The Saint Joseph’s baseball team will welcome 11 newcomers for the 2018 season. The newest Hawks, are, from left to right:
Back row: Jose Martinez, Brian Edgington, Jackson Fiala, Matt Kennedy, Will Hoysgaard, Brian Vance
Front row: Brendan Hueth, Vince Capone, Liam Bendo, Cole Stetzar, Ryan Devine
MERION STATION, Pa. – Saint Joseph’s baseball head coach Fritz Hamburg has announced the addition of 11 freshmen to the program in time for the 2018 season.
“We are certainly excited about this recruiting class and are looking forward to this group of student-athletes joining our program here on Hawk Hill,” Hamburg said. “With the graduation of eleven players and Deon Stafford, Jr., moving on to professional baseball, we certainly had many positions to fill. We feel this class has a great deal to offer.”
Liam Bendo comes to Hawk Hill from Garnet Valley High School after twice earning First Team All-Central League honors. During his career, the Glen Mills, Pa., native earned a pair of All-Delaware County selections, including a First Team nod as a senior, and was named to the Delaware County Carpenter Cup team four times. Bendo led the county with a .500 batting average as a sophomore and set the school record for doubles as a senior, leading GVHS to the Central League title for the second time.
Bendo was also the starting shortstop for Team Pennsylvania at the 2015 PBR Futures Games and for Team North Atlantic at the 2014 USA Baseball Trials. Later, he would be named to the All-Tournament Teams after the 2015 and 2016 Perfect Game WWBA National Championships and the the 2017 Perfect Game West MLK Championship.
“Liam possesses some very solid tools and has the versatility to play both middle infield positions,” Hamburg said. “He had a solid senior year offensively at Garnet Valley. With Taylor Boyd graduating, we expect him to certainly compete for playing time at second base and he will provide solid depth at shortstop this season. With his work ethic, we are excited to see how quickly he progresses.”
Hailing from Ambler, Pa., Vince Capone was a four-year starter for Germantown Academy before missing most of his senior season due to injury. He was twice named to the All-Inter-Ac Team and represented the league in the Carpenter Cup as well. Capone also earned four letters and was a two-time All-Inter-Ac honoree on the football field as well, being named to the All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Team as a senior. He earned two letters in soccer as well.
“Vince brings versatility to our program,” Hamburg said. “He is a solid defender and scrappy offensively, and we feel he will provide depth behind the plate. Although he missed his senior year at GA, we are looking forward to having the opportunity to further his game. We feel his best years are certainly ahead of him.”
Ryan Devine was the Virginia 4A state Player of the Year and the Conference 18 Player of the Year as a senior at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg. He was also named to the All-State, All-Region, and All-Conference First Teams as well as garnering Peninsula Sports Club Player of the Year honors after posting a 0.94 earned run average to go with 74 strikeouts and a 9-1 record on the mound while hitting .369 with 19 runs batted in at the plate. A well-rounded athlete, Devine also earned three letters in basketball.
“Ryan had a tremendous career at Jamestown and has a chance to make an immediate impact with our pitching staff,” Hamburg said. “Not only was he successful on the diamond, but on the hardwood as well. His most interesting tool is his competitiveness. He has been a leader on winning teams for some time and that quality is so important.”
Hatboro, Pa., native Brian Edgington was named the Intelligencer Player of the Year as a senior after earning First Team All-Suburban One honors on the mound. He was also named to the All-Intelligencer Southeastern First Team as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern Second Team. Edgington was previously a Second Team All-Conference honoree as a junior and was named to the Perfect Game 16U All-Tournament Team as a sophomore.
“Brian had a super senior year for the Hatters,” Hamburg said. “He has a strong understanding of the game and knows how to use his tools to his advantage. We are looking forward to advancing his game and feel that he will make a big contribution to our program during his career as a Hawk.”
Jackson Fiala was a Second Team All-Conference selection as a senior at Salesianum in Delaware. A native of Landenber, Pa., Fiala served as the Sallies’ closer, notching six saves a season ago.
