Cobras Baseball signs 15 new players
Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:01
The Parkland Cobras baseball program has enjoyed its fair share of successes over the last four years under head coach Matt Kennedy, amassing a total of 143 wins, while sending 50 players on to the next level. One of the main ingredients to their success has been the exceptional job done in recruiting athletes. The program has seen myriad great players become Cobras throughout Kennedy's tenure, as he has put together another great incoming class, with fifteen high school baseball players having signed letters of intent to continue their baseball careers at Parkland this coming fall.
This impressive class includes seven pitchers and eight position players. The seven standout pitchers consist of six right-handers: Cody Heisserer of Scott City, Mo.; Jake Saile from Mark, Ill.; Alex Lesiak from Tinley Park, Ill.; Kyle Weller from Pleasant Plains, Ill.; Jake Weber from Ft. Wayne, Ind. and Nick Mason of Cincinnati, Ohio, while the lone lefty is Caleb Leach of Pontiac, Ill.
"Pitching is key for us, because we always lose seven to 10 pitchers every year," Kennedy said. "That's the number one priority and we feel like we've got some good ones coming in next year." Each of these athletes were standout players at the high school level and will have the opportunity to contribute immediately next year, as the Cobras lose seven pitchers at the end of this season.
The other half of the incoming 2012 class includes eight position players. The infielders are: Aaron Bossi of St. Louis, Mo.; Daryle Taube of Bradford, Ontario, Canada; Mitch Trieglaff from Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Jackson Martin of Listowel, Ontario, Canada; Marvin Campos-Castillo from Bronx, N.Y., and Ramon Valdez of Chestermere, Alberta, Canada. Outfielders include Chase Armstrong of Lexington, Ky. and Angus Bills from South Australia, Australia.
Infielders were an especially important part of this year's recruiting haul for Kennedy. "Our whole starting infield, we lose. So, we have to replace those guys," Kennedy said, noting that they are all graduating sophomores this year. There are great infielders still on the current roster that will get first crack at the open jobs in the fall, but there will certainly be depth at the infield spots for the Cobras in the future.
Kennedy asserts that good recruiting starts with filling the holes of certain positions left open in the roster by graduating players. "Everything we lose, that's what we try to bring in," Kennedy explained. If that is accomplished, the overall depth of the team will be strong thus enabling the team to set up the best possible lineup on game day. Another thing the coaching staff, which includes assistants Evan DePotter and Tyler Rogers, emphasizes is the pitch they give to convince recruits to come to Parkland. They have taken advantage of the positive exposure gained by sending twelve current players to the next level for next year, Kennedy said. "It helps a lot, and it's definitely a recruiting tool for us."
He admits that Parkland is a beneficiary of many Division I caliber players that don't get great offers from those bigger schools and want to take their talents to Parkland to play right away on a much better scholarship offer.
"Here, they have an opportunity to come in and pitch or play right away," Kennedy explains." They're going to be seen by a lot of schools as we have that reputation of people coming in and watching our guys and liking our guys, and then they are moving on after a year or two here. We do sell that a lot."
Another factor that has contributed to the successful recruiting haul has been the tireless work spent traveling and scouting each player by the coaching staff. "We work a lot, were on the road constantly." Kennedy stated. "We're watching tournaments and games all day, just trying to bear down on kids and find the right fit for the style of baseball we want to play." The entire coaching staff is gone four to five days a week over the summer to assist with recruiting and it's a never-ending process from season to season.
Using a relentless recruiting effort, combined with the ability to sell players on the merits of Parkland baseball, it appears that Kennedy and his staff have blended the two aspects of recruiting together seamlessly.