Pitcher Dustin Ispas headlines Notre Dame's 2008 signee class that includes three other talented lefthanded pitchers.

Notre Dame Baseball Completes Strong Eight-Player Fall Signee Class

Dec. 2, 2007

The Notre Dame baseball program, on the heels of signing a current freshman group that was rated the nation’s fourth-best recruiting class, recently completed the signing of eight more highly-regarded high school seniors to national letters of intent, during the 2007 early signing period. The class, which will join the Irish starting in the fall of 2008, features four lefthanded pitchers – Dustin Ispas (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), two-way standout Steve Sabatino (Lockport, Ill.), Ryan Richter (South Bend, Ind.) and Joe Spano (Verona, N.J.) – plus righthander Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.), the switch-hitting outfield duo of Alex Robinson (Dallas, Texas) and Leighton Cooper (Fort Washington, Md.), and infielder Tommy Chase (Cohasset, Mass.). Sabatino, who will be a position-player candidate at first base and in the outfield, bats from the left side and will help give his class quality hitting ability from both sides of the plate.


Alex Robinson is one of two promising switch-hitting outfielders who have signed on to join the Irish.



“We are extremely excited about this recruiting class, as it will help balance our roster and is a great complement to the current freshmen,” says second-year Notre Dame head coach Dave Schrage. “Our recruiting coordinator Scott Lawler and our other coaches have done another outstanding job in identifying players who are top talents, in addition to being great people and strong students. I would like to thank everyone in the recruiting process from our administration, to admissions and academic advising for the great job they do on our campus visits.

“Pitching and speed was the main focus and we also signed four lefthanded pitchers to go with the five righthanders we signed last year. That combination will provide a high caliber of pitching that will put our program in a very strong position for years to come. We also feel that we have added a potential closer to replace Kyle Weiland in the future.

“By landing two quick outfielders, this balances our roster so we are now a team of power and speed, as last year’s focus was on pitching, defense and power. With the impending graduation of our shortstop Brett Lilley, it also was important that we add another infielder for the depth of our ballclub.

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 eight signees hail from throughout the nation, touching eight states ranging from the West Coast (California) to the Southwest (Texas), the Midwest (Illinois and Indiana), the mid-Atlantic (Maryland and Virginia) and the Northeast (Massachusetts and New Jersey).

Notre Dame – which owns one of the nation’s highest victory totals (306) spanning the past seven years (44 per season) – currently features a roster with four scholarship players who would exhaust their eligibility at the end of the 2008 season, while several members of the junior class also are potential high-round picks in the 2008 Major League draft. The current senior class includes fifth-year catcher Sean Gaston, plus shortstop Brett Lilley, leftfielder Ross Brezovsky and lefthander Wade Korpi. Several pitchers in the junior class are potential 2008 draft picks, among them lefthander Sam Elam and RHPs Kyle Weiland, David Phelps and Brett Graffy.

Notre Dame Baseball Signees – Fall 2007
Player Pos. Ht./Wt. B/T Hometown High School

Tommy Chase IF5-10/165R/R Cohasset, MA Boston College HS Leighton Cooper OF6-0/170B/R Fort Washington, MD Flint HS Will Hudgins RHP6-3/180R/R Richmond, VA Douglas Freeman HS Dustin Ispas LHP (SS)6-1/190L/L Rancho Cucamonga, CA Los Osos HS Ryan Richter LHP6-3/185L/L South Bend, IN St. Joseph’s HS Alex Robinson OF6-0/170B/R Dallas, TX First Baptist Academy Steve Sabatino LHP/1B/OF6-2/200L/L Lockport, IL Lockport Township HS Joe Spano LHP5-11/165L/LVerona, NJSeton Hall Prep

