Baseball Inks 10 in 2012-13 Recruiting Class
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan head baseball coach Billy Gernon has announced the 2012-13 class, signing eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent and welcoming two preferred walk-ons.
This year's class consists of Gabe Berman (Bloomfield Hills Andover HS), Brandon Cable (Hudsonville HS), Aaron Dehn (South Haven HS), Drew Farmer (Rockford HS), Patrick Haynes (De La Salle HS), Kurt Hoekstra (Grand Rapids Christian HS), Hunter Prince (Hudsonville HS), Derek Schneider (Portage Central HS), Brett Sunde (Bishop Foley HS) and Caleb Vincent (Kellogg CC/Marshall HS).
"This is a very athletic, competitive, and talented group of young men with a tremendous track record of success," Gernon said. "They represent a culmination of great efforts made by our coaching staff to cultivate and nurture relationships with these athletes and their families over an extended period of time.
"As expected, we were in one dogfight after another as these players garnered extreme competition from the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-American Conferences.
"The fact that each and every one of our recruits had multiple offers and opportunities to play for other respected Division I programs is very flattering. It is an extreme privilege for me to know that the families trusted our coaching staff, vision, and university to ultimately make the decision to become a Bronco. I consider that a very high honor knowing the competition we were up against and look forward to pursuing a championship on a daily basis with these gifted individuals."
Gabe Berman • 6-2 • 245 • RHP • R/R
Collected all-league, all-district and all-region honors as a junior ... struck out 105 and had a 1.43 ERA in 63.2 innings pitched ... batted .444 with a .667 slugging percentage and .564 on-base percentage, totaling 11 doubles and 23 RBIs ... team won district championship and advanced to regional finals under head coach Mike Boyd.
Gernon on Berman: "Gabe has a powerful arm and a tremendous upside. He is a big and strong individual with great feel for his secondary pitches that brings versatility as a potential starter, long reliever, or closer. Behrman already throws a "swing and miss" change up and a heavy fastball that gets on you quick. He swings a solid bat as well and will get a chance to help us on both sides of the baseball."
Brandon Cable • 6-1 • 195 • INF • R/R
Named all-conference, all-district and all-state as a junior, also was a Dream Team selection ... batted .514 with six home runs, six triples, 15 doubles, 37 RBIs and 47 runs scored ... had a .935 slugging percentage and .649 on-base percentage ... led area in doubles, triples and homeruns ... has won two conference, two district and one regional championship in past three seasons under head coach Dave VanNoord ... played summer ball under Bill Peterson with Diamonds organization ... grandfather, Glen Haight, played baseball at Central Michigan and father, Curt Cable, played baseball at Western Michigan.
Gernon on Cable: "Brandon is a very athletic, multi-tool shortstop that is arguably one of the best offensive players in the state of Michigan. He hits for power and for average and is extraordinarily athletic and is what I consider an immediate impact recruit. Brandon hit over .600 this past summer for the highly respected Diamonds summer team out of Grand Rapids. Cable turned down offers from Big 10 and rival MAC institutions and has unlimited potential."
Aaron Dehn • 5-11 • 200 • RHP • R/R
Three-time all-conference selection, also earning all-district honors in 2007 and 2011 ... was part of two district championship and two regional finalist teams under head coach Dave McWhinnie ... batted over .325 last two seasons, hitting .353 with eight doubles, a triple and two home runs ... went 8-2 on the mound in 2009 with a 1.98 ERA in 70.2 innings pitched ... has 2.80 career ERA.
Gernon on Dehn: "Aaron is another young man with a very powerful arm. He has powerful legs and great movement on his heavy fastball with command of a very solid arsenal. Dehn is a very passionate individual that will bring an intense competitive aura to our team while having the ability to impact our vision immediately."
Drew Farmer • 5-10 • 165 • OF • L/L
Earned all-conference, all-district, all-region and second team all-state honors as a junior ... tied high school single season records for home runs (6), hits (57) and slugging percentage (.832) ... batted .504 as a junior and .309 as a sophomore ... played under head coach Ian Hearn, winning a state championship in 2011 with a 32-6 overall record.
Gernon on Farmer: "The only thing that never slumps in baseball is speed, and Drew can flat out fly. We have seen below a 6.7 in the 60-yard dash and he has some sneaky pop in his left-handed bat. Farmer is very competitive and can run the ball down in the outfield with his great speed. I like the fact that he won a state championship with Rockford in 2011 as you can never have enough of that mentality in your locker room."
Patrick Haynes • 6-4 • 195 • RHP/OF • R/R
Named all-conference past two seasons and was named to Team Illinois in 2011 ... team has posted a 45-25 record the past two seasons combined under head coach Nick Bridich ... won regional championship in 2010 and had a top 20 state ranking, team was ranked in top 15 in 2011.
Gernon on Haynes: "Pat is a very athletic and competitive young man from the south side of Chicago. His 6-3 frame and loose arm have been seen often in the high 80's and on occasion, low 90's. He is so athletic he could easily dual for us as a position player. The first time I saw the ball come out of Pat's hand, I knew that I wanted him to be a Bronco. Haynes has the ability to challenge for a spot in our rotation as a freshman. He is ranked the 21st best player in the state of Illinois and turned down offers from institutions from the Big 12, Big East and Missouri Valley."
