NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame head baseball coach Dave Schrage announced Tuesday the signing of 10 student-athletes to national letters of intent. The class will be eligible beginning in the fall of 2010. The Irish signed RHP Donnie Hissa, INF Chris Reinhart, 1B Trey Mancini, INF/OF John Rodgers, RHP Sean Fitzgerald, RHP Dan Slania, LHP Anthony McGiver, C Forrest Johnson, INF/OF Bret Basilone and INF Eric Jagielo.
"This is one of our best recruiting classes, if not the best," said fourth-year head coach Dave Schrage. "We've added speed, we've added power, we've added right-handed pitching, we've added left-handed pitching and we've added tremendous defense. I know that our class from a couple of years ago ranked among the top five in the country and this class is definitely right up there.
"This class was an especially important one with the number of seniors and potential draft-eligible players leaving the program. It is our goal every year to reload, not rebuild, and it is vital to bring in kids that can step in and contribute immediately as freshmen. This group can most definitely do that."
"When you consider this group's talent, makeup and academic success, they will represent Notre Dame extremely well," said fourth-year associate head coach Scott Lawler. "We did a great job of landing players that can help us playing a number of different positions. With the NCAA rule limiting rosters to 35 players, it has become vital to a program's success to add players with a versatile skill set."
The 2010 recruiting class includes players from Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia and Illinois. No class in Irish history has come from such a widespread area. Notre Dame has 12 seniors on the 2010 roster. The Irish finished the 2009 season at 36-23 overall and 15-12 in the BIG EAST.
2009: all-section first team, all-Kiski Valley All-Star, invited to Area Code Games and East Coast Pro Showcase, member of National Honor Society, honor roll, Future Business Leaders of America Regional Competition - 2nd Place (State Qualifier), batted .400 with 18 stolen bases, 23 runs scored and 12 walks, has never been caught stealing in high school career.
2008: all-section first team, all-Kiski Valley All-Star, invited to Area Code Games, honor roll, batted .328 with 15 stolen bases, 29 runs scored and 14 walks.
2007: invited to Area Code Games, honor roll, Student Council Vice President.
Parents: Tim & Mary Jane Basilone
Siblings: Christina & Melissa Basilone
High School Coach: Dan Pschirer
Schrage on Basilone: "Bret is extremely versatile and a great athlete who will bring tremendous speed to our program. He can really play any spot in the infield as well as any of the three outfield positions. Bret is solid, contact switch-hitter who plays the game with a tough and hard-nosed approach."
Basilone on Notre Dame: "I chose Notre Dame because I was extremely impressed by the coaching staff and the people I had the pleasure of meeting during my visit. The academics, athletics and facilities at Notre Dame are second to none. The tradition was overwhelming and is something that I cannot wait to be a part of. Notre Dame is the perfect fit for me and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity."
RHP | R/R | 6-2 | 170 | McLean, Virginia (McLean HS)
2009: first team all-district, Liberty District Pitcher of the Year, first team all-region, honorable mention all-state, first team all-metropolitan, already owns school record for victories, member of National Honor Society, went 8-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 57.2 innings, struck out 69 and walked 10 in 10 appearances, including eight complete games (he started nine games), also hit .470 with 10 doubles, 23 RBI, 23 runs scored and eight stolen bases, owns a career marks of 18-7, 1.83 ERA, 158 strikeouts and only 36 walks in 160.1 innings.
2008: first team all-district, second team all-region, went 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 60.1 innings, struck out 62 and walked 17 in 13 appearances, including four complete games and two saves, also hit .423 with four doubles, two triples, 23 RBI, 17 runs scored and 14 stolen bases.
2007: second team all-district, went 4-3 with a 1.82 ERA in 42.1 innings, struck out 27 and walked nine in nine appearances, including a pair of complete games, also hit .364 with five RBI, 10 runs scored and four stolen bases.
Parents: Joe & Michelle Fitzgerald
Siblings: Eric & Mia Fitzgerald
High School Coach: John Thomas
Schrage on Fitzgerald: "Sean is polished and owns a moxie on the mound that makes him ready to pitch at the college level right away. He reminded our staff of Cole (Johnson) during the recruiting process. He has great movement on all his pitches, especially his fastball, and throws a ton of strikes. He also might be one of the most athletic pitchers in the country so he can field his position. We were very lucky to be able to pry him out of the state of Virginia."
Fitzgerald on Notre Dame: "I picked Notre Dame over the other schools that recruited me because of its excellence in academics, beautiful campus and baseball program. I wanted a school that was the right fit for me, and Notre Dame, with a high quality baseball program and outstanding coaching staff, was a perfect fit."
