Nov. 17, 1997
Notre Dame Baseball Signs Nine High School Seniors
Promising Group Expected to Fill Several Needs for Irish in 1999 season
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Bats Hometown Previous School
Matt Buchmeier RHP 6-1 170 Greenwood, IN Roncalli HS
Andy Bushey IF (3B)6-0 185 L Boardman, OH Cardinal Mooney HS
J.P. Drevline C 5-11 195 S Arlington Hts., IL John Hersey HS
Drew Duff RHP 5-11 160 Sevierville, TN Sevier County HS
Ed Golom IF 5-9 160 R Lockport, IL Providence Catholic HS
Paul O'Toole C 6-1 195 L Lakewood, OH St. Ignatius HS
Jason Rodda RHP 5-11 175 Lakeland, FL George Jenkins HS
Steve Stanley OF 5-7 140 L Columbus, OH Worthington Christian HS
Matt Strickroth 1B/OF 6-5 225 R Mission Viejo, CA Santa Margarita HS
The University of Notre Dame baseball team has signed nine high
school seniors to national letters of intent, head coach Paul Mainieri
The signees include righthanded pitchers Matt Buchmeier (Greenwood,
Ind.), Drew Duff (Sevierville, Tenn.) and Jason Rodda (Lakeland, Fla.),
catchers J.P Drevline (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Paul O'Toole
(Lakewood, Ohio), infielders Andy Bushey (Boardman, Ohio) and Ed Golom
(Lockport, Ill.), outfielder Steve Stanley (Columbus, Ohio) and
infielder/outfielder Matt Strickroth (Mission Viejo, Calif.).
"This was an important recruiting class because we had to replace the
five seniors who will be graduating next May, in addition to losing two
of last year's recruits to the professional draft," said fourth-year
Irish head coach Paul Mainieri. "You also always run the possibility of
losing some of your juniors to the pro draft, so the fact that we were
able to sign a class of this quality and quantity is very significant.
"The goals we sought in signing this class were maintaining a strong
pitching staff, adding two quality catchers and providing some offensive
firepower. We definitely reached those goals and are very excited to
have these players become members of the Notre Dame baseball program."
Six of the nine signees are natives of Indiana, Illinois or Ohio,
with the other three hailing from California, Florida and Tennessee.
The Notre Dame baseball team is coming off a 41-19 season in which it
posted the best regular-season record (15-6) in BIG EAST Conference
play. The Irish baseball program has posted nine straight 40-plus win
seasons while the program's .728 winning percentage during the 1990s
(356-133) ranks seventh in Division I baseball.
Buchmeier is known for a fastball that can touch 90 miles per hour
and his ability to consistently throw strikes. The 6-1, 170-pound
righthander spent the summer of 1997 as a member of the Indiana Bulls
state all-star team and earned a spot on the all-tournament team at the
1997 National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series. His eight-game
statistics with the Bulls included a 6-1 record, 1.28 ERA, 45 strikeouts
and just 16 walks in 44 innings. As a first team all-city performer, he
helped Roncalli High School to a 23-5 season in the spring of 1997 while
posting a 5-3 record, 1.98 ERA, 67 K's and 35 walks in 53 innings.
Bushey, known for his natural left-handed swing and ability to hit to
all fields, played summer-league ball with current Irish freshman
infielder Ben Cooke on the Youngstown Astro Falcons. He hit .444 while
leading the Astro Falcons to a 45-7 record in the summer of '97. In the
summer of '96, the 6-0, 185-pound Bushey won the class B batting title
after batting .474 with only three strikeouts in 98 at-bats. As a junior
at Cardinal Mooney High School, he was named all-conference and
all-tri-county after hitting a conference-best .473 and leading his team
to the district title.
The 5-11, 195-pound Drevline is expected to contend for time behind
the plate due to his strong all-around ability, ability to hit from both
sides of the plate and leadership skills. A former Norwood Blues
teammate of current Irish freshman leftfielder Alec Porzel, Drevline
most recently hit .459 on the Hersey high school summer league and .329
with the Rollins Meadows Royals semi-pro team. He also played in the
first annual Chicago-land Top Prospect Game, held at Comiskey Park in
the summer of '97.
