Torricelli, Bulldogs Complete 2014-15 Recruiting Class
TOP ROW (L to R): Tyler Brown, Zanger, Nolan Aherin, Kelly, McKenzie, Stratton, Novack BOTTOM ROW (L to R): Neal Aherin, Welch, Burton, Newton, Bolen, Remington, Meadows, Jordan Brown
TOP ROW (L to R): Tyler Brown, Zanger, Nolan Aherin, Kelly, McKenzie, Stratton, Novack BOTTOM ROW (L to R): Neal Aherin, Welch, Burton, Newton, Bolen, Remington, Meadows, Jordan Brown

Friday, June 20, 2014

Springfield, Ill.~ Head Coach Steve Torricelli announced the signings of fifteen area players to add to the BenU Springfield Baseball program for the 2014-15 school year. Eight freshman and seven transfers have all signed Letters of Intent to play in a Bulldog uniform next season. 

Pictured (left to right) Top Row: Tyler Brown, Kevin Zanger, Nolan Aherin, Patrick Kelly, Tyler McKenzie, Brice Stratton, and Blake Novack | Bottom Row: Neal Aherin, Blake Welch, Jacob Burton, Nick Newton, Cody Bolen, Jesse Remington, Clint Meadows, and Jordan Brown.

Tyler Brown | Chatham, Illinois – Glenwood HS | FR |P

Brown will enter the Bulldog bullpen after a successful senior year with the Titans of GHS. Glenwood finished their season 21-11 overall, 8-4 in CS8, falling short to Quincy- Notre Dame in the Regional semifinals. Brown also bore a Titan football and basketball uniform for the past four years, which led to his 2013 Jim Boyd Award selection during his senior campaign. Mainly used as a utility player for Glenwood, Brown will focus on his duties from the mound for the Bulldogs.

Coach Torricelli on Tyler: “Tyler is a true three sport athlete, which shows his tremendous athletic ability. We look forward to him bolstering our pitching staff. He is a lefty with good velocity.”

Kevin Zanger | Springfield, Illinois – Sacred Heart-Griffin HS | FR | IF

Zanger and SHG teammates Aherin and Kelly (see below) are fresh off a tremendous season for the Cyclones. The Cycs finished their season 38-4 (16-0 in Central State 8) and a second place finish at the Class 3A IHSA State Baseball Championships. The starting second baseman for SHG, Kevin bolstered a strong Cyclone infield as well as a reliable hitter in the lineup.

Coach Torricelli on Kevin: “Kevin has had a tremendous senior year for the Cyclones (SHG).  We are elated about his abilities and what he brings to the ball club. He is a hard-nosed player that likes to get after it.

Nolan Aherin | Springfield, Illinois – Sacred Heart-Griffin HS | FR | IF

Primarily in the first baseman position for the Cyclones, Nolan size and strength will aid in his success at the next level. His ability to hit from the left side and surprising speed on the base paths will make a big impact in the Bulldog lineup.

Coach Torricelli on Nolan: “Nolan joins big brother Neal on the pitch next season and two other teammates from SHG (Kelly, Zanger) after finishing second in state with SHG. A tall, left handed hitting athlete, his best days are still to come on the field.”

Patrick Kelly | Springfield, Illinois – Sacred Heart-Griffin HS | FR | P

Kelly was part of a very dominant Cyclone pitching staff in the 2014 season, including a state record in shutouts as a team. Kelly comes into a young Bulldog pitching staff with high expectations to make appearances from the get go.

Coach Torricelli on Patrick: “Kelly will join our pitching rotation as right-handed strike throwing machine. His velocity and control will fit in well at the NAIA level and his previous guidance under Mike Eck has definitely prepared him for this next level of play.”

Tyler McKenzie | Danville Community College | JR | IF

Tyler will join the BenU Springfield lineup after a year off after his freshman season at DACC. McKenzie’s power at the plate rivals some of the best in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) and the Bulldogs expect as much from the power infielder.

Coach Torricelli on Tyler: “Tyler will fill the vacancy left in our lineup with power. He is a skilled infielder from Danville CC and I am always confident in the caliber of players we receive from Coach Burton.

Brice Stratton | Olney Central College | JR | C

Brice completed his sophomore year on a 29-17 squad for OCC, both in the capacity of catcher and some appearances on the mound for the Blue Knights. Stratton’s direction on a very successful junior college program is sure to make his transition easy starting next fall.

Coach Torricelli on Brice: “Brice is a big, physical player with a very strong arm. He has great athletic ability as a catcher and we are looking forward to seeing him work behind the dish. Brice spent two seasons under HOF Coach Dennis Conley, so I am super confident in what he will bring the Bulldog program next season.”

