Nov. 16, 2005
The Notre Dame baseball program has inked 10 high school seniors to national letters of intent during the 2005 early signing period, head coach Paul Mainieri announced today. The signees include four highly-regarded pitchers, among them a pair of accomplished two-way players – righthander/utility player Billy Boockford (Glen Elyn, Ill.) and lefhthander/outfielder David Mills – plus a pair of hardthrowing righthanders in Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) and Andrew Scheid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.). Other signees include catcher Ryan Smith (Waldorf, Md.), infielders Ryne Intlekofer (Moorpark, Calif.) and A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.), and an outfielder group consisting of Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.), Austin Pearce (Lake Oswego, Ore.) and Michael Wright (Lockhart, Texas). Mills and Wright are lefthanded hitters while Pearce is an accomplished batter from both sides of the plate.
(Note: bio notes, quotes from Mainieri and the players, and photos of each signee are included at the end of this release … also check back for links to articles on the signees that will be added to this release.)
Characteristic of the university’s geographically-diverse student body – and in line with a Notre Dame all-time baseball roster that includes players from 44 states – the 10 signees hail from throughout the nation, touching nine states ranging from west-coast locales Arizona, California and Oregon to east-coast states Maryland and Connecticut, with Colorado, Texas (2) and a couple Midwestern states (Illinois and Michigan) also represented among the promising 10-member class.
Mazur and Wright continue Notre Dame’s recent pipeline to top Texas talent and have played together during the past two summers as members of the talented Austin Baseball Club.
Notre Dame – which owns one of the nation’s highest victory totals (233) spanning the past five seasons – is set to lose eight players to graduation after the 2006 season, with several members of the junior class also potential high-round picks in the 2006 Major League draft. The current senior class includes four outfielders (Steve Andres, Matt Bransfield, Alex Nettey and Cody Rizzo), first baseman Craig Cooper, shortstop Greg Lopez, infielder Eddie Smith and lefthanded pitcher Tom Thornton.
“We are extremely excited to continue the program’s long-standing tradition of recruiting outstanding athletes that can succeed at the highest level of college baseball,” said Mainieri, who has guided the Irish to seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances and four consecutive BIG EAST titles.
“It remains part of our goals to bring in players that are the ‘right fit’ for the Irish baseball program and the University of Notre Dame. We’re confident that we have accomplished our goal again this year. This was evident in the fact that these players were attracting interest from many of the finest programs in the country. This class will be considered by many experts as one of the top in the nation. It was imperative that we signed players who have a chance to make an immediate contribution and feel we accomplished this goal.
“Our focus was not only to bring in players to fill individual vacancies, but to land outstanding athletes who know how to win and compete at the highest level. We fulfilled our needs by signing two power pitchers, an outstanding catcher, two infielders, three primary outfielders and a pair of talented two-way players. It’s a great group and we are excited to have them join the program.”
David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) and fellow signee Billy Boockford are likely to be two-way players during their Notre Dame careers.
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Ashdown is a clutch-hitting centerfielder who earned all-region honors as a junior, after batting .435 and setting Catalina Foothills High School records with a .667 on-base percentage and 59 runs scored.
Boockford is a versatile 6-3, 185-pound player who has starred as a baseball outfielder/pitcher, a football quarterback and a basketball guard at Glenbard West High School, with his junior season including a .357 batting average, four home runs and four triples. He has been named to the Puma Preseason All-America Team for the 2006 season – in recognition of his tremendous poise on the mound, a hard, moving fastball, great command of the strike zone and all-around athleticism that reminds the Irish coaches of current two-sport standout Jeff Samardzija.
|Notre Dame Baseball Signees – Fall 2005|
|Brayden Ashdown||OF||6-1/165||R||Tucson, AZ||Catalina Foothills HS|
|Billy Boockford||RHP/UTIL||6-3/185||R||Glen Ellyn, IL||Glenbard West HS|
|Ryne Intlekofer||IF||5-10/160||R||Moorpark, CA||Moorpark HS|
|Steven Mazur||RHP||6-0/180||R||Round Rock, TX||Stony Point HS|
|David Mills||OF/LHP||5-10/160||L||Battle Creek, MI||Lakeview HS|
|Austin Pearce||OF||6-2/210||S||Lake Oswego, OR||Jesuit HS|
|A.J. Pollock||IF||6-1/180||R||Hebron, CT||RHAM HS|
|Andrew Scheid||RHP||6-7/200||R||Highlands Ranch, CO||Regis Jesuit HS|
|Ryan Smith||C||6-2/205||R||Waldorf, MD||Westlake HS|
|Michael Wright||OF||5-7/160||L||Lockhart, TX||Lockhart HS|
Intlekofer is a speedy 5-10, 160-pound standout in baseball and football at Moorpark High School. A two-year member of the St. Louis Cardinals Elite Scout Team, he is noted for his toughness, a quick bat and classic baseball instincts to go along with his tremendous speed.
Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) and current Austin Basebal Club teammate Michael Wright both have signed to join the Notre Dame baseball program.
Mazur is regarded as one of the nation’s top pitchers, as a fearless strike-thrower whose fastball has topped out in the low-90s. The 6-0, 180-pound righthander has honed his skills against tough Texas talent and earned all-district honors as a junior at Stony Point High School, after posting a 1.83 ERA, 77 strikeouts, just 19 walks and 51 hits allowed in 53.2 innings.
The two-way talent Mills (5-10/160) is known on the mound as a strike-throwing lefthander with a tough breaking ball while also providing speed in the outfield, a quick, lefthanded stroke at the plate and undying intensity. His arm and bat helped win the 2004 World Series for his Steele’s travel team and he already owns records at Lakeview High School for career wins (24) and season ERA (0.74, in ’05), with his all-state junior season including a .369 batting avg., a team-high four home runs, a 0.74 ERA, 8-1 record, 74 Ks and just 11 walks.
The switch-hitting Pearce boasts a physical 6-2, 210-pound frame and is an accomplished two-sport star as a baseball outfielder and football quarterback. A proven leader who can drive the ball from both sides of the plate, he ranked sixth in the state of Oregon after batting .470 during his junior season with 28 RBI in 24 games played.
Switch-hitting outfielder Austin Pearce (Lake Oswego, Ore.) boasts a physical 6-foot-2, 210-pound presence to the plate.
The 6-1, 180-pound Pollock has solid all-around tools that include tremendous bat speed, a strong arm and the reputation for being a clutch player. A potential multiple-position player on the college level, he has been named to the Puma Preseason All-America Team for the second consecutive year and was one of 60 players invited to the 2005 Team One National Showcase. His all-state season as a junior at RHAM High School included a .386 batting average and 15 RBI.
Scheid is among the nation’s most sought-after players, with his powerful 6-7, 200-pound frame yielding a high arm-slot and tough downward plane in his delivery. Also known for his poise on the mound and a tough breaking ball, the Regis Jesuit High School ace turned in an all-conference 2005 season that included a 3.34 ERA and nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He recently received the Branch Rickey High School Humanitarian Award from the Denver Rotary Club.
Smith is considered one of the country’s most promising catchers, after starting at Westlake High School in each of his first three seasons. The 6-2, 205-pounder brings an outgoing leadership style to the field and is known as a hard hitter with a strong arm in the field. His all-conference junior season included a .458 batting average and team-record .608 on-base percentages, in addition to throwing out 9-of-13 attempted basestealers.
Wright has drawn comparisons to Pete Rose due to his never-ending hustle, head-first slides and infectious enthusiasm. He packs plenty of baseball talent into his 5-7, 160-pound frame, as a dangerous lefthanded leadoff batter who can execute the short game and drive the gaps with equal effectiveness. Wright ranked among the top batters in central Texas as a junior outfielder at Lockhart High School, finishing as runner-up for district MVP while batting .508 with a team-high 14 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He combined with Mazur to help the Austin Baseball Club reach the semifinals of the World Wood Bat Association national tournament.
Outfielder Michael Wright (Lockhart, Texas) brings a unique brand of hustle and infectious enthusiasm that should be a big hit with Irish baseball fans.
“Several of these signees could be draft picks next June but we feel that they are committed to attending Notre Dame, getting their education and having the college experience – prior to entering professional baseball,” added Mainieri, who has seen 43 of the Irish players in his 10-year tenure be drafted or signed as free agents while also maintaining a 100-percent graduation rate (64 of 64) among players who have completed their eligibility (plus several early-draftees who have returned to complete their credits).
“For us to receive early commitments from these players is a credit to our assistant coaches and current players. Our pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, Terry Rooney, did a yeoman’s job in every aspect of the recruiting effort. His tireless dedication was truly the impetus for us to find, evaluate, and educate this group of players as to the value of what our situation had to offer. I thought Cliff Godwin, after joining our staff late in the summer, supplemented Terry’s efforts in a great way. I was so happy to witness how quickly he was able to adapt to a new situation and contribute so effectively to the process.”