FAR AND WIDE – Sabatino is set to join an ND baseball program that has featured 145 previous monogram winners from the state of Illinois, including current junior RHP Brett Graffy (Joliet) and sophomore outfielder Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn), plus 2006 senior outfielder Alex Nettey (Dolton) … others of note from Illinois include 1964 All-America shortstop Rich Gonski (Chicago) while the recent years have seen many top players from the state, among them Mike Amrhein, Randall Brooks, Tim and Ryan Kalita, Bob Lisanti, Peter Ogilvie, Alec Porzel and Darin Schmalz (two current freshmen are from the Chicago area, catcher Cameron McConnell and infielder Mick Doyle) … Richter could take his place among the program’s 78 all-time monogram winners from Indiana, a group that has included the likes of All-America pitcher Aaron Heilman (Logansport) and two-sport star Jeff Samardzija (Valparaiso) … note that Richter is a rare local letter-of-intent signee for the ND baseball program (see Local Heroes note below) … Spano will join an ND program that has featured 47 previous letterwinners from New Jersey, including All-America RHP Nick Palihnich (West Orange) in the late 1950s and recent players such as outfielder Rowan Richards (Bloomfield) and All-America closer Ryan Doherty (Toms River), while two current freshmen (RHP Evan Danieli and IF Greg Sherry) also are N.J. natives … Chase would become the 45th ND baseball monogram winner from Massachusetts, with others from that group including football Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Angelo Bertelli (a C/1B on the 1943 ND baseball team), some of the teams top players in the 1890s as the program got its start (namely SS Charles Gillon and C Michael Powers), SS John Shea (co-writer of the Notre Dame Victory March), pitcher Richard Bunker, 2B George Cutshaw, 2B Ed Hurley (a starter on the 1957 CWS team), OF Shaun Fitzmaurice (a member of Team USA), 1980s OF Mike Trudeau and recent LHP Tom Thornton … California likewise has produced its share of ND baseball letterwinners (33), among them 1964 All-America catcher and Compton native Walt Osgood and several recent players, including outfielders Steve Andres (Napa), Cody Rizzo (Temecula) and Danny Dressman (San Jose), plus current sophomore infielder Ryne Intlekofer (Moorpark), with the 2008 team also including freshman C/1B Mike Scioscia (Westlake Village) … Robinson has signed on to join a Notre Dame baseball program that includes 15 all-time monogram winners from the lonestar state and 10 players from Texas since the mid-1990s – among them recent pitcher Jeff Manship (San Antonio), current senior RHP Tony Langford (Fort Worth), junior LHP Sam Elam (Mesquite), junior 2B Jeremy Barnes (Garland) and sophomore RHP Steven Mazur (Round Rock) … Cooper could become the 12th ND baseball monogram winner from Maryland, a group which includes the likes of late-1970s 3B Mark Simendinger (Severna Park HS) and late-1990s 1B Jeff Felker (Ellicott City/Mount St. Joseph HS) … Hudgins could join eight previous ND baseball monogram winners from Virginia, with others including LHP Frank Carpin (Richmond) and recent corner infielder Matt Edwards (Mechanicsville, Lee-Davis HS).