Duff is noted for his competitiveness, a tough curveball and a
fastball that has touched 91 miles per hour. A four-year starting
shortstop at Sevier County High School, the 5-11, 160-pound Duff posted
a 2.80 ERA, 28 strikeouts and just four walks in 25 innings last spring.
He was selected to pitch for the Tennessee state team in the 1997
College Baseball Association World Series. He also was invited to the
prestigious Team One Showcase and Area Code Eastern Showcase in the
summer of 1997. During his various fall tournaments, Duff compiled an
0.66 ERA, 36 strikeouts and eight walks in 21 innings.
Golom attracted the Irish coaches due to his scrappy style,
versatility and aggressiveness at the plate. The 5-9, 160-pound
righthander also participated in the Team One Showcase. He was named
all-conference and honorable mention all-area at Providence Catholic
High School after batting .420.
O'Toole's versatility, hitting ability and strong throwing arm could
help him make significant contributions for the Irish in '98. A 6-1,
195-pound left-handed hitter, O'Toole was a teammate of Cooke's at
Cleveland's St. Ignatius High School while also teaming with fellow
Irish signee Steve Stanley on the Mainstreet Muffins summer team. His
1997 summer highlights included leading the Mainstreet Muffins to the
Connie Mack state championship and earning a spot in the Team One
Showcase. In the spring of 1997, he was the only junior on the USA Today
honorable mention list for the state of Ohio and earned team and county
MVP honors after leading his team to a third-place finish in the state.
O'Toole hit a school record 15 doubles as a junior while striking out
just four times in 88 at-bats.
The 5-11, 175-pound Rodda, whose high school pitching coach is former
major leaguer Joe Niekro, is known for his ability to consistently throw
four pitches for strikes, as evidenced by his combined 38-1 career
record in high school and summer-league play. A second team all-state
pitcher as a junior, Rodda led George Jenkins High School to the state
semi-finals in the spring of 1997 after going 11-0 with 86 strikeouts,
19 walks and 47 hits allowed in 73 innings. His 1997 summer statistics
included a 9-1 record, 0.89 ERA, 69 K's. 16 BB's and 34 hits allowed in
63 innings. In 52 combined high school and summer games, Rodda has
totaled an 0.99 ERA, 271 K's, 72 BB's and 147 hits allowed in 247
innings. He also was invited to the Team One Showcase
Stanley, another Team One participant, should bring excellent speed
and all-around athleticism to the Irish program as a prospective
centerfielder. As a sophomore at Worthington Christian High School,
Stanley led the Columbus area with a .595 batting average and 41-of-44
stolen bases en route to becoming the only sophomore to be named first
team all-state. He repeated as a first team all-state selection as a
junior, after hitting .489 and being successful on 37-of-38 stolen base
The 6-5, 225-pound Strickroth could prove to be the surprise member
of the signing class. A talented two-sport athlete who selected Notre
Dame over college football scholarship offers, Strickroth could add
power at the plate for the Irish. As a junior at Santa Margarita High
School, he hit .398 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 88 at-bats, after
hitting ,329 with five home runs and 23 RBI as a sophomore. He has spent
the past two fall seasons playing in wood bat leagues and earned
all-league honors as a first baseman in the spring of 1997. Strickroth
captain's the Santa Margarita football team and is a two-way starting
tackle on a team that is ranked fifth in USA Today's west region
rankings. As a junior, he was an all-league defensive tackle on Santa
Margarita's 13-1 CIF state championship team.
