HAUTE, Ind. - Head coach Rick Heller announced the
addition of nine student-athletes to the 2014 Indiana State baseball roster
today (Nov. 30), a signing class that features seven pitchers and a pair of
"We are very pleased with this recruiting class," said head coach Rick Heller. "Having so many returning position players next year, this class is heavy with outstanding pitching. We needed to bring in several quality arms in this class and feel we addressed those needs. We were also able to bring in two outstanding infielders.
"Recruiting coordinator Tyler Herbst and assistant coach Brian Smiley have done a fantastic job. I appreciate their time and effort with this class. Thanks to these guys, we've had three outstanding recruiting classes in a row. I believe this will be the fourth."
Nick Belzer - 6-2 - 165 - RHP
Ankeny, Iowa - Ankeny High School
A first-team all-state selection from Ankeny High School under head coach Mark Hey ... also earned first team all-conference and all-district selections ... went 10-0 with a 1.24 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 68 innings last season ... led AHS to a Class 4A State Championship in 2012.
"Nick had an outstanding season last summer, leading his team to the state championship," said head coach Heller. "We are really excited about Nick. He can pound the strike zone with three pitches and is a proven winner. He is an excellent pitcher right now and we feel he will get even better as he fills out and gets stronger."
Austin Conway - 6-1 - 215 - RHP
Albany, Indiana - Delta High School
An honorable mention all-conference and all-county selection last season at Delta High School under head coach Terry Summers ... a two-sport athlete, lettering for three seasons in baseball and two seasons in football ... led DHS the last two seasons in earned run average ... 7-5 in his career on the mound, totaling 130 strikeouts and a 3.04 ERA ... participated in the Indiana Crossroads Top 90 showcase this past summer.
"We are very happy to have signed Austin," said head coach Heller. "He's a bulldog on the mound with a high-80s fastball and a very good slider."
Ryan Keaffaber - 6-0 - 185 - LHP
Wabash, Indiana - Northfield High School
Named a MaxPreps.com Small School All-American at Northfield High School under head coach Tony Uggen ... two-time Class 2A All-State selection ... two-time Wabash County Pitcher of the Year ... 35-2 in his career at NHS with a 1.14 ERA and 347 strikeouts ... went 16-0 last season on the mound, setting a school record for wins as a junior ... three-time all-conference selection ... also a three-year letterwinner in basketball, earning Wabash County Player of the Year honors ... his father, Randy, played at Indiana State from 1990-93, totaling 21 wins and 119 strikeouts over his final three seasons on the mound.
"Ryan is coming off an unbelievable junior season and led his team to the Class 2A State Championship," said head coach Heller. "We couldn't be happier to have Ryan in our program. He is a winner on the field and in the classroom. Ryan is a tough competitor, throws a bunch of strikes and wins games."
Nick Kolarik - 5-10 - 190 - RHP
Overland Park, Kansas - Johnson County Community College - Bishop Miege High School
A Second Team All-KJCCC selection last season at Johnson County Community College under head coach Kent Shelley ... went 6-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 10 saves at JCCC last season, holding opposing batters to a .157 average at the plate while adding 69 strikeouts ... a three-year letterwinner at Bishop Miege High School under head coach Tim Kennedy ... earned selection to the all-conference team while at BMHS.
"We feel Nick is the best closer in the Midwest," said head coach Heller. "Nick put up great numbers last spring at Johnson County, throws from down under and can really pitch. He is a tough competitor who wants the ball when the game is on the line. We are extremely excited to have Nick in our program."
Brad Lombard - 6-3 - 190 - RHP
Fort Dodge, Iowa - Jefferson College - Fort Dodge High School
Posted a 5-2 record on the mound as a freshman at Jefferson College under head coach Sam Carel ... also totaled a 3.89 ERA and 34 strikeouts at JC ... played his high school baseball at Fort Dodge High School under head coach Matt Elsbecker ... went 7-2 as senior with a 1.86 ERA.
"Brad is a hard-throwing right-hander with a good breaking ball," said head coach Heller. "He is a tough kid who knows how to compete. We are really looking forward to having him on our staff next year."
Trent Lunsford - 6-3 - 195 - LHP
Overland Park, Kansas - Blue Valley Northwest High School
Earned Honorable Mention All-EKL as a sophomore at Blue Valley Northwest High School under head coach Corby Lange ... went 5-2 this past spring, totaling 32 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA in 42 innings ... pitched at the Natural Baseball Academy over the summer ... also lettered in basketball for one season at BVNHS.
"Trent is a big, athletic, left-hander with a loose arm and a very good breaking ball," said head coach Heller. "Trent has a big upside on the mound and has late life on his fastball. We are really looking forward to having him in our program."
Jake Riffice - 5-11 - 170 - SS
Roseville, California - Sierra College - American River College - Granite Bay High School
Led American River College with 19 runs scored and 137 fielding assists last season, while placing fifth on the team with 11 RBIs ... ranked second at ARC with five doubles ... will play this spring at Sierra College under head coach Ryan Evangelho ... was named the team's Defensive MVP while at Granite Bay High School under head coach Pat Esposito ... named Second Team All-SFL while at GBHS.
"Jake is an outstanding defensive player," said head coach Heller. "He can make all the plays and throws extremely well. We love Jake's makeup, as he plays the game hard, is an excellent student and will be a great fit in our program."
Brian Romero - 6-0 - 190 - 3B
Mission Viejo, California - Saddleback College - Mission Viejo High School
Hit .311 with seven doubles last season at Saddleback College under head coach Sommer McCartney ... a First Team All-OEC selection as freshman ... while at Mission Viejo High School under head coach Chris Ashbach, he was named the team's offensive MVP.
"Brian had a solid freshman season at Saddleback College. He is an excellent defensive third baseman and a hardnosed player," said head coach Heller. "Brian is a very good hitter from the left side with gap-to-gap power. We couldn't be happier to have Brian in our program."
David Stagg - 6-3 - 235 - LHP
Des Moines, Iowa - Heartland Community College - West Des Moines Valley High School
Went 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA and 39 strikeouts at Heartland Community College last season under head coach Nate Metzger ... earned NJCAA Division II National Pitcher of the Week honors on April 18 last season after striking out 11 batters in six innings against Lincoln College ... a three-time all-state selection at West Des Moines Valley High School under head coach Ryan Cooley ... named honorable mention all-state as a sophomore, second team all-state as a junior and first team all-state as a senior ... went 8-0 as a senior at WDMVHS with 102 strikeouts and a 1.02 ERA
"David is an excellent pitcher. He pounds the strike zone, competes and knows how to win," said head coach Heller. "He should have a big role in our program."