Mazur and Wright have signed on to join a Notre Dame baseball program that includes 14 all-time monogram winners from the lonestar state and eight players from Texas during the Mainieri era – among them current junior pitcher Jeff Manship (San Antonio), sophomore utility player Tony Langford (Fort Worth), freshman lefthander Sam Elam (Mesquite) and freshman shortstop/RHP Jeremy Barnes (Garland).
Boockford is set to join an Irish program that includes 145 previous letterwinners from the state of Illinois, with the 31 Mainieri-era players from that state including Nettey (Dolton), current freshman pitcher Brett Graffy (Joliet) and 1964 All-America shortstop Rich Gonski (Chicago). Michigan also has produced a large number of ND baseball monogram winners (40), with the four who have played for Mainieri including current junior RHP Dan Kapala (Royal Oak) and All-America outfielder Ryan Topham (Portage) – while another All-America outfielder (Eric Danapilis/St. Joseph) also hailed from the state to the north.
Infielder and Moorpark native Ryne Intlekofer could add to Notre Dame’s tradition of featuring top players from the state of California.
California likewise has produced its share of ND baseball letterwinners (32; among them All-America catcher and Compton native Walt Osgood), with the eight Mainieri-era players from that state including three current outfielders: Andres (Napa), Rizzo (Temecula) and junior Danny Dressman (San Jose). Connecticut has produced 16 players on the program’s list of all-time monogram recipients while the 11 from Maryland have featured three in the Mainieri era, most notably first baseman Jeff Felker (Ellicott City).
Colorado has produced just four all-time Notre Dame baseball letterwinners but three have been top players in the Mainieri era: infielder J.J. Brock (Colorado Springs), righthanded ace and current Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge (Englewood) and Bransfield (Englewood). Eight previous ND baseball monogram winners have hailed from Oregon and two from Arizona, including recent lefthanded reliever Mike Naumann (Tucson).
Brayden Ashdown is a clutch-hitting centefielder from Tucson, Ariz.
Ashdown Bio. Notes – Lettered in his first three seasons with the varsity baseball team at Catalina Foothills HS, starting in center field as a sophomore and junior while helping team reach state-title game in both seasons (’04 and ’05) … hit .455 as 3-hole hitter for his 2005 summer-league team … named 1st team all-region and 1st team all-Southern Arizona as a junior, after batting .435 and setting Falcons team records with a .667 on-base pct. and 59 runs scored (also named ’05 team MVP) … collected 2nd team all-conference honors as a sophomore (.341 batting, .520 on-base) … shifted to leadoff position during summer season after his sophomore year, earning MVP honors for that summer (team-best .482 batting and 20 stolen bases) … invited to play with the American Legion team at the Tournament of Stars in Joplin, Mo. … earned two varsity letters in football, as a wide receiver, defensive back and place kicker … carries a 4.0 GPA … member of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Scholar candidate … has been awarded the Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence five times (three in baseball, two in football) … his grandfather Bill Farthing played football, basketball and baseball at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo. … his grandfather Laurence Ashdown and father Boyd Ashdown both played football at Southern Utah … born April 14, 1988.
Brayden Ashdown hit .435 as a junior while setting the Catalina Foothills record with his .667 season on-base percentage.
Mainieri on Ashdown – “Brayden is the type of player who can bring many positive qualities to the outfield. He has attended our fall camp the past two years and our staff also saw him play at a USA Baseball event. Brayden has displayed the ability to hit in the clutch during big situations, with a short, compact swing that can drive the ball all over the field. He has a long, lean frame and we feel he will develop into a great college hitter. His athleticism will allow him to play any of the outfield positions.”
Ashdown on His Decision – “I chose Notre Dame because of its strong tradition and the combination of athletics and academics that is unsurpassed.”
Boockford Bio. Notes – Named to 2006 Puma Preseason All-America Team … three-sport athlete at Glenbard West HS, playing each sport on varsity level since his sophomore year … earned all-conference honors in baseball as a junior, playing in the highly-regarded West Suburban Conference … hit .357 in that ’05 season (4 HR, 4 3B) while pitching primarily out of the bullpen due to injury … beat eventual state champ Lockport in ’05, entering game as early reliever and going on to close out the win … hit .357 as a sophomore (5 HR) while going 3-1 on the mound … first joined varsity baseball team as a freshman during state tournament play … has served as captain for the baseball, football and basketball teams … named No. 1 prospect at Midwest Team One Showcase … pitched no-hitter in summer playoffs … named to Glen Ellyn News all-area football team while playing as a quarterback and safety … also a top guard on the GWHS basketball team … born June 16, 1987 … full name is William D. Boockford.
Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) is a three-sport standout at Glenbard West High School and could fill a number of roles with the irish baseball team.
Mainieri on Boockford – “Billy was a key to this year’s recruiting class and is a perfect fit as a two-way player. Billy is one of the best athletes in the country and generally is regarded as the top player in the Midwest. We saw Billy play this past summer and he reminded us on the mound of Jeff Samardzija. He exuded poise and confidence while displaying a tremendous amount of athletic ability. His athleticism is demonstrated in his hard, moving fastball, command of the strike-zone and competitive demeanor on the mound. This athleticism will also enable Billy the chance to play several positions. He is a great fit for Notre Dame and will make a huge contribution to the baseball program.”
Boockford on His Decision – “Notre Dame could not have been a better fit. Everything I could ever ask for in a college, I find in Notre Dame: good education, a winning tradition, and the finest players and coaches. I cannot wait to become a part of the winning tradition at Notre Dame.”
Intlekofer Bio. Notes – Earned 2nd team all-league honors as a junior centerfielder at Moorpark HS, also serving as team captain for team that advanced to 2nd round of state playoffs … hit .309 in league play during that ’05 season while ranking 2nd on team with 21 overall RBI (plus 11 stolen bases) …named 1st team all-league as a sophomore second baseman and team captain (.329, 18 RBI), earning “most inspirational player” award for team that won league title and advanced to state playoffs … played on the St. Louis Cardinal Elite Scout team coached by regional scout Chuck Fick, during the falls of ’03-’05 … named to the Valley Invitational Baseball League all-star team as a sophomore and junior … played for Moorpark Muskies in the summers of ’02-’05 … posted top-10 times in the 60-yard dash and the home-to-first at the 2005 Team One West Showcase … his junior-year football honors included 1st team all-league, 2nd team all-county, all-county academic and most valuable defensive back in the playoffs … named to honor role and principal’s list during each of his first three years at MHS … his grandfather John Intlekofer attended Notre Dame and played on the 1930 freshman baseball team, later playing with the Chicago White Sox and playing/managing in the minor leagues for 20 years … his uncle Richard Intlekofer attended ND and graduated with a degree in English … his grandfather Mike Woods graduated from Notre Dame in ’62, with a degree in history … his cousins Chris and Brian Intlekofer played baseball at Loyola Marymount in the late-80s and early-90s (their father Jack Intlekofer played baseball at Cal State Northridge and later with the California Angels in the mid-60s) … his cousin Jeff Wharton played basketball at LMU in the early-70s … born Jan. 27, 1988 … full name is Ryne M. Intlekofer.
Infielder Ryne Intlekofer hails from a baseball family and is a top baseball/football performer at Moorpark High School.
Mainieri on Intlekofer – “Ryne attended our summer camp and comes from the talent-laden area of southern California. He caught our eye at camp due to his hustle and versatility on the diamond. He also is a football player and that toughness is demonstrated on the baseball field. He has tremendous speed and that hard-to-find skill will allow Ryne the opportunity to possibly play several positions. He does all the little things that make a successful player. He has a quick bat and tremendous baseball instincts – those tools, along with his speed, make Ryne a valuable component to this class.”
Intelkofer on His Decision – “I have wanted to go to Notre Dame for as long as I can remember. It has been a dream of mine that I never believed would come true. I never in my wildest dreams would imagine that I would have the opportunity to play for the Fighting Irish and be apart of such rich tradition. I love everything about the Fighting Irish from the church and the golden dome to the grotto and the fight song. It gives me goosebumps when I hear the fight song and it truly is a part of me. I am so excited to be apart of the Notre Dame community and continue my family legacy at the University of Notre Dame. Let’s Go Irish!”
Steven Mazur is a fearless strike-thrower whose fastball has topped out in the low-90s.