RHP | R/R | 6-7 | 235 | Iron River, Wisconsin (Maple Northwestern HS)
2009: first team all-conference, Daily Telegram Player of the Year, named Maple Northwestern Most Valuable Player (baseball), pitched 58 innings and struck out 91 batters, led team with a .405 batting average, first team all-conference, Daily Telegram All-Area Team, named Maple Northwestern Most Valuable Player (basketball), first team all-state defensive lineman, first team all-conference tight end, first team all-conference defensive lineman, named Maple Northwestern Outstanding Lineman, Daily Telegram All-Area Team, Duluth News Tribune All-Area Team (football)
2008: second team all-conference, Daily Telegram All-Area Team (basketball)
2007: honorable mention all-conference, Daily Telegram All-Area Team (baseball)
Parents: John & Gina Hissa
Siblings: Nicole & Timothy Hissa
High School Coach: Steve Lahti
Summer Coach: Donnie Roberts
Schrage on Hissa: "Donnie is a 6-7 or 6-8 right-handed pitcher who is extremely athletic. He was an all-state defensive end in football and even got numerous scholarship offers in basketball as well. Donnie is a hard-throwing righty with a really good slider. I really think after working with Coach Dangler (Notre Dame first year pitching coach) that his potential will be off the charts."
Hissa on Notre Dame: "Notre Dame is not only one of the top academic schools in the nation, but also one of the best baseball programs. The campus is beautiful and all the coaches seem like great guys. Notre Dame had absolutely everything I was looking for when considering my future."
INF | L/R | 6-1 | 190 | Downers Grove, Illinois (Downers Grove North HS)
2009: ranked No. 314 overall and No. 8 in the state of Illinois by PGCrossChecker.com, member of the National Honor Society, all-conference, all-area, batted .417 with 37 runs scored, 16 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 30 RBI and an on-base percentage of .557.
Parents: Stephen & Cindy Jagielo
Siblings: Daniel, Anneliese & Claire Jagielo
High School Coach: Chad Isaacson
Schrage on Jagielo: "Eric emerged from our camp as one of the top left-handed power hitters in the country. He is without question a middle of the order type hitter. He not only possesses tremendous power, but he can run and is a quality contact hitter that can swing from corner to corner of the outfield."
Jagielo on Notre Dame: "I have always been aware of all that Notre Dame has to offer; a great education and a nationally recognized baseball program which develops players for the next level. For me, my time on campus and getting to know the coaches had the most influence on my decision. I picked Notre Dame because it felt right to me."
C | R/R | 6-2 | 195 | Hudson, Ohio (Hudson HS)
2009: varsity letter in football, varsity letter in baseball, first team all-conference, Hudson H.S. Defensive Player of the Year, Northern Ohio Conference Scholar Athlete Award (baseball and football), Hudson H.S. Scholar Athlete Award (baseball and football), Fellowship of Christian Athletes, United States Military Academy, West Point Leadership Award.
2008: varsity letter in football, varsity letter in baseball, second team all-conference, Northern Ohio Conference Scholar Athlete Award, Hudson H.S. Scholar Athlete Award (baseball and football), Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
2007: Hudson H.S. Scholar Athlete Award (baseball and football).
Parents: Doug & Suzy Johnson
Siblings: Cole (junior pitcher on Notre Dame) & Paige Johnson
High School Coach: Chuck Shilling
Schrage on Johnson: "Forrest gets better every time we see him. His best baseball is definitely ahead of him. We wanted to find a top-notch defensive catcher in this class and Forrest fills that need. He is a tough, hard-nosed player. Forrest and Cole are so similar in terms of their work ethic, desire to succeed and competitiveness. The apple does not fall far from the tree."
Johnson on Notre Dame: "I know that when I leave the University of Notre Dame, I will be a better person. I would like nothing more than to be a part of the Fighting Irish, because this legacy will follow me for the rest of my life."
2009: first team all-area, first team all-county, third team all-Florida 5A, second in hitting in Polk County.
2008: first team all-area, first team all-county, first team all-Florida 5A, Maxpreps Sophomore All-American Team, batted .527 with four home runs and 39 RBI, led Polk County in hitting.
Parents: Tony & Beth Mancini
Siblings: Katie & Meredith Mancini
High School Coach: David Saliba
Schrage on Mancini: "Trey brings a tremendous bat with a lot of power to the program. He has hit every year, every level, wherever he has been. He is a big target at first base from a defensive standpoint. It was a huge coup for us to get a kid out of the state of Florida that every program wanted to try and keep home. He is a guy that can come in and give us an immediate impact."
Mancini on Notre Dame: "Notre Dame is one of the top schools athletically and academically. I've talked about going to Notre Dame ever since I was a little kid. The campus is unbelievable, and the coaching staff and players and other recruits that were there on my official visit were awesome. I knew I was going to commit on the first day of my official visit. I hadn't gotten such feelings from any of the other schools I visited."
LHP | L/L | 6-5 | 170 | Vista, California (Rancho Buena Vista HS)
2009: San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Team.