Additional Buchmeier Notes: Saw his no-hitter broken up with
one out in the ninth inning of NABF World Series championship game
before finishing with two-hit complete game in 14-2 victory ... threw a
no-hitter as a sophomore in 1-0 win over Manual Redskins ... his
junior-year honors included first team all-city and second team
all-Indianapolis ... also a member of the varsity cross country team as
a senior ... three-year honor roll student and member of the National
Mainieri on Buchmeier: "Matt is a key recruit for us. He is
one of the top pitchers in the Midwest and we are very excited to have
him in the program. Matt really developed over this past summer as his
fastball reached as high as 90 mph. He has a loose arm, which makes me
feel he will improve his velocity as he gets stronger.. We expect Matt
to contribute on the mound as a freshman because he throws strikes and
knows how to pitch. The best is yet to come for Matt Buchmeier."
Buchmeier on his Decision: "I was the most comfortable at
Notre Dame, in terms of the people and the quality of the school. I've
attended Catholic school for the last 12 years and it's something that I
enjoy. Notre Dame has such a great reputation and it will be exciting to
be a student-athlete there."
Additional Bushey Notes: Led Cardinal Mooney to three
conference titles and district title as a sophomore and junior ... first
team all-conference as a sophomore, after hitting .411 ... second team
all-conference as a freshman, after hitting team-best .419 ... also
lettered in football and basketball ... carries a 4.23 cumulative GPA
... a four-year honor student and member of National Honor Society
Mainieri on Bushey: "Andy will bring a tremendous work ethic
to Notre Dame. He comes from a very strong summer team and has
continued to improve throughout his high school career. Andy has a
natural left-handed swing and has proven he has the ability to hit to
all fields. We are expecting great things from Andy."
Bushey on his Decision: "There was no way I could pass up the
opportunity to attend Notre Dame. I felt that coach Mainieri, his staff
and all the players showed a sincere interest in me being part of their
program. The academic reputation, campus environment and social life are
everything I desire in a college. The Notre Dame program is a great fit
Additional Drevline Notes: Batted .345 in Hersey summer league
during 1996, after hitting .403 during the summer of '95 ... tried out
for 1997 Area Code Games ... four-time honor roll student and member of
the National Honor Society.
Mainieri on Drevline: "J.P. has the athletic ability and work
ethic to be another outstanding Irish player from the Chicago Area. He
has outstanding baseball skills, is an excellent catcher, hits well from
both sides of the plate and has outstanding leadership qualities. J.P.
posses very similar qualities to Bob Lisanti, former Irish catcher form
the Chicago Area. I expect J.P. to come in and compete behind the plate
Drevline on his Decision: "Academics were important to me and
Notre Dame fit those expectations. They also seem to have a commitment
to the players--it seemed like a big family where everybody does
everything possible to help you succeed. It will be nice for my family
to see me play a lot when I'm at Notre Dame.
Additional Duff Notes: Has been named to all-star team for
every team he has played on since 1985 ... his offensive stats in the
spring of 1997 included a team-best .450 batting avg., four home runs
and 7-of-7 stolen bases in 19 games ... owns a 3.3 cumulative GPA.
Mainieri on Duff: "Drew will make a large impact because he is
a tremendous competitor on the mound. He has a fastball that will touch
91 mph and an outstanding curveball. Drew is the most intense and
competitive pitchers I have ever recruited. He takes charge of the game
and attacks the hitters and that's what I like to see out of our
pitchers. Drew has a chance to be a great pitcher at Notre Dame.
Duff on his Decision: "My decision was pretty easy because I
grew up always wanting to go to Notre Dame and my dad is a real big
Notre Dame fan. It's just a great educational opportunity. I'm really
looking forward to working with all the coaches there and I loved the
overall atmosphere surrounding the school and the baseball program."
Additional Golom Notes: Four-year honor student with a 3.7
cumulative GPA ... named one of 10 top hitters in area according to
Herald News ... attended Baseball Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Mainieri on Golom: "Ed is a real gamer who loves to play. Ed
comes from a strong high school program where he has learned to play the
game the right way. He is a scrappy player who will give 100% at all
times. He'll dive for every ball, hustle on every hit and battle to
help his team win. I really like his versatility and aggressiveness at
Golom on his Decision: "My basic criteria was to choose a good
Division I program with good academics and Notre Dame fit that best. I
loved my visit and the campus was great. I also went to some classes and
liked what them--the whole Notre Dame atmosphere was great."
