SIU baseball looking forward to arrival of four incoming freshmen
The Southern Illinois University men’s baseball team recently said four players – three pitchers and an outfielder – have signed letters of intent to play for the Salukis and will be joining SIU as freshmen.
Head coach Ken Henderson said in a release he is excited about the incoming players and feels that they will have a lot to offer the team.
“This incoming freshman class is small in numbers but huge in terms of quality," Henderson said. "All of these young men have the ability to come in and make an immediate impact on the program.”
Sam Grace, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher who comes to SIU from St. Charles, Missouri, was ranked among the top 15 right-handed pitchers in Missouri by Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. His fastball has been clocked in the upper 80s. Grace played high school ball at Francis Howell North High School and started for three seasons.He also played for the Rawlings Tigers club team. During his junior year he had an ERA of 0.677.
Henderson said he believes Grace can accomplish great things during his collegiate career.
“He is a product of the Rawlings Tigers program in St. Louis and knows how to compete at a high level,” Henderson said. “With his physical presence, there is no limit to what he can accomplish in a Saluki uniform."
Outfielder Evan Martin, who is from Manchester, Missouri, was ranked among the top five outfielders in Missouri last year, and according to Perfect Game, he had one of the fastest 50-yard dashes in the country.
Henderson said one of the things he loves about Martin is how he approaches the game.
“We absolutely love his passion for the game,” Henderson said. “He is the baseball equivalent of a gym rat –someone who never seems to get enough baseball.”
Corey Mitson, a right-handed pitcher from Millington, Tennessee, is an all-around athlete on the baseball team at Tipton-Rosemark Academy. He was ranked in the all-time top 10 in several categories on his high school team, including stolen bases, batting average, pitching wins and strikeouts.
Henderson said Mitson reminds him of a current Saluki ace.
"Corey is very similar to current Saluki Ryan Netemeyer,” Henderson said. “He is blessed with a very quick arm and a great feel for pitching. He is extremely competitive, and his blue-collar attitude and toughness are a great fit with us and our vision of Saluki Baseball."
Matthew Steidl, a right-handed pitcher from Gallatin, Tennessee, was one of the top pitchers at Pope John Paul II High School and led his team to two state tournament berths.
"Matt has the prototypical pitcher's body,” Henderson said. “He is long and loose with a quick arm. He plays high school (Pope John Paul II) and summer ball (Nashville Knights) with two outstanding programs; and along with a great feel for pitching, he has a true understanding of what it takes to be successful on the mound."
Henderson said that he expects to make a few more signings in the spring.
The Salukis will open the spring season Feb. 16 when SIU travels to Alabama to face off against Jacksonville State University. The first home game of the spring season will come on March 2 against the University of Louisiana Monroe.