FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Washington, D.C. – Georgetown Baseball Head Coach Pete Wilk announced that the Hoyas will be welcoming 10 new players to the fold this upcoming season. Corbin Blakey, Paul Bello, Chris Casale, Neal Dennison, Mike Garza, James Heine, Justin Leeson, Thomas Polus, Danny Poplawski and Charlie Steinman comprise the incoming class for the Blue & Gray.
“Overall, this is probably the best class we’ve ever brought to the Hilltop,” Wilk said. “As a whole, they are all very athletic, they are leaders at their schools, and they are all from winning programs. Coach [Curtis] Brown did a fantastic job at helping to compile this class and we are very excited to be getting the caliber of athletes that we are getting. You will be seeing a number of them early on in their careers.”
“Corbin brings a great deal of athleticism into the program,” Wilk said. “His best attribute is probably his hands both at the plate and in the field. We expect Corbin to compete for playing time very early in his career.”
Blakey was an infielder for the Centennial Knights in Roswell, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. At one point this past season, the Knights were the No. 2-ranked team in the state. He played in the Perfect Game National Showcase and was named a Southeast Top Prospect after winning the team MVP his junior season and being an all-region selection after his senior campaign. Blakey played his club ball with the Atlanta Bluejays and is a former teammate of Major League Baseball’s 2008 No. 1 overall pick, Tim Beckham.
“Paul is a switch-hitting middle infielder who has the ability to play multiple positions on the field,” Wilk said. “His athleticism and versatility will be an asset to the program.”
Bello hails from Montville, New Jersey and was a three-year varsity starter for the perennial power Delbarton School, which has finished in the top ten each of the past three seasons. He batted over .450 the past two seasons while collecting over 70 hits and was a First Team All-Northern Hills Conference and All-Morris County as a senior. Bello was also named an All-Parochial A State Tournament team selection and an All-Morris County tournament team choice. The Delbarton Green Wave advanced to the Parochial North A semifinal this year and his club team, the North Jersey Cardinals, made the ACEBL World Series
“Chris was recruited mainly as a pitcher as he has developed quite a bit over the past few years into a mid 80’s right-hander with a good slider,” Wilk said. “He will also have an opportunity to compete in the outfield.”
Casale played his high-school ball at nearby Gonzaga where he was selected to play in the Honor Roll Showcase and SelectFest. He was also named First Team All-WCAC and was an ESPN Rise All-DC Area selection. Casale also earned academic honors all four year at Gonzaga and graduated with honors.
“Neal brings a lot into the program with his ability to play a lot of different infield positions as well as pitch,” Wilk said. “Again, with Neal, we add a great athlete first and foremost, and another arm to help out on the hill.”
Dennison played at Lamar High School in the greater Houston area. During the summer, he suited up for the Houston Heat Select organization and attended the Princeton University Summer Showcase in Princeton, New Jersey. Dennison was also recognized by the Houston Chronicle as a First Team All-Greater Houston pitcher and as a junior, was named to the second team All-Greater Houston Team and First Team All-District.
“Mike will, after sitting out a year per NCAA rules, hit in the middle of our order with power, as well as provide a power arm out of our bullpen and possibly close for us,” Wilk said.
Garza graduated in 2008 from Douglas MacArthur High School in San Antonio, Texas, was a three-year letterwinner, and earned a bevy of accolades for a stellar prep career. He capped his prep career by being named the 2008 Texas High School Baseball Pro-Line Player of the Year by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches’ Association, while also earning first-team All-State honors and a spot on the Texas All-Star team. Garza also garnered third-team All-State honors as a sophomore and was selected to the District 26-5 A First Team and All-City first-team for three consecutive years (2006-08).
“James has one of the highest ceilings in this class,” Wilk said. “His size coupled with an upper 80’s fastball gives him a good starting point. His adjustment to the college game and the consistency of his mechanics will determine how quickly he will make an impact.”
Heine comes to Georgetown after playing with the East Chapel Hill Wildcats and was played his summer ball with a local legion team. He attended the Headfirst Showcase and the Impact Baseball Showcase. Heine was an All-Conference selection this past season and was a captain on the baseball team during his junior and senior years. He also played varsity football and basketball and captained both teams at one point during his career.
“Justin continues the line of athletic catchers we have had over the past few years,” Wilk said. “As most young catchers do, he has some work to do to become a polished BIG EAST catcher. With his work ethic and talent level, we are confident that will happen quickly.”
Leeson played for the West Chester East Vikings and helped lead his team to the state playoffs during his senior season. After his junior year, he was invited to participate in the All-Star Baseball Academy and also attended the Mid-Atlantic Top 100 and SelectFest. He was an academic All- American and was MVP of the team during his junior year. Lesson was also a First Team All-League choice his junior year, along with being named First Team All-Area as a catcher.
“Thomas is a left-handed pitcher who reminded me of Mike Gaggioli when I saw him pitch,” Wilk said. “That is a high compliment, as we know he [Gaggioli] had a heck of a career here. Thomas has exceptional control to go with a good curveball and changeup. He also can play in the outfield and might be a two-way guy as well.”
Polus played for the Andrean Fighting 59’ers of Merrillville, Indiana and helped lead his team to a 30-2 record and the Indiana State Finals. He experienced the only loss of his high-school career this season and during the summer he suited up for the Illinois Top Tier. Polus has attended numerous showcases such as the TPX Top 96, Prep Baseball Report’s Fall Showcase League, the Headfirst Baseball Honor Roll Showcase Camp and the PBR Super 60. He was also a Region Sports Golden Glove choice in 2008 and a second-team All-Conference and Times First Team All-Area in 2007.
“Danny has a world of potential and joins the list of good athletes coming into our program this year,” Wilk said. “As he begins to concentrate on baseball only and becomes involved with our strength program, he could really be something special.”
Poplawski played for The Overlake School in Redmond, Washington and helped lead them to the district playoffs this past spring. He also played his summer ball with the Mudville Golden Eagles and attended the Stanford Baseball Camp and was invited to the Headfirst Baseball Honor Roll Showcase. This past season, Poplawski was named League MVP and was a First Team All-League selection in 2008 in baseball while also being named a First Team choice and MVP runner-up in basketball.
“Charlie was on our radar for quite a while,” Wilk said. “He significantly improved his body and developed into someone we think can compete at this level.”
Over the last four years with the Chaminade Flyers, Steinman has won Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Most Improved Player awards. He led his team to the CHSAA final during his sophomore year and this past season, he yielded a 1.20 ERA, had a 17-inning hitless streak and was named All-League and a finalist for Pitcher of the Year. He also played for the Long Island Titans over the past two summers and graduated with honors.