Mazur Bio. Notes – Earned all-district honors as a junior at Stony Point High School, after posting a 1.83 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 53.2 innings (with 19 walks and 51 hits allowed) … his 9-inning averages in ’05 included 12.9 Ks and 3.2 walks, with a 4.1 K-to-walk ratio … his top games as a junior included impressive start vs. nation’s No. 2-ranked team and Texas 5A defending state champ Corpus Christi Moody, allowing an unearned run in 1st inning of hard-luck 1-0 loss (7 Ks, 1 BB, 4 H) … also tossed a 2005 no-hitter vs. Leander HS (9 Ks) … earned all-district honors and set SPHS records in 2004 for strikeouts (81), complete games (6) and K-to-walk ratio (4.76), with his other stats during that sophomore season including a 1.78 ERA, 17 walks, 5 wins and 41 hits allowed in 55 IP (with 9-inning averages of 13.3 Ks, 2.8 BB and 6.7 hits) … his first varsity game as a sophomore came at the Rock Hard Ball Classic (held at Dell Diamond), earning all-tournament honors after 2-hit, 14-K shutout vs. Austin Anderson HS … played the past two summers with the Austin Baseball Club, alongside fellow ND signee Michael Wright … his ’05 summer stats included a 0.72 ERA, 7-1 record, 76 Ks and just 9 walks in 58.1 IP (30 H, 8.4 K/BB; 9-inn. averages of 11.7 Ks, 1.4 BB and 4.6 H) … also his .354 in the summer of ’05, with 21 RBI, 18 runs, .585 on-base and nearly three times as many walks (15) as strikeouts (6) … his ’04 summer stats: 1.86 ERA, 6-2, 71 Ks, 12 BB, 34 H in 49 IP (5.9 K/BB, 9-inn. avg. of 13.0 Ks, 2.2 BB, 6.2 H); .339 batting avg., .475 on-base, 14 RBI (7 BB, 8 Ks as hitter) … named to Team Texas for the 2005 Junior Sunbelt Classic (McAlester, Okla.), where he tossed a 2-hit shutout vs. Team Canada (8 Ks) … named to Top Prospect Team (as a pitcher) at the 2005 World Wood Bat Association National Championship (East Cobb, Ga.), while playing with ABC … pitched two shutouts at that ’05 WWBA event, including a 2-hitter with 11 Ks in 1-0 semifinal win over New Jersey Twins … also selected for Team Texas squad that played at the 2004 Sophomore Sunbelt Classic … won both of his outings at the 2004 World Wood Bat 17U National Championship, totaling 12 Ks in 12 innings while also batting .429 with 7 RBI … his top game at that tournament was a 4-hit shutout vs. the Ohio FAB Panthers (6 Ks, 0 BB, just 24 BF in 7 IP) … named to A-B Honor Roll in ’04 and ’05 and an academic all-district pick in ’05 … born Jan. 29, 1988.
Mazur has honed his skills while playing in talent-rich central Texas, with Stony Point High School and the Austin Baseball Club.
Mainieri on Mazur – “Steven is a special pitcher with a great deal of promise. We’re extremely excited that he is a major part of this class. He is regarded as one of the top pitchers in the country, with an upper-80s to low-90s fastball and tremendous off-speed pitches. He’s a strike-thrower who is a fearless ‘bulldog’ on the mound. These elements will allow Steven to make an immediate impact on our staff. Being from Texas, he has pitched against many of the best teams in the country and this experience will enhance his opportunity to become a leader for the Notre Dame staff.”
Mazur on His Decision – “I chose to play for Notre Dame because of the great coaching staff and the feeling that the baseball team is more like a family. The great interest by the coaches and faculty to see that you succeed on the field and in the classroom was very important in my decision. I know that I will receive an education that is second-to-none and prepare me for the future. I hope to play at the next level and I feel that I can accomplish all of my goals at Notre Dame and graduate a better person.”
David Mills is a proven two-way threat who can make plays all over the field.