LOCAL HEROES – The Notre Dame baseball program’s list of nearly 850 all-time monogram winners includes 21 South Bend natives and 10 others from the surrounding area (Granger, Elkhart, LaPorte, North Liberty and Michigan City) … St. Joseph’s High School products who have monogrammed with ND baseball during the past 45 years include: C/IF Joe Kernan (’67-’68), 2B Tony Zappia (’70-’71), catcher Mike McNeill (’85), RHP Marty DeGraff (’93-’94), utility player Matt Nussbaum (’99-’00) and catcher Nick Mainieri (’04-’05) … Kernan went on to serve as a flight officer in the U.S. Navy and was held as a POW in Vietnam for nearly a year (he received two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross) … Kernan later served as South Bend’s city controller, mayor of South Bend, lieutenant governor and then governor of Indiana (most recently, he became co-owner and president of the South Bend Silverhawks) … McNeill was a standout hockey player at Notre Dame and hit four home runs with the baseball squad … DeGraff went 9-1 in 10 career decisions (with 41 strikeouts in 53.1 innings) … Nussbaum joined the Irish as a walk-on, later received a scholarship and was a captain on the 2000 team (he was a .274 career hitter, with 5 HR and 70 RBI in 442 at-bats) … there are three South Bend Central HS products listed among the ND baseball monogram list: OF Chuck Borowski (’36-’38), pitcher Sabastian Nowicki (’41) and 1B John Hickey (’43) … Borowski captained the 1938 ND team and is the father of Paul Borowski (who operates the production company that staffs television coverage for various ND sporting events) … Hickey received the ND athletics department’s 1943 Byron Kanaley Award, which recognizes outstanding student-athlete leaders … three brothers who attended John Adams HS each earned monograms with ND baseball: RHP Tom (’64-’65), OF Dan (’79-’82) and infielder Ray Szajko (’87) … Tom hit a pair of home runs in his ND career while Dan was a .317 career hitter with 10 HR and 72 RBI in 407 ABs … Dan Szajko struck out only four times in 137 ABs during the ’82 season, for a ratio of 34.3 ABs per K (second-best in ND history, with a min. of 90 ABs; his 25.8 ABs/K in 1980 ranks 5th on that list) … the Szajko brothers’ nephew Eric Szajko remains close to ND athletics as a photographer with Lighthouse Imaging (he is the son-in-law of Mike Bennett) … OF George Iams (’80-’81; 243 ABs) was a product of South Bend’s Clay High School while infielder Kenneth Soos (’84-’86; .286, 8 HR, 69 RBI, 346 ABs) attended Washington HS … two other South Bend natives attended Mishawaka Marian HS before playing for the Irish: RHP Larry Lackner (1981; 4 SV) and 3B Tim Prister 8’81-’82; .283, 230 ABs) … Prister tied an ND record during his career (with a 5-hit game) and later founded Blue and Gold Illustrated … talented RHP Brian Piotrowicz (’87-’90) attended high school in South Bend (Washington) but lived in nearby North Liberty … Piotrowicz ranks eighth on the ND career ERA list (2.72), also ranking fourth in career innings (337.2), seventh in wins (27-17) and 12th in Ks (201) … he led the 1989 staff in wins (11-4), ERA (2.24; now 23rd in ND history) and strikeouts (72) while making 18 starts that season (second-most in ND history) and adding a 1.90 ERA in 1990 (now 15th-best in ND history) … other South Bend natives listed in the ND baseball media guide (on the monogram list) include five with no high school indicated: SS George Wolf (1916), pitcher Paul Edgren (’16-’17; 11-4 career record), catcher Arthur Verhoestra (’38-’39), 2B Alan Kristowski (’64-’65; 229 Abs) and catcher Brian Gibbons (’84) …

Three Elkhart natives earned monograms with ND baseball in the late 1970/early ’80s: catcher Jim Montagano (’78-’79, ’81), 2B/3B Scott Siler (’80-’82; .280 career hitter) and LHP Mark Clementz (’82-’84) … Montagano and Siler were Elkhart Memorial HS products while Clements attended Elkhart Central … Montagano and his parents, Anthony and Mary, were the 2001 benefactors of the message board that was added to the scoreboard at Eck Stadium … Montagano led the 1981 team with a .397 season batting avg. (now 16th in the ND record book) and remains one of the top offensive catchers in ND history (.325 career hitter, with 10 HR and 72 RBI in 323 ABs) … his mother Mary recently was selected as an honorary member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club (as presented at the ND baseball alumni game, the morning of the ND-BC football game) … Clementz was an Academic All-American who compiled a 2.97 career ERA (14-9, 3 saves, 106 Ks, 179 IP) and led the staff in ERA during three straight seasons (1.50, 3.31 and 3.31, from 1980-82) … his 1.50 ERA in 1990 ranks sixth-best in ND history and remains the best season ERA by an ND pitcher since the late 1950s … three LaPorte HS products have earned monograms with ND baseball: 1B/OF Ron Reed (’65), DH Korey Wroblewski (’92-’93) and LHP Paul Pryblo (’94-’95) … Reed (4.04 career ERA, 47 Ks, 64.2 IP) also was a star basketball player at ND and went on to play professionally in both the NBA and Major League Baseball … Wroblewski hit four career home runs in a career that was slowed by injury while Pryblo has a 3.27 career EVA and five saves … Michigan City native Daniel Nespo (Elston HS) earned three monograms as a shortstop with the Irish (’50, ’55, ’56) … Nespo hit six career home runs (196 ABs) and captained the 1956 team … another Michigan City native, 3B/1B Pat Topolski (’65-’67), led the 1965 team in RBI (22) and home runs (3) while also pacing the 6’66 team in RBI (16) … Topolski was a .275 career hitter (3 HR, 45 RBI, 324 ABs) … RHP John Seabaugh (Granger/Penn HS) was a walk-on member of the ND baseball in 2006 and ’07 (when he received a service monogram).

(Note: Bio. capsules on the signees follow below, as do quotes from coach Schrage on each signee.)

