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Siena Siena grabs Six NLI’s


Mohonasen senior Robert tedesco prepares to sign his NLI to Siena during the recently completed early signing period. (Courtesy of Siena Media Relations)

Head coach Tony Rossi announced the signing of six student-athletes to binding National Letters of Intent today. Local products Kyle Baldani, Mike Fish and Robert Tedesco join Larry Balwkill, Jake Werdesheim and Justin Brantley as newcomers who will join the program next fall.

“I feel this class is every bit as good as last year’s which received an honorable mention ranking by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper as one of the top recruiting classes in the country,” Rossi said. “Assistant coaches Joe Sinicola and Rob Ditoma did an outstanding job identifying and addressing our needs for next year.”

This class consists of two catchers, three pitchers and one outfielder.

Balkwill, a 6-4 catcher who hails from Chatham, Ontario was selected the Windsor/Essex County Sportsperson Awards Male Athlete of the Year for his production on the diamond. He also was a member of the Windsor Midget Selects 18 and under team which won the Gold Medal in the 2008 Ontario Championships. During the summer he hit .359, with 44 hits, 37 RBI and a slugging percentage of .566 in 53 games.

“We’re really excited to have Larry as a member of our program,” Rossi said. “He had an outstanding summer and fall with one of the top programs in Ontario. He recently was honored at a banquet in Toronto as the Ontario Adult Baseball Player of the Year. Larry is a strong defensive catcher who should help supply much-needed offense. He is also an outstanding student and a member of his high school’s Leadership Program”

Baldani makes the short trip to Siena’s Loudonville campus from Ballston Spa, where he was the MVP of his high school team the past three seasons. The 6-1, 195-pound catcher played on the strong Saratoga Stampede team this past summer, hitting .341 with 30 hits, 20 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .523 slugging percentage. Baldani was the starting catcher for the 2006 and 2007 Empire State Games Adirondack team, and, as a sophomore, he was an All Section II kicker in football.

“We’re happy that Kyle will be a member of the Siena community,” Rossi said. “He is an outstanding student who brings versatility to the program. Not only is he a terrific catcher with a great arm, but with his speed, he has the ability to play outfield as well, and will be looked at as a possible addition to the pitching staff.”

Fish, a 6-0, 165-pound outfielder is a senior at Bethlehem High School in nearby Delmar. He has been a three-year starter in centerfield for the varsity team, and, last spring, hit .482 with 32 runs scored and 21 RBI. Fish was a Second Team All-League all-star in 2007, and made the All-League First Team and Albany Times Union All-Area All-Star team this past spring. He is the team captain this year and also played for the prestigious South Troy Dodgers last summer in a wooden bat league where he hit .378 with 37 hits, 27 runs scored, 14 RBI and 21 stolen bases.

“Mike is an outstanding athlete from one of the premier leagues in the Capitol District,” Rossi said. “He is a phenomenal hitter with plus speed and a great arm. We expect him to be the front runner for next year’s centerfield position.”

Tedesco also has a short trip to campus next fall. The 5-11, 165-pound pitcher is completing a standout career at Mohonasen High School is Schenectady. As a junior, Tedesco was named First Team Suburban Council, Section II All-Area and Second Team Large School All-State after winning a school-record seven games and posting a 2.06 ERA with 101 strikeouts and a .182 opponents’ batting average. He was the team MVP last year, and has been a member of the Adirondack Team of the Empire State Games the last two years.

“Robert is one of the top pitchers in the area,” Rossi said. “He can reach 90 with his fastball and throws three other pitches, featuring an outstanding slider in the low 80’s. We expect him to be an immediate impact player”

Werdesheim, a 6-0, 180-pound right-handed pitcher from Miami adds great depth to the Saints’ pitching staff. He was an All-League and All-State selection while earning MVP honors at his previous High School: Miami Palmetto.

“Jake comes from the talent rich state of Florida and the fertile Miami area,” Rossi said. “He attends Killian High School which is one of the top baseball schools in the city. He also plays for the strong South Florida Bandits summer and fall teams. Jake has an outstanding curveball and changeup and we welcome his experience and expect him to earn quality innings immediately.”

Brantley, a 5-11, 150-pound pitcher out of Hudson, N.Y., rounds out the early signings. He has been the ace at Hudson High School the past two seasons and was an All-League First Team selection as a junior this past spring.

“Justin has all the tools to be a strong pitcher in our program,” Rossi said. “He can get hitters out with any of his four pitches. Along with his fastball, he throws a hard slider, curveball, and an outstanding change-up. He has a very high ceiling and with some added strength and improved command we feel he could be a major contributor immediately when he arrives.”

The Siena baseball team is coming off a strong season in which it posted a 30-26 overall record and advanced to the MAAC championship game.

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