Mills Bio. Notes – Will enter senior season at Lakeview High School already owning the school record for career wins (24) while his 0.74 season ERA in ’05 also is a LHS record and ranks 18th-best in Michigan prep history … set to return as team captain in ’06 season … his many honors as a junior included all-state and academic all-district (3.96 GPA), after leading the 2005 team in home runs (4), slugging pct. (.649), stolen bases, total bases and extra-base hits … his other offensive stats as the ’05 team MVP included a .369 batting avg., 41 hits and 25 RBI while he posted an 0.74 ERA and 8-1 record on the mound – with 74 strikeouts and just 11 walks (for a 6.7 K-to-walk ratio) … hit four home runs in one day during ’05 travel season (three in consecutive ABs, vs. two pitchers) … collected all-conference, all-city and all-district honors as a sophomore (honors he repeated in ’05) after batting .392 during that 2004 season (3 HR, .575 slug., 49 H, 29 RBI) and compiling a 1.75 ERA (8-2, 49 Ks, 15 BB, 3.3 K/BB) … opened prep career by batting .472 (39 RBI, 44 H, .678 slug, .709 on-base-pct.) with a 1.98 ERA and 8-0 record … slated to return to Kalamazoo Maroons travel team in summer of ’06 … threw no-hitter in summer of ’04 with Steele’s travel team that won world-series title, posting a 0.99 summer ERA and 8-1 record while batting .388 with 3 HR and .612 slugging … his heroics at the ’04 USSSA World Series (16U) included earning offensive MVP honors (.470, 15-for-32, 11 R, 5 RBI, HR, 3B, 3 2B, 4 SB, 9 GP), hitting a home run that held up as the game-winning hit and being the winning pitcher in the title game … also was the winning pitcher in Southwest Michigan District Championship game … played in 2003 summer team that claimed bronze medals at the USSSA World Series and the Triple Crown Regional World Series … hit .410 with 36 RBI as member of Mid-Michigan Tigers travel team … received “fastest man” award at the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres Regional Tryouts and at the Michigan High School Baseball Showcase (top times of 6.4 seconds at each event) … member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, church activities … first-chair trumpet player in school band … also plays piano and composes music … plans to pursue a pre-professional major and post-playing career in sports optometry … his cousin Doug Bobo played football at Michigan State and was drafted by the Detroit Lions … childhood teammate of current ND baseball infielder and football QB Evan Sharpley … his brother Aaron is a television sports anchor for CBS … born Dec. 16, 1987 … full name is David Christopher Mills.
Mills helped his Steele’s travel team win the 2004 USSA World Series, with a decisive home run highlighting his offensive MVP showing at that event.
Mainieri on Mills – “David reminds me of several past Notre Dame players who are baseball ‘grinders.’ He caught the coaching staff’s attention at our fall baseball and is going to be one of the fastest players in our program. He has a quick stroke from the left side of the plate and has demonstrated the ability to use the entire field. David plays at a high intensity all of the time and really can run them down in the outfield. As a lefthanded pitcher, he is a strike-thrower with an above- average breaking ball. We’re truly excited to have one of the top players in the Midwest joining the Fighting Irish.”
Mills on His Decision – “I always want to find new challenges and meet them head-on. At Notre Dame, I will be gaining experience that can take me to the next level, because the caliber of coaching, athletics and academics is second- to-none. I know Notre Dame will help me develop myself as a whole person. “
Pearce Bio. Notes – Ranked 6th in the state of Oregon with a .470 batting average as a junior at Jesuit High School, also ranking 3rd in the state with a .759 slugging pct. and in the top-10 with a .537 on-base pct. (1.296 OPS) … totaled 28 RBI in 24 games during that 2005 season while collecting honorable mention all-state, 1st team all-league and team MVP honors … named captain of 2005 summer team, batting .426 with .723 slugging and .543 on-base (1.266 OPS) … hit .333 in 21 regular-season varsity games as a sophomore and .266 as a freshman on the JV team … batted .356 during summer of ’03, as member of JHS varsity team … born Dec. 16, 1987 … full name is Austin J. Pearce.
Austin Pearce ranked sixth in the state of Oregon with a .470 batting average during his junior season.
Mainieri on Pearce – “Austin is a great addition to this class. He is a very physical and strong player that we feel has the potential to become an offensive threat. As a high school quarterback, his leadership qualities are evident in his approach to the game. At our fall camp he demonstrated the ability to square the ball from both sides of the plate and drive the ball all over the field. He’s a great high school athlete and – once he focuses solely on baseball – Austin will continue to enhance his promising talents.”
Pearce on His Decision – “Notre Dame has everything that I look for in a university. The academic curriculum is one of the best accompanied by all-around competitive Division I athletic programs. The close-knit community between the student body and the baseball team made Notre Dame the easy decision for me.”