SCHRAGE ON ISPAS – “Dustin is one of the top lefthanders in the country. He has a live fastball that touches 92 and his great slider that will allow him to compete for a rotation spot as a freshman. He can do it all on the mound because of his great mobility and he might be the most athletic pitcher in the country. He can run a 6.6 60-yard dash and is one of the nation’s top-ranked baseball players in the SPARQ fitness testing. We are very fortunate to sign a lefthander that has the talent and the moxy to pitch right away.”

ISPAS BIO. NOTES – Received second team all-league honors as a junior at Los Osos High School, after posting a 3-0 conference record with two saves and a 0.77 ERA in conference action … also named most outstanding pitcher on the 2007 LOHS squad (while playing for coach Anthony Vasquez) … currently playing for the Boston Red Sox scout team and the Milwaukee Brewers Elite Team … selected to the Milwaukee Brewers 2007 Area Code Team during the summer of 2007, when he also was named to the Tommy Lasorda 2007 Dodger Elite Team … named the tournament’s top pitcher of the 2006 Goodwill Series that was held in China … plays American Legion ball for coach Anthony Vasquez … a scholar-athlete honoree, with a 3.53 cumulative GPA … his father Thomas Ispas played basketball at Cal Poly Pomona and earlier was a two-sport start (baseball/basketball) in Hammond, Ind., at Bishop Noll High School … his sister Genevieve is a member of the tennis and dance teams at LOHS … son of Thomas and Pamela Ispas.


Steve Sabatino could be a dangerous two-way player with the Irish.



SCHRAGE ON SABATINO – “Steve is another top lefthanded pitcher in our class. He could pitch for us right now, because he can throw three pitches for a strike and has touched the low 90s with his fastball, but typically pitches 86-88 mph. The great thing about Steve is that I think his best days are ahead of him. I can’t wait to see him when he fills out and reaches his top potential. He will have a chance to pitch right away, but he will be a different pitcher when he is a junior. He also is a power bat from the left side and we always can use a good hitter from the left side with some power.”

SABATINO BIO. NOTES – An all-conference and all-area selection at Lockport Township High School, where he played for Steve Stanicek … hit .327 as a junior while posting a 1.79 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 47 innings … averaged 10.9 strikeouts per 9.0 innings … has thrown his fastball in the low 90s … invited to play in the Area Code Games … also played for the Downers Grove Longshots (coached by Rob Rooney) … played during the summer of 2006 for the Aurora Sparks U18 travel team that competed at the World Wood Bat Association tournament in East Cobb, Ga. … his father John Sabatino played in the Chicago White Sox organization … son of John and Deb Sabatino.

SCHRAGE ON ROBINSON – “Like Leighton, Alex is a switch-hitting outfielder who can run really well and can play all outfield spots. He probably will play center or right field because of his strong arm and his accuracy with his throwing. With Alex, we also probably signed a player who will help try to replace Brett Lilley in the top of the order. He has great moxy on the bases and can is a great contact hitter. By no means is Alex a slap-hitter. Rather, he is a great contact hitter from both sides with the potential for some gap power.”

ROBINSON BIO. NOTES – Standout player at First Baptist Academy while rating as the sixth-best prep outfielder in the expansive state of Texas (per Perfect Game Crosschecker; as of Aug. ’07) … also was rated 25th overall among high school players in Texas … named second team all-district and team MVP as a junior in 2007, after batting .543 (38-for-70) with 13 extra-base hits (2 HR, 3 3B, 8 2B), a .624 on-base pct., 27 stolen bases (in 28 att.), 31 RBI and 32 runs scored … also served as 2007 team captain … a second team all-district performer as a sophomore in 2006 … his all-tournament performance at the 2007 Brett Cowart Invitational included batting 7-for-9 with a pair of walks, 8 RBI and 6 runs scored (3B, 4 2B, 4-4 SB, 0 Ks) … plays at First Baptist for head coach Omar Washington and assistant Cecil Espy, who also is his coach on the Dallas Panthers summer/fall team … Espy – who played eight big-league seasons (with the Reds, Rangers, Pirates and Dodgers) previously was the prep/youth coach for current ND senior Tony Langford (at Ft. Worth Country Day HS and with the Arlington Wizards) … has played for the Panthers since age 12 … earned lofty 9.5 ratings during the Perfect Game National and Perfect Game Sunshine South Showcase (also named top prospect at that event), both in June of 2007 … also was invited to the Headfirst Baseball Honor Roll Showcase (summer ’07) … selected for several top events during the fall/winter of 2006, including: the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Championship (18U); the Top Guns National College Prospect Camp; and the Perfect Game National Underclass Showcase (where he was named to the “top prospects” team) … his strong showing at the 2006 USA Junior Olympic Tournament (held in Jupiter, Fla.) earned him an invitation to represent the United States at a tournament in the Dominican Republic … similar had impressive performance at the 2006 Louisiana All-Star Tournament (held at LSU), earning him an invitation to represent Team Mid-America at the Blue Gray Classic (also held at LSU) … also competed at the Perfect Game Academic Showcase (June ’06) and the Memorial Weekend Tournament (May ’06), where he was named offensive MVP … lettered with the First Baptist basketball team as a sophomore and junior, earning second team all-district honors each seasons (also team defensive MVP as a junior) … his widespread academic honors, volunteer work and extracurricular activities have included: National Honor Society; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; a 3.85 cumulative GPA (member of academic honor roll and principal’s award); Service Club; Senior Ambassador; and nominations for the National Youth Leadership Forum (for medicine in Oct. ’05 and for law in June ’06), for the National Student Leadership Conference (June ’06) and the Lead America Youth Leadership Conference (Oct. ’06) … son of Mike and Karon Robinson.

