TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Second-year head coach Rick Heller and his Indiana State baseball staff have signed eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent this past week. In Heller's first season in charge, the ISU baseball team finished 35-19 overall and third in the Missouri Valley Conference with an even 10-10 record in conference play.
"This is a talented group of players and I feel we addressed all of our needs for next season," said head coach Heller. "With a small senior class we needed quality, not quantity. This group is a good one! Recruiting coordinator Tyler Herbst and assistant coach Brian Smiley did an awesome job this season and as always, worked extremely hard. I appreciate their efforts. It will be exciting to see this group mixed in with all the returners next season."
Of the eight signees for the Sycamores, four come straight from high school and four come from junior colleges. Below is a quick look at the 2012 additions to the Indiana State baseball team, along with a quote from head coach Heller.
Dakota Bacus - 6-2 - 205 - RHP
Moline, Ill. - Southeastern Community College - Moline HS
A two-year letterwinner at Moline High School under head coach Derek Lindauer ... pitched last season at Southeastern Community College under head coach Justin Schulte ... named to the all-region first team while at SCC ... finished 2010 with a 7-2 record and a 3.38 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 74.2 innings pitched.
"We are pleased to have signed Dakota. He is one of the best pitchers in his league going 7-2 and a proven winner," said head coach Heller. "He took his legion team to the World Series last summer. His fastball is in the 90-92 range and he has a great change up. Bacus is a tough competitor who will be a great addition to our staff in 2012."
Landon Curry - 6-2 - 180 - CF
Uniondale, Ind. - Norwell HS
Three-year letterwinner in baseball at Norwell High School under head coach Kelby Weybright ... also lettered for three years in football with the Knights ... hit .365 with 32 runs scored, five home runs and 21 runs batted in last season ... tied the NHS record with four triples in 2010.
"Landon is a fantastic centerfielder who can really run. He is a solid leadoff-type hitter from the left side," said head coach Heller. "We are happy that Landon will be a Sycamore. We needed to sign a quality centerfielder and feel that Landon is one of the best in state. Curry is also an outstanding student and we are excited to have him on at ISU."
Devin Moore - 6-3 - 200 - RHP
Springfield, Ill. - Lincoln Land Community College - Pleasant Plains HS
A four-sport athlete while at Pleasant Plains High School, lettering in baseball, football, basketball and golf ... as a senior, played in the Illinois Coaches Association All-Star game and was named first team all-conference after batting .376 with four home runs while going 5-1 on the mound ... lettered at Lincoln Land Community College last season under head coach Ron Riggle ... tossed 59.1 innings last year, totaling a 4-5 record with 39 strikeouts.
"Devin is great all-around athlete who will be an excellent pitcher for us the next two years," said head coach Heller. "He has a low-90s fastball and is a big strong pitcher. We are excited to have Devin in our program and feel he will be an excellent addition to our staff. Moore is also an outstanding student."
Casey McCurdy - 6-3 - 210 - OF
Lodi, Calif. - Delta College - Tokay HS
Two-time all-conference selection while at Tokay High School under head coach Aaron Misasi ... hit .406 with five home runs and 33 RBIs during his senior year at THS ... played baseball at Delta College last season under head coach Reed Peters ... also played football DC, earning academic all-state honors.
"We are pleased that Casey has signed to be a Sycamore. He is an excellent athlete with size, speed and power," said head coach Heller. "We really needed to bring in another presence in the middle of our order and Casey will do that. I love the fact that Casey can steal a base as well as hit a 450-foot home run. Casey is a corner outfielder and hits from the left side. McCurdy played football at Delta College as well and is a good student."
Kyle Rupe - 6-0 - 180 - RHP/SS
Indianapolis, Ind. - Perry Meridian HS
A three-year letterwinner in baseball while at Perry Meridian under head coach John Carpenter ... earned all-conference honors twice and one all-county selection ... hit .446 as a junior last season, with 28 runs batted in ... went 6-3 on the mound with a 1.02 ERA and 81 strikeouts over 62 innings pitched ... also played basketball for three seasons at PMHS.
"Kyle is a super athlete and we are very happy that he will be a Sycamore next year," said head coach Heller. "Rupe is a legit two-way player who has a great arm. His fastball has been as high as 93 and he is an excellent shortstop. Kyle competes hard and is a winner; he will be a great addition to our team."
Ryan Torgerson - 6-2 - 195 - RHP
Des Moines, Iowa - Des Moines Area Community College - Johnston HS
Lettered for four years at Johnston High School under head coach Randy Wee ... named to the Elite All-Star team after both his junior and senior years ... tallied a 27-2 record in his time at JHS ... earned ICCAC Pitcher of the Year last season after going 9-1 with a 4.57 ERA with 64 strikeouts over 67 innings pitched ... also earned first team all-region, all-district and all-conference as a freshman ... named to the NJCAA USA All-Star Baseball Team.
"Ryan was the Pitcher of the Year in his league last year as a freshman and was 27-2 in high school," said head coach Heller. "He is a proven winner and we are happy that Ryan will pitch for us next year. Torgerson can really pitch and is a gritty competitor. His fastball is in the upper-80s and he throws an excellent breaking ball. Ryan will be an excellent addition to our staff."
Scott West - 6-0 - 180 - RHP/SS
West Terre Haute, Ind. - West Vigo HS
Three-year letterwinner at West Vigo High School under head coach Steve DeGroote ... earned honorable mention all-state following his junior year, where he batted .430 with a pair of home runs, 31 RBIs and 45 runs scored ... named to the First Team All-WIC squad last season ... also lettered in basketball for three seasons with the Vikings.
"Scott will be an excellent addition to our team," said head coach Heller. "He is a great athlete who plays shortstop and pitches for West Vigo and will catch for us. West hit .430 and has an very nice swing. Scott is a tough kid who fits what we like to do here at ISU. We are happy Scott will be a Sycamore."
Jeff Zahn - 6-3 - 180 - OF
Newburgh, Ind. - Castle High School
A two-year letterwinner at Castle High School under head coach Curt Welch ... earned all-conference honors after his junior season ... hit .420 with four doubles, three triples, five home runs and 28 RBIs last season for the Knights ... also lettered for two years in basketball.
"We are very excited to sign Jeff," said head coach Heller. "He is an excellent left-handed hitter who we feel is one of the best in the state. He can play several positions, is a very strong athlete and is an outstanding student. Jeff will be a big part of our offense for the next four years."