Pollock Bio. Notes – Named to Puma Preseason All-America Team for the 2005 and ’06 season … qualified for Team One National Showcase at the University of Las Vegas in October ’05, placing him among the nation’s top-80 2006 graduating players … an all-state performer as a junior at RHAM High School, batting .386 in 2005 with 15 RBI and 22 runs scored (HR, 2 3B, 6 2B, 10 BB, 4 Ks, 6 SB in 20 GP) … also repeated as all-conference pick in ’05 … set to serve as team captain in ’06 … has compiled a .432 combined batting avg. during the past three years of high school and American Legion play (245-for-567, 106 RBI, 147 R, 5 HR, 13 3B, 50 2B, 65 BB, 20 Ks, 83 SB in 188 GP) … those combined stats included a 3.3 walk-to-K ratio while helping those six teams win 71% of their games (135-52) … starting shortstop on RHAM HS team that won the 2004 state title, batting .489 with 18 runs scored for 21-3 team (23-for-46, 3 3B, 4 2B, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 2 Ks, 16 GP) … named RHAM HS defensive player of the year in ’03, ’04 and ’05 … became first freshman ever to start at shortstop for RHAM HS, going on to bat .317 with 12 RBI (19-for-60, 2B, 9 R, 3 BB, K, 3 SB, 19 GP) … a 2005 American Legion all-star and the Zone 7 Sportsmanship Award winner, after batting .464 with 31 RBI in 43 wood-bat games (4 HR, 4 3B, 18 2B, 28 R, 20 BB, 8 Ks, 32 SB, 33-10 team record) … also a 2004 American Legion all-star (.472, 17 RBI, 3 3B, 12 2B, 44 R, 18 BB, 3 Ks, 23 SB, 44 GP, 34-10 record) … youngest player selected for 2003 American Legion “Futures” All Star Team, after batting .418 with 23 RBI in 46 games (3B, 9 2B, 26 R, 8 BB, 2 Ks, 17 SB, 30-16 record) … named to top-10 list at Team One East Showcase that featured 90 college-level players (Aug. ’05) … also has played varsity basketball since his freshman year and played varsity soccer as a freshman … entered senior year with a 3.75 cumulative GPA … member of the National Honor Society … three-year recipient of academic achievement awards at RHAM HS … has volunteered at past three Winter Special Olympics and the 2004 Summer Special Olympics … born Dec. 5, 1987 … full name is Allen L. Pollack.
Infielder A.J. Pollock was one of 60 players invited to the 2005 Team One National Showcase.
Mainieri on Pollock – “We’re truly excited about A.J. joining the program. He has tremendous baseball tools with a strong arm and tremendous bat speed. We think A.J. is going to be a ‘gamer’ for the Fighting Irish. He is the type of player who demonstrated he can play in the clutch. He has a linedrive swing from the right side and shows the chance to be an offensive threat. With his arm and great footspeed, A.J. has a chance to play several positions. He joins a group of incoming freshmen who play the game hard and can possibly star at multiple positions.”
Pollock on His Decision – “Notre Dame was always my number-one choice for its quality education and baseball program. Seeing the animated student body and baseball team first-hand confirmed my feelings that Notre Dame is the perfect environment for me. I am excited to become a part of such rich tradition.”
Scheid Bio. Notes – Starting pitcher at Regis Jesuit HS as a sophomore and junior … earned 2nd team all-conference honors as a junior, after posting 3.34 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 56.2 innings (he also hit .400) … averaged 11.6 Ks per 9 IP during that ’05 season … totaled 24 Ks in 18 innings as a sophomore … his 2005 summer stats included a 2.35 ERA, 107 Ks and just 17 walks in 64.0 innings, also batting .423 … averaged 15.1 Ks per 9 IP during that ’05 summer season to go along with an impressive 6.3 K-to-walk ratio … has played summer ball with the Colorado Khaos and Regis Legion A … also lettered two years in soccer and two in basketball at Regis … earned academic all-state honors in baseball and basketball … ranked by Baseball America as the No. 30 prospect at the annual Area Code Games … awarded the Branch Rickey High School Humanitarian Award, as presented by the Rotary Club of Denver … member of the National Honor Society Member … his aunt Mary Lou (Scheid) Puszha is a 1982 Notre Dame graduate … born Jan. 12, 1988.
The 6-foot-7, 200-pound Andrew Scheid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) has shown the ability to dominate opposing hitters during his career at Regis Jesuit.
Mainieri on Scheid – “Andrew was one of the most sought-after pitchers in the country and is an outstanding prospect with the physical ability to become a dominant power pitcher in college. At 6-foot-7, he throws from a high arm-slot with a great downward plane and is a true power pitcher. He has a tough breaking ball, with a tremendous amount of poise on the mound. With the combination of his size and arm-speed, he reminds us of many of the former great power pitchers we have had here at Notre Dame. In fact, he comes from the same area (Denver) as former ND great and current major-league closer Brad Lidge. Andrew has the ability to become an impact pitcher at Notre Dame and I look forward to seeing his development in the coming years.”
Scheid on His Decision – “I chose Notre Dame because it has always been my dream school, due to its excellence in both academics and athletics. I am excited about reaching one of my major goals and know that this decision is going to allow me to reach the rest of my goals.”
