last three years … Enjoys watching hockey and going to sporting events … Looks up to A.J. Pierzynski because he always plays hard, smart, the right way and he’s a leader … Also admires Derek Jeter because he’s a role model on and off the field ... Scored a 33-of-36 on ACT.

COACHES THOUGHTS
“In my opinion your getting a diamond in the rough. John Zubek is probably the most coachable kid I’ve ever met. He loves the game of baseball and plays and practices like it is the last time he will ever play. Johnny is very knowledgeable about the game and is the best defensive catcher I’ve seen in a long time. As much as I think about him as a player, I think he is a much better person. Just a great kid! Great student, great player, and great person. He will be missed!”

- Coach Thad Gatton, Oak Forest High School