Kurt Hoekstra • 6-2 • 165 • INF/RHP • L/R
Named first team all-districts, all-area East, as a junior, leading Grand Rapids Christian to a state runner-up finish and a 30-8 overall record ... played under head coach and former major-leaguer Brent Gates (Athletics/Twins/Mariners 1993-99) ... set a school record 7 saves and had a 3-1 record with a 1.85 ERA in 30 IP ... held opposing batters to a .109 average against ... offensively, batted .477 with 53 hits, eight doubles and 31 RBIs, also recording 16 stolen bases.
Gernon on Hoekstra: "Kurt is a dual player with a tremendous upside showing potential as an infielder and a pitcher. His 6-2 long and wiry frame projects out well on the mound. Hoekstra runs well and swings a left-handed bat that is very interesting. I like that he won a championship in 2011 with Grand Rapids Christian and that he is coached by a former major league player in Brent Gates.
Hunter Prince • 6-3 • 245 • INF/RHP • R/R
Earned all-conference accolades past two seasons and was an all-district selection as a junior ... batted over .333 each season, hitting .343 with five home runs, eight doubles and 33 RBIs as a junior ... hit nine doubles, three home runs and had a .515 slugging percentage as a sophomore ... played summer ball under Bill Peterson with Diamonds organization ... also a prep standout in football and basketball ... earned all-conference and all-district honors in football the last two seasons, named offense team MVP as a tight end and defensive team MVP as a linebacker senior season ... won district and regional championships in basketball in 2010, before falling to eventual state champions Kalamazoo Central.
Gernon on Prince: "Hunter is a multi-sport athlete that swings an explosive bat. Prince is also a highly regarded football player that turned down multiple scholarships to play in the Mid-American Conference as a tight end and defensive end. He, like Cable, played for the highly respected Diamonds summer team out of Grand Rapids and has been exposed to tremendous competition. His 6-2 frame is athletic and his skilled soft hand will be an asset as a corner infielder. Hunter has the athletic ability to impact our program and the middle of our line up immediately."
Derek Schneider • 5-11 • 175 • LHP • R/L
Recorded seven wins and had a 0.78 ERA as a junior ... threw 36.0 innings, striking out 52 and walking just nine, allowed just 18 hits ... was an all-conference and all-district selection ... led Portage Central to No. 1 ranking in 2011 ... nearly threw perfect game, only disrupted by a walk ... coached by father ... father was an All-American at WMU and played seven professional seasons between Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners organizations, also is in WMU Hall of Fame and serves as building coordinator at WMU's Lawson Ice Arena.
Gernon on Schneider: "Derek is a very competitive south paw with an outstanding mix of pitches in his arsenal. The thing I like most about Schneider is his ability to repeat his mechanics which has enables him to pound the strike zone. He plays for his dad and former Broncoat Portage Central High School and was nationally ranked last year as well as No. 1 in the state of Michigan for most of the 2011 season. The Mustangs lost in the state semifinals to eventual state champion Rockford. Derek has grown up around pitching as his dad Paul reached triple AAA with the Mariners and was the starter in the AAA all-star game in 1987."
Brett Sunde • 6-0 • 185 • C • R/R
Has been an all-district and all-region selection the past three seasons and was an all-state selection the past two, earning a spot on the first team last year ... was chosen to play in East Coast Professional Showcase as a junior ... has batted over .400 in each prep season, hitting .439 as a junior with 62 RBIs, 13 doubles, three triples and six home runs ... over the past two years, has thrown out 36 of 44 base runners and picked off 30 ... Bishop Foley has gone 109-19 over past three years, winning three district championships, two regional championships and winning a state title in 2011 ... high school coach is his father, Buster Sunde, a former Western Michigan standout and major-leaguer ... father was a First Team All-MAC selection at WMU in 1982 and played for the Chicago White Sox 1982-84.
Gernon on Sunde: "Brett is one of the best receivers I have ever seen at the prep level. He is extremely flexible with remarkable receiving skills and an explosive arm. He plays with great confidence and is fearless and talented at picking off runners from behind the plate. Sunde is offensively polished as well and has the ability to impact the middle of our line up. He is our third recruit to win a state championship in 2011 doing so for Bishop Foley for the first time in school history. Sunde plays for the highly respected South Oakland A's in the summer coached by his dad, Buster Sunde. Buster was a Bronco, and teammate of, that was drafted in the 17th round by the Chicago White Sox in 1982. Buster is also the head coach at Bishop Foley High School. Brett could have played anywhere in the country based on the recruiting competition we faced and he will impact our program immediately in many facets."
Caleb Vincent • 6-1 • 200 • LHP • L/L
Attended Kellogg Community College the last two years, posted a 5-2 record with a 3.20 ERA in 49.2 innings in 2011 ... advanced to JUCO World Series with KCC in 2011 ... was a two-time first team all-conference selection in high school ... had a 3.22 ERA in 41.1 innings pitched senior season ... won a district and regional championship under Jerry Triece in 2007 ... also played football and basketball, winning a state football championship under Rich Hulkow in 2009.
Gernon on Vincent: "Caleb is an extremely competitive athlete that has outstanding pitchability. He won a championship as a quarterback at Marshall High School and made it to the Junior College World Series in 2011 with Kellogg so he knows how to win. Vincent also won a championship this past summer pitching for the Battle Creek Bombers of the prestigious Northwoods League. Caleb is a veteran and brings valuable experience to our pitching staff."