Additional O'Toole Notes: Caught every game in spring of 1997
while leading team to third-place finish in state tournament ... played
every game in spring of 1996 as a catcher and outfielder, throwing out
59% of attempted basestealers (17-of-29) while striking out just five
times in 77 at-bats, leading team in walks (18) and ranking second in
RBI (24) ... second baseman and catcher on sixth-place team at 1996 CABA
World Series ... member of the National Honor Society.
Mainieri on O'Toole: "Paul will be one of our biggest
contributors as a freshman. He is very versatile and will compete both
behind the plate and in the outfield. Paul can really hit and, as a
catcher, has a very strong throwing arm --he's simply an outstanding
all-around player who has a very bright future at Notre Dame."
O'Toole on his Decision: "It was a bonus that Notre Dame was
close to home. I also was attracted to the tradition of Notre Dame and
to the fact that coming out of there with a Notre Dame diploma can make
you set for life. I'm also Irish and basically already am very excited."
Additional Rodda Notes: Threw five complete game victories
while helping team claim 1996 American Legion state title ... his stats
during that '96 summer season included a 10-0 record, 1.08 ERA, 62 K's,
14 BB's and 41 hits allowed in 65 innings ... threw no-hitter at state
American Legion tournament ... led his USA Junior Olympic team to the
ERA title in Ft. Meyers, Fla. in 1996 ... member of student council and
the National Honor Society.
Mainieri on Rodda: "Jason is a winner. Anytime you get a
pitcher who is 38-1 in his career you know he is a real winner. He
throws four quality pitches for strikes, knows how to set up hitters and
comes from a baseball area where he has competed against some top-level
opposition. Jason has an outstanding breaking ball which will give him
an opportunity to compete as a freshman at Notre Dame."
Rodda on his Decision: "I knew that Notre Dame was an
excellent school for academics and athletics. I had a really good visit
and liked the way how everyone was so receptive. I also have a lot of
family in the South bend and Chicago area so that will help with being
so far away from home. The weather and distance were not going to be
factors in my decision--I just wanted to choose school with the best
academics and baseball program."
Additional Stanley Notes: Helped team take second place at
19997 NABF World Series in Evansville, Ind. ... also served as starting
point guard on Worthington basketball team that advanced the 1997
regional semifinals ... currently serving as student body president ...
member of the National Honor Society
Mainieri on Stanley: "The thing that made Steve so attractive
to us is the fact he has excellent speed and is a good all-around
athlete who can play centerfield. His baseball ability and approach to
the game reminds us of former Irish centerfielder Scott Sollmann. Steve
is a serious base stealing threat and that excites me. With his ability
to run, Steve has a chance to have an effect on every game he plays in
at Notre Dame."
Stanley on his Decision: "My number one reason was how much I
liked coach Mainieri and the rest of his staff. I got along with them
really well. It really seemed like they wanted me to go there and they
made me feel special for the three days I was there. I like the fact
that it is a smaller campus and that most of the students live in the
dorms. Everything just seemed to be first class."
Additional Strickroth Notes: Starting cleanup hitting since
his sophomore year ... has played primarily first base and the outfield
... an honor roll student and member of the California Scholarship
Federation .. .helped 1997 football team earn #1 ranking in CIF and #2
in Orange County.
Mainieri on Strickroth: "Matt is the sleeper of the group. He
is a big strong athlete with a lot of power at the plate and will
compete at first base and in the outfield. Matt could step in and bat
in the middle of the line-up as a freshman. As Matt continues to get
stronger and develop as a hitter he will be a very exciting player to
watch. He had to make a decision whether to play baseball or football
in college and I am excited he chose to attend Notre Dame."
Strickroth on his Decision: "My primary reason for choosing
Notre Dame was the combination of a great baseball program and the
quality education that Notre Dame offers. I chose to play baseball in
college rather than football because baseball is the sport that I most
enjoy and I feel that I have a better future in baseball. Overall, I
really like the players and coaches at Notre Dame and can't wait to get