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UWM signs Five in Early Period

MILWAUKEE – Jonathan Capasso of Racine, Wis., Todd Hegbloom of Pulaski, Wis., Eric Semmelhack of Oak Creek, Wis., Robert Stone of Madison, Wis., and Jayme Sukowaty of Madison, Wis., have all signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, head coach Scott Doffek announced today.

Capasso, Hegbloom and Semmelhack are currently seniors in high school, while Stone and Sukowaty are both sophomores at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wis.

Capasso was a Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Third Team All-State outfielder last season at Racine Horlick High School. He batted .518 with 20 runs batted in as a junior, recording five doubles, four triples and three home runs en route to earning Racine Journal Times First Team All-Racine County and Player of the Year honors. In addition, Capasso was runner-up for player of the year honors in the Southeast Conference, was named first team all-conference and all-district and also selected to play in the WBCA Brewers Classic All-Star Game.

“Jonathan Capasso is one of the best high school hitters in the state of Wisconsin,” Doffek said. “He comes from a very good program in the Racine Hitters, so he is accustomed to facing quality competition and has excelled. He is an extremely high-effort, high-energy player that we look to make an immediate impact.”

Hegbloom was a Second Team All-Fox River Classic Conference selection last year after going 5-3 on the mound, striking out 46 batters in 43 innings while recording a 1.95 ERA. He also hit .317 at the plate and knocked in 20 runs while earning Team MVP honors. He struck out 35 batters in 40 innings as a sophomore, posting a 3.68 ERA and .308 average at the plate while earning the Bellin Health Male Comeback Player of the Year award. Last summer, he was selected for WBCA Brewers Classic All-Star Game.

“Todd Hegbloom is a kid that has had to work through arm issues and is now back to full strength,” UWM pitching coach Cory Bigler said. “He seems to have a good feel for his pitches and his arm works really well out front. Todd is a quality individual on and off the field and we are happy to have him here at UWM.”

Semmelhack went 10-4 on the mound last season, leading Oak Creek High School to a divisional title in the Greater Metro Conference and a spot in the state tournament. He set a school record by throwing 85.1 innings, while his 10 wins and 97 strikeouts were second all-time. He had a 2.21 ERA as a junior, limiting opponents to just a .194 average. Offensively, he batted .404 with two home runs, two triples, nine doubles, 22 runs scored and a team-high 37 runs batted in. He earned a spot on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All-Area Honorable Mention Team as a utility player and was also named First Team All-Division Greater Metro Conference as a utility player in 2008. In addition, Semmelhack was tabbed 2008 CNI All-Suburban High Honorable Mention and selected to play in the WBCA Brewers Classic All-Star Game.

“Eric Semmelhack is a big, right-handed pitcher who may play a little first base for us as well,” Bigler said. “He has an upper-80’s fastball and the makings of a short slider. He has an extremely high ceiling and is someone that could make an impact right away. He is the type of person we are looking for on and off the field.”

Stone spent last season at MATC, helping the Wolfpack to their 17th-straight conference title and second-consecutive regional crown during a 39-18 season. He appeared in 10 games, making two starts and throwing complete games each time. He finished the season with 11 strikeouts in 16.0 innings as a freshman. Prior to that, he did not play baseball for his high school, since the school he attended (Marquette High School in Michigan) did not field a baseball team. In that time, he was named the MVP of his American Legion team in 2006 and a legion all-star in 2004 and 2006.

“Robert Stone is a lanky lefty with very good hand speed and arm action,” Doffek said. “He has really taken huge strides over the past six months working with (MATC head coach) Mike Davenport. He has a ton of potential and we look for him to come in and help us out right away.”

Sukowaty was teammates with Stone at MATC a year ago, going 4-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 11 appearances, making four starts. He had three complete games, struck out 31 in 46.1 innings and limited opponents to a .243 batting average. That followed an all-state career on the mound at Reedsville High School. As a senior, Sukowaty was named WBCA District 4 Co-Player of the Year and first team all-district. He also garnered Olympian Conference Player of the Year honors and first team all-league accolades that season. He went 7-3 with a 2.29 ERA his last year, earning Third Team WBCA All-State honors. He was also named second team all-conference as a sophomore and junior, team MVP and most improved.

“Jayme Sukowaty is someone that we watched develop late in high school,” Doffek said. “We got on him a little too late but followed him very closely last year. He had a solid freshman season at MATC and has added some velocity to his pitches over the past few months. Couple that with the pitch-ability he already had and we look for him to come in and be a guy that can step into the front end of our rotation.

“We feel really good about last year’s recruiting class that we now have on campus. We are equally excited about this year’s group of new Panthers.”

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