SCHRAGE ON CHASE – “Tommy is a valuable guy in our recruiting class because of the many positions he can play. He has great baseball sense, can play anywhere in the infield and is a great contact hitter.”

CHASE BIO. NOTES – Helped lead Boston College High School to the state semifinals in 2006 and 2007 … played for coach Norm Walsh at BCHS … also has played AAU ball with the South Shore Seadogs (coach by Ryan Morgan) and American Legion with Post 118 (coached by Bill Signorelli) … attended Notre Dame Baseball Camp in the summer of 2007 … received 2007 scholar-athlete award …a Fulton Scholarship recipient at BCHS … also a high-honor roll student all four years and member of the National Honor Society … his father Mark Chase is a 1978 Notre Dame graduate while his sister Jacqueline Chase currently is a junior at Notre Dame and a member of the sailing club … his mother (Laura Chase) played basketball at the University of Alabama.

SCHRAGE ON COOPER – “Leighton really fits the mold of payer that we were looking for in this recruiting class. He is a switch-hitting outfielder who can run and can play all three outfield spots. We were looking to sign two outfielders who can run and play great defense. Leighton can do both and he will get better when he bulks up through our strength and conditioning program.”

COOPER BIO. NOTES – A three-sport prep athlete who already has lettered for three seasons in baseball, two in football and one in indoor track … spent his first two years at Bishop McNamara High School before transferring to Flint High School, where he is coached on the baseball team by Rick Freeman … made a name for himself as an excellent defensive centerfielder while batting .325 as a sophomore (15 stolen bases, plus a home run) and then hitting .301 as a junior (21 SB, HR) … helped lead 2007 team to 20-8 record, conference tournament title and a #9 ranking in the state of Virginia … had impressive showing at the Perfect Game 17U Nationals Tournament (held in Georgia), after batting 4-for-8 with four RBI three walks, a pair of doubles, four stolen bases and five runs scored … was timed in 6.6 for the 60-yard dash at the SelectFest (held in New Jersey) … has played club baseball with the Maryland Patriots (coached by Mike Chroniger) … played key role in Flint winning the Mid-Atlantic Conference for the first time in the school’s history, serving as a runningback, wide receiver and top special-teams performer on that 2006 squad … reached the Coach’s Award (recognizing hard work, coachability and diligence) during his sophomore track season … member of the nationally-recognized high school a-cappella signing group the “Major Minors” … also served as a peer counselor and Diversity Day discussion facilitator … member of the National Honor Society, with a 3.43 cumulative GPA … son of Wesley and Venita Cooper.

SCHRAGE ON HUDGINS – “Will is the perfect definition of great deception. He throws from a 3/4 arm slot and the ball runs all over the place, and he has longs arms that keep coming at you. He has the frame to put on more weight and his fastball will get better each year in college. He will be a mainstay in the Irish bullpen for years to come.”

