EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE baseball Head Coach Tony Stoecklin has signed five newcomers to his program.
Ryan Fritz (Fenton, Mo.), Alex Padilla (Chicago), Kyle Stevens (Wentzville, Mo.), Mario Tursi (Glenview, Ill.), and Dustin Woodcock (Jacksonville, Ill.) each have signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball for the Cougars.
"I'm excited about the talent level of this group," Stoecklin said. "But it's not just talent alone. These young men are great citizens, good students, and good teammates. They also have some great leadership qualities. These are all of the things we look for in Cougar baseball players."
Fritz is a 5-foot, 11-inch, right-handed pitcher and is a senior at Rockwood Summit High School. He made six starts for the Falcons as a junior and was 3-2 with a pair of complete games. He was among the St. Louis area leaders with three saves.
"Ryan is an extremely competitive pitcher," Stoecklin said. "Every time I evaluated him, I saw him compete. He has command of three pitches. He also has a very high ceiling. He has a lot of room to continue to get better."
Padilla, 6-0 right-handed pitcher, is attending De La Salle high school in Chicago.
"Alex has three plus pitches," Stoecklin said. "He has an excellent fastball, an excellent curve, and an excellent change, and he possesses the ability to throw all three of them for strikes."
Stevens, a 6-1 utility player from Timberland High School, hit .368 as a junior with nine doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs. He also stole four bases. Stevens was 11th in the Gateway Conference South in overall hitting and earned second team All-Conference honors.
Stoecklin said Stevens is a versatile player with the ability to play the corner infield or outfield positions.
"I believe he is just scratching the surface of his abilities," Stoecklin said. "He has an exceptional swing and has a lot of pop in his bat."
Tursi, a 6-1 middle infielder, currently is a senior at Glenbrook South High School. Tursi was a Central Suburban League All-Conference selection as a junior. The right-handed shortstop also has been a three-year starter and captain with the Schaumburg Seminoles summer team, where he was part of the Seminoles' Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) National Championship team in 2011.
"Mario is an extremely athletic shortstop," Stoecklin said of Tursi. "He has above-average range and a well-above average arm. He has a solid swing and uses the gaps well. He doesn't strike out a lot."
Woodcock, a 6-1 pitcher and outfielder from Jacksonville high school, was an All-Conference selection in each of the last three seasons. He was an All-Area choice in 2013 and an All-Area special mention 2012.
Stoecklin said Woodcock's first priority will be as an outfielder.
"He is a big, strong left-handed hitting outfielder," Stoecklin said. "His swing is above average and his arm is above average. He has the ability to pitch, but he really is a complete player as a position player."
"All five of these student-athletes were our first choice," Stoecklin added. "They're the ones we wanted."