Smith Bio. Notes – Started 62 of 63 games during his first three season with the varsity baseball team at Westlake HS … his junior-year honors included Washington Post honorable mention All-Met, 1st team all-conference, 1st team all-county and team MVP, after batting .458 with 2 HRs, 15 RBI and team-record .608 on-base pct. (also threw out 9-of-13 attempted basestealers) … hit .400 as member of Team Maryland playing in 2005 Sunbelt Classic (Norman, Okla.), also playing with the Maryland Monarchs Summer Showcase Team and the Maryland Oriolanders Fall Showcase Team … hit .373 as a sophomore (3 HR, 18 RBI) while earning 1st team all-county, 2nd team all-conference and team offensive MVP … batted .342 (2 HR, 44 RBI) in summer of ’05 as member of Chaney American Legion team … named WHS rookie of the year while collecting 2003 honorable mention all-county honors … his father Kevin Smith played baseball at Towson State in the early-1980s … his cousin Chris Maples was a third baseman at North Carolina and was the 6th-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2002 (he currently plays for the double-A Erie Seawolves) … born April 13, 1988 … full name is Robert Ryan Smith.
Ryan Smith (Waldorf, Md.) is considered one of the nation’s most promising prep catchers, after starting his first three seasons at Westlake High School.
Mainieri on Smith – “We’re extremely excited that Ryan will be suiting up for the Fighting Irish next year. He was a key addition to this class, as one of the most promising catchers in the nation. He is a strong, physical player, with an above- average arm. He has shown the ability to consistently hit the ball hard and we feel he will develop into an offensive threat. Ryan’s outgoing personality is going to allow him to be a leader for our program. As a catcher, you must not only be a great player but have the ability to communicate on the field and we have found the right young man to lead us in that direction.”
Smith on His Decision – “I chose Notre Dame because its reputation for excellence will challenge me to become the best student-athlete and person that I am capable of being. The sense of pride and commitment that the students, faculty, and alumni have for Notre Dame is unlike any other.”
Michael Wright is a versatile threat at the plate who creates havoc for the opposition once he reaches base.
Wright Bio. Notes – Ranked among the top batters in Central Texas as a junior at Lockhart HS, batting .508 (33-for-65) with a .737 slugging pct., .597 on-base pct. (1.334 OPS), a team-high 14 RBI, 3 HR, 16 SB, 20 runs and 5 outfield assists (he served as the leadoff batter in 21 games) … runner-up for 2005 district MVP honors, also receiving all-district and district all-academic honors in ’04 and ’05 … played summer and fall ball the past three years with the Austin Baseball Club … helped ABC reach semifinal of World Wood Bat Association national 17U tournament held in Georgia (July ’05), serving as leadoff hitter and centerfielder in every inning at that elite event while leading team with a .555 batting avg. … selected to the Top Prospect List from the Perfect Game South Top Prospect Showcase, held at Baylor University in July ’05 … named by Perfect Game as the “captain of its all-time hustle team” … has drawn comparisons to Pete Rose due to his unending hustle, head-first slides and all-around aggressiveness on the bases … also has been touted for his run-and-slap hitting style, plate discipline and great hand-eye coordination … has never missed a day of school due to illness or injury in 12-plus years … four-year high school honor student with a 4.0 GPA … member of the National Honor Society and currently ranked 4th in his high school class … born Oct. 19, 1987.
Mainieri on Wright – “Michael is a perfect fit for the Notre Dame baseball program. He’s the type of player who immediately catches your eye when you see him play. He plays the game full-speed and at 100% all of the time. His ability as a lefthanded hitter with outstanding speed will allow him to get on base and create havoc for the opposing team. He knows how to play the short game but also can drive the ball to all fields. He has a tremendous feel for the game, which allows him to run the ball down in the outfield. His enthusiasm is infectious and he will be a sparkplug of our team. We’re looking forward to seeing Michael’s passion for the game while representing Notre Dame.”
Wright is one of several outfield talents who have signed on to fill a big void that will be caused with the graduation of Notre Dame’s 2006 senior class.
Wright on His Decision – “Making my decision about coming to Notre Dame turned out to be an easy one. During the official visit, both my parents and I came to realize that it was the ideal school for me. No other school I was considering would allow me the same opportunity to succeed academically, athletically and spiritually. I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with my future teammates and the sense of family that exists at Notre Dame. I look forward to working with coach Mainieri, Rooney and Godwin and the chance to return Notre Dame to the College World Series and win!”