HUDGINS BIO. NOTES – Has pitched for the varsity as a sophomore and junior at Freeman High School, compiling a 3.44 ERA, a 9-5 record, a 4:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio (122/28) and 29 more innings pitched (104) than hits allowed (75) during that two-year span … posted a lowly 1.80 ERA in his junior season while splitting six decisions and striking out 59 in 50.2 innings (11 GP, 14 BB, 39 H) … went 6-2 as a sophomore (4.07, 53.1 IP, 12 GP, 63 K/14 BB, 61 H) … named first team all-district and honorable mention all-region in both his sophomore and junior seasons … will serve as team captain in his senior season … received Tommy Journey Award as outstanding junior on 2007 team, after receiving similar award as a sophomore in 2006 (Charles Eskridge Award) … named to Central Region Virginia Commonwealth Team as a sophomore … played for coach Ken Moore at Freeman HS … member of the Tidewater Orioles club team (coached by Lee Banks) … also played on the golf and basketball teams during his first two years at Freeman … a national merit scholarship commended scholar and member of the National Honor Society … enrolled in the Center for Leadership, Government and Global Economics at Freeman … received the I Dare You! Leadership Award as a junior year … also has served as an editor for the school newspaper at Freeman … his father Jeff Hudgins played basketball at Virginia Commonwealth while his great uncle Jim Pearce pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Senators … his grandfather John Taylor was drafted by the Detroit Tigers but opted to attend East Tennessee State, where he played baseball and basketball … son of Jeff and Jennifer Hudgins.

SCHRAGE ON RICHTER – “Ryan might be a sleeping giant in the recruiting class. He is a local product that people might be reading a lot about this spring, during his senior season, and asking `Where did this kid come from?’ We feel very fortunate that he wanted to stay close to home, because Ryan will be a big part of program in the future. He has a 6-3 frame and could put on 20-30 pounds. He could be a scary lefthander for the future. He already has a fastball that touches in the mid-80s and has a loose arm that’s going to get better.”

RICHTER BIO. NOTES – Played during the 2007 season for St. Joseph’s High School head coach John Gumpf (a former ND baseball volunteer assistant whose wife Deanna Gumpf is the ND softball head coach) … earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a junior, after missing half the season due to a broken thumb … also named second team all-conference as a sophomore … started for the baseball and basketball teams throughout his first three years at St. Joe’s … helped lead baseball team to 2007 regional and sectional titles … served as basketball team captain (also named defensive MVP) … plays club baseball for Greenville Technology Incorporated (under head coach Joe Marker) … has received academic high honors throughout his high school career … member of student government and the National Honor Society … son of Patrick and Susan Richter … his mother is the principal at St. Joseph’s High School.

SCHRAGE ON SPANO – “Joe is a great pickup for us because he comes from a winning program and he is a lefthanded strike thrower. I don’t want to call him crafty lefty because he can run his fastball up to the high 80s, but his breaking ball makes him the pitcher that we wanted. Joe will be a valuable pitcher on out staff because I think he could start for us some day or pitch every day out of the bullpen. Like Ispas, he can cover his position and controls the running game. He will find a big role as a freshman and for years after.”

SPANO BIO. NOTES – Ranked among the top-70 lefthanded pitchers in all of high school baseball (per Perfect Game) … was the only sophomore on 2006 Seton Hall Prep team that won 2006 conference an state titles … helped that team earn national top-25 rankings before playing for nation’s top-ranked team in 2007, with that squad winning conference, county and state championships … his 2007 season stats included a 2.20 ERA and 3-1 record in five stats, on a staff that included current Notre Dame freshman Evan Danieli and eventual first-round draft pick Rick Porcelli … played at SHP for Mike Sheppard, Jr. (son of former Seton Hall University head coach Mike Sheppard) … named to the “top prospects” team at the 2006 Perfect Game National Underclass Showcase … received the SHP commitment award in 2006 and again in ’07 … threw two no-hitters in the summer of 2006, for the county champion Vailsburg Legion team … also has played for the South Bergen Mets (coached by Bobby Jones) and the New Jersey Super 17 (coached by Joe Barth and Keith Dilgard) … pitched during the summer of 2007 at the World Wood Bat Association tournament in East Cobb, Ga., as a member of the Farrah Builders travel team (based in Oceanport, N.J.) … has been named to the honor roll during all marking periods at Seton Hall Prep … hails from same hometown (Verona, N.J.) as former Notre Dame football tight end Anthony Fasano (now a member of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys) … son of Joe and Eileen Spano.