Milwaukee Baseball Inks Seven In Early Signing Period
Nov. 25, 2009
MILWAUKEE - Gunnar Eastman of Green Bay, Wis., Eric King of Fond du Lac, Wis., Sam Koenig of Prairie du Sac, Wis., Ryan Solberg of Waukesha, Wis., Tell Taylor of Burlington, Wis., Josh Uhen of Oshkosh, Wis., and Zachary Wisowaty of Clinton, Wis., have all signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball for the Panthers next season, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball head coach Scott Doffek announced today.
The entire group comes from the state of Wisconsin and each member is currently a senior in high school.
Eastman is at Green Bay Southwest High School, leading his legion team to a runner-up showing at the 2009 state tournament. He went 5-1 with a 2.95 earned run average during the season, earning a spot on Showtime Sports' Team Wisconsin. A multi-sport athlete, he has lettered three times in baseball and hockey.
"Gunnar is a tough kid who loves to compete," UWM pitching coach Cory Bigler said. "We think that he has a plus-curveball and has a chance to get on the field pretty quickly. He has a high motor and we feel that he is a guy that should give us depth as a freshman."
King is a senior at Fond du Lac High School, earning Second Team All-Fox Valley Association honors on the mound last season. He went 3-2 with a 2.52 earned run average, recording a save and 36 strikeouts in 36.0 innings of work. He threw a no-hitter against Kaukauna and also batted .385 at the plate, slugging .635. He played on the varsity as a sophomore and was the winning pitcher in the second round of the regionals for the Cardinals.
"Eric is a great athlete with baseball instincts," Bigler said. "He is highly-competitive and we feel that he has the ability to make an immediate impact and has good touch and feel as a pitcher. The one thing that really stands out is his competitive edge and competitiveness on the mound."
Koenig was a First Team All-Badger North Conference selection as a junior at Sauk Prairie High School and also a Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association second-team all-state choice. A year ago, he batted .473, led state players in home runs with 12, had seven doubles and drove in 34 runs, leading to WBCA First Team All-District 5 accolades as well. As a sophomore, he was second team all-league, led the team in doubles and batted a team-best .350 to lead Sauk Prairie to the conference title. This past summer, he led the Wisconsin All-Stars in batting average, home runs, RBI's, triples and doubles. Koenig was also recently invited to the Fourth Annual International Power Showcase High School Home Run Derby that will be held in Florida in January.
"Sam has a tall, athletic frame and is the type of player that projects as guy with power potential to all fields," Doffek said. "He has the ability with light feet and loose actions to be flexible with his defensive position. He has great athletic makeup and there is a very high ceiling for him here at UWM and perhaps beyond."
Solberg was named First Team Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-State after a junior campaign at Waukesha West High School where he batted .461, hitting eight home runs, driving in 41 runs and recording a .775 slugging percentage. An All-Classic Eight Conference and all-district selection as a junior, he earned second team all-league and honorable mention all-district honors as a sophomore after batting .473 with 41 RBI. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also named him to its all-area baseball team.
"Ryan is another big athletic kid," Doffek said. "He comes from a good high school program where he was well-schooled. He is a first baseman with some real power potential and has great makeup as an athlete, as a student and as a person."
Taylor is a senior at Burlington High School, where he earned First Team All-Southeast Conference honors a year ago after batting .340 at the plate. A strong fielder, he also knocked in 16 runs and went 15-for-15 in stolen bases. He earned second-team all-league honors as a sophomore after batting .400 and was selected to the roster for the 2008 Brewers Classic.
"Tell is a slick-fielding middle infielder," Doffek said. "We really feel his strength is his defensive ability - range, arm strength, looseness, first step - we think he is a high-major middle infielder with a high motor for the game, a great work ethic and is driven to excel at everything he does."
Uhen was a Fox Valley Association honorable mention utility player last season at Oshkosh North. He hit .319 and pitched, recording 26 strikeouts in 27.1 innings of work. He was selected to join Team Wisconsin, where he struck out six batters in 4.0 innings and batted .333 at the plate. The four-year letterwinner and two-year team captain also led his 2009 Oshkosh American Legion team in hitting with a .466 average and was 2-0 with one save and 22 K's in 14.2 innings on the mound.
"Josh is a multi-sport athlete; a highly-competitive and athletic kid who has a high-ceiling and plus arm-action," Bigler said. "We feel that his fastball has good downhill-plane and should have a chance to be a power pitcher for us at some point. He came on late in the summer and showed a real lively arm."
Wisowaty, a senior at Clinton High School, was a Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association honorable mention all-state infielder as a junior after also receiving First Team All-Rock Valley South Conference and first team all-district accolades. He already holds Clinton school season records for batting average (.544 a year ago), runs scored (35), hits (37) walks (25) and stolen bases (21). The four-year varsity player earned second team all-conference honors as freshman and honorable mention status as a sophomore.
"When you watch Zach, the one thing that stands out is his bat speed," Doffek said. "He is going to be coming in with exceptional bat speed and that is not something we can teach. He is a good runner, who hits from the left side of the plate. We will really be able to build off that bat speed. I know he loves to work at that game and we are excited to watch him grow."
"We are very happy about the group we are bringing in," Doffek said. "With every player we have signed in this year's class, you are talking about a highly motivated person. Each one of these young men is very grounded with high academic and athletic goals. They have all been very successful both on and off field. They have their priorities in the right place and we are excited to watch them grow as part of the Panther Family."