2008: Rancho Buena Vista High School pitcher's award, Rancho Buena Vista High School MVP (basketball), Rancho Buena Vista High School coaches award (basketball), San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Team.
2007: Rancho Buena Vista High School coaches award, Rancho Buena Vista High School coaches award (basketball).
Parents: David & Mary McIver
Siblings: Matthew & Christopher McIver
High School Coach: Leo Fletes
Schrage on McIver: "Anthony is a big, hard-throwing and athletic left-handed pitcher. He is one of the fastest-emerging pitching prospects out of the state of California. He can throw three pitches for strikes, with a fastball that has topped 90 mph this fall."
McIver on Notre Dame: "I picked the University of Notre Dame over other schools, not only because of the outstanding baseball program, but also because of the high academic standards. It has excellent architecture and engineering programs, the two fields I am interested in studying. I also liked the student traditions and positive spirit for all sports. All students seemed to be very supportive of one another."
2009: helped Jesuit High School to the Easter Tour Championship and regional semifinals, ranked as high as No. 40 overall and No. 4 third baseman by Prospectwire.com, National Latin Honor Society, National Honor Society, Jesuit Baseball Unit Award, Jesuit Principal's Honor Roll.
2008: one of two sophomore position players to make varsity, Jesuit Principal's Honor Roll, batted .333 with a double, home run and four RBI in 10 games before an injury forced him to miss the season, batted .426 with 13 doubles, six home runs, 33 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 65 games with Dawg Pound summer league team.
2007: Jesuit Principal's Honor Roll, batted .389 with 10 doubles, two home runs and a team-leading 22 RBI.
Parents: Frank & Nicole Reinhart
High School Coach: Richie Warren
Schrage on Reinhart: "We are thrilled to get another kid out of Tampa Jesuit (joining current Irish freshman Joe Hudson). It is one of the top high school programs in the country and we have gotten two quality players two years in a row. Chris can really swing the bat and can play a really good third base. He can actually play a number of positions."
Reinhart on Notre Dame: "When I came to the campus, I felt so welcomed and had such an amazing experience. The academic and athletic prowess at the University of Notre Dame is unequaled. I just wanted to put myself in this situation to succeed."
INF/OF | L/R | 5-11 | 170 | Palm City, Florida (John Carroll Catholic HS)
2009: all-state honorable mention, member of National Honor Society, hit .400 with 26 runs scored, 26 walks and a .550 on-base percentage.
Parents: Mark & Karen Rodgers
Siblings: Matthew, Andrew, Katie & Brian Rodgers
High School Coach: Mike Easom
Schrage on Rodgers: "We needed to add some left-handed hitting in this class and John fills that void. He can play the outfield or infield and possesses athleticism and good speed. He is just a good, complete baseball player."
Rodgers on Notre Dame: "Notre Dame is by far the best combination of athletics and academics of any school in the country. The chance for me to play high-end Division I baseball and be a student at a premier academic powerhouse is a dream come true. Some schools might claim being stronger in either athletics or academics, but none of those schools match all that Notre Dame has to offer. This school had everything I was looking for."
2009: All-Southern Arizona Honorable Mention (baseball), coaches' 5A Southern Region I All-Stars First Team (baseball), Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar Athlete Award (baseball), Salpointe Catholic H.S. Senior Class President, National Honor Society, honor roll, Catholic Schools Week Award, batted .344 with eight home runs and 25 RBI, posted a 4.94 ERA with 42 strikeouts (injury-hampered season), varsity letter in football and baseball.
2008: All-Southern Arizona Honorable Mention (baseball), coaches' 5A Southern Region I All-Stars First Team (baseball), Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar Athlete Award (baseball), Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar Athlete Award (football), Salpointe Catholic H.S. Junior Class Athlete of the Year, Arizona Boys' State Delegate, Leonardo Da Vinci Humanities Award, Student Council Member-at-Large, varsity letter in football and baseball, batted .389 with five home runs and 29 RBI, posted a 4.96 ERA in 62.1 innings of work.
2007: Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar Athlete-Award (baseball), Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar Athlete-Award (football), varsity letter in football and baseball.
Parents: Michael & Jody Slania
Siblings: Matthew Slania
High School Coach: Danny Preble
Schrage on Slania: "Dan is another competitive, big, athletic and hard-throwing right-handed pitcher. He is a top-notch athlete who also excelled on the football field, playing both quarterback and tight end. He falls into the same mold as Ryan Sharpley, Evan Danieli and Brian Dupra from previous recruiting classes - strong-arm, down-hill throwing right-handers."
Slania on Notre Dame: "I chose Notre Dame over the other colleges for several reasons. Academically, the small undergraduate enrollment was appealing to me, as well as a faculty that is interested in the students' success. Athletically, it was important for me to find a school where I could contribute to the program and make a difference right away. I feel that I have found that in the Notre Dame baseball family."