Blake Novack | Lewis & Clark CC | JR | P

Blake will join the Bulldog pitching staff after a 4-4 season with the Trailblazers of LCC. A 2.81 ERA, including 37 strikeouts, Novack turned in some impressive performances against some of the MWAC’s best last season.

Coach Torricelli on Blake: “Blake is a much needed arm out of LCC; he competes at a high level and pounds the strike zone. He has that BULLDOG attitude in his game which is always good.

Neal Aherin | Lincoln Land CC | JR | UT

The Lincoln Land Baseball program had one of their best finishes in recent years, making their first NJCAA World Series appearance since 2000. Finishing 44-17, the Bulldogs will gain two impressive performers from the Loggers next season.Neal was vital in multiple positions for the Loggers, batting .374 with 64 hits and 30 RBIs, and a Second Team All-MWAC and All-Region nod.

Coach Torricelli on Neal: “Neil brings some much needed speed and left handed hitting to our lineup; he has a knack for finding a way on base. He was has that needed collegiate experience, playing at a high level with the Loggers the last two seasons.

Blake Welch | Lincoln Land CC | JR | P

Welch went 4-0 on the mound for the Loggers last season, including 4 saves. In 33.1 innings of work, Blake held a 2.7 ERA, with just 29 hits and 22 runs allowed.

Coach Torricelli on Blake: “Blake is another Logger joining the Bulldog program next season. He was utilized mainly out of the bullpen for LLCC, both in short and long reliever situations with tremendous success. His maturity will only bolster our fairly young staff this year.”

Jacob Burton | Williamsville, Illinois – Williamsville HS | FR | UT

Teammates Jacob Burton and Nick Newton join the Bulldog clan next fall after an impressive 30-5 season with the Williamsville HS Bullets. A Regional Championship fresh under their belt, both players will see time in various situations next season.

Coach Torricelli on Jacob: “Jacob brings versatility and athleticism into our program. He is that proverbial utility player that every club needs. As he continues to develop, we will be able to use him in a variety of ways which makes him a definite asset.

Nick Newton | Williamsville, Illinois – Williamsville HS | FR | P

Coach Torricelli on Nick: “Nick joins WHS teammate Burton next season with the Bulldogs; both student-athletes bring along a history of success from their high school careers.  His long arms and large frame gives us a lot of anticipation of what his future holds as a 6’6” right hander.”

Cody Bolen | Lincoln College | SO | P

Due to an arm injury that benched him his sophomore season with LC, Bolen is back and healthy ready to take the mound for the Bulldogs. His freshman marks with the Lynx were impressive, going 7-2 with 3.16 ERA and 51 Ks in 74 innings of work.

Coach Torricelli on Cody: “This left-hander had a very impressive freshman year and we hope his remaining three years in the Bulldog uniform prove to be even better.”

Jesse Remington | Parkland College | SO | P

Parkland College finished the season 34-23 in the semifinal round of the 2014 Region 24 Tournament this past spring. Remington completed a 3-1 season at the mound, doling out 27 strikeouts and a 4.83 ERA in 14 appearances for the Cobras.

Coach Torricelli on Jesse: “Jesse is a huge addition to our staff. A lefty with collegiate experience is something we need to continue our success moving forward with a young staff. Coming from a storied baseball program like Parkland, I have no doubt in Remington’s abilities.”

Clint Meadows | Greenville, Illinois- Greenville HS | FR | P

Clint finished his senior year with an 11-5 record with the GHS Comets. An athletic pitcher with a hard work ethic, Meadows has the tools to make outs at the collegiate level.

Coach Torricelli on Clint: “Clint’s preparation under HC Todd Hutchison has not only equipped him with the necessary tools to succeed, but the work ethic to improve as a pitcher every year. He can throw the curve for a strike and we see him working hard every day to be his best.”

Jordan Brown | Springfield, Illinois- Lutheran HS | FR | UT

Jordan doesn’t have to travel far next fall, staying close to home to continue his baseball career with the Bulldogs. The Crusaders of LuHi finished 11-9 with a tough loss in playoffs to Pawnee to end the year.  Brown will be utilized in a number of ways for BenU as his size and athletic strength make him an asset to multiple areas of the program.

Coach Torricelli on Jordan: “Jordan played under Jeff Meyers at Lutheran and we are excited to see what his future potential holds. He is strong, athletic, and has all the components we feel are needed to be a solid player in our Bulldog lineup.”