“Jackson worked as Salesianum’s closer as a senior and we are excited that he’s pitched in those pressure situations.” Hamburg said. “We like how he competes on the mound and feel that as he continues to grow, he will add velocity to his fastball to complement a solid breaking pitch. We are excited to see how the pieces come together for him as we feel he should certainly make a solid contribution to our pitching staff.”
Will Hoysgaard earned All-Central League and All-Main Line accolades as a junior at Radnor High School before going on to serve as team captain as a senior. The native of Wayne, Pa., fanned 75 batters in 78 innings over his final two seasons and earned the win as Radnor clinched its first-ever district title.
“As Will continues to develop, we feel that he will have a solid opportunity to fill an important role in our program,” Hamburg remarked. “With continued focus and growth, he should make some key gains that will put him in a position to make an impact during his time in our program.”
Spring Lake, New Jersey, native Brendan Hueth follows in the footsteps of his older brother Chris, a former Hawk outfielder, and comes to Saint Joseph’s after a pair of All-Shore Conference selections. He also played in the 2016 Carpenter Cup and was named the 2017 Athlete of the Year at St. Rose High School. Hueth was a three-time All-Division honoree on the soccer pitch and also earned All-Division honors on the basketball court in 2016.
“We are very excited that Brendan chose to come to SJU,” Hamburg said. “He had a great season at St. Rose as well as for Ocean in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League this summer. He brings an advanced skill-set to campus. He has excellent speed and can drive the ball with consistency. We expect him to make an immediate contribution in our program and look for him to have an outstanding career.”
Matt Kennedy earned a slew of First Team honors as a senior at Haddon Heights High School in Haddon Heights, N.J. He was tabbed the NJ.com Colonial Conference Player of the Year and was named to the All-Colonial, State Group 1, Inquirer, Courier Post, and South Jersey Coaches Association First Teams. Kennedy played in the Carpenter Cup and helped HHHS to three consecutive division titles as well.
“We are excited that Matt is a Hawk,” Hamburg said. “He had a very productive high school career and has a solid understanding of the little points in the game. I am confident that through his career here at SJU, that he will be a very important piece of our pitching staff.”
Archbishop McCarthy High School won state and national titles with Jose Martinez on the squad, as the righthander earned All-Broward County Honorable Mention accolades as well as a spot on the All-District Team. The native of Weston, Florida, also earned honorable mention status from Perfect Game and PBR after going 12-0 with 52 strikeouts over his final two seasons.
“Jose comes from one of the strongest high school baseball programs in the country,” Hamburg explained. “His understanding of how to pitch and his ability to utilize his skillset should allow him to compete for time early in his career. We are very excited that he felt SJU and our program was the right fit.”
Cole Stetzar hails from Scranton, Pa., and was a four-year starter for West Scranton High School. He was a three-time Lackawanna League All-Star and twice earned Times Tribune All-Region accolades. Stetzar garnered a pair of Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mentions and was a 2017 Rawlings Honorable Mention All-American as well. He also earned three All-Star nods on the basketball court and was named the District 2 Freshman of the Year in 2015.
“Cole brings a very strong skillset to SJU,” said Hamburg. “He should have a great opportunity to be a two-way player. He certainly should have a great opportunity to make an immediate impact on the mound for us, but we also feel his bat may give him a strong chance to compete for playing time on the field. He has had a great deal of success up to this point and we are excited to see how he progresses with us.”
Chicago native Brian Vance comes from Loyola Academy, where he was chosen as the Defensive Player of the Year each of his last two seasons. He earned All-Area honors from the Daily North Shore and Second Team honors from the Pioneer Press and was tabbed for the Chicago Catholic League All-Star Team after hitting .300 and reaching base at a .529 clip with a team-leading 30 walks.
“Brian brings a solid defensive skillset to campus,” Hamburg remarked. “He possesses solid leadership traits that will fit well with what is expected as a catcher in our program. Offensively, Brian will battle and has a very solid understanding of the strike zone. We are certainly excited that he has ventured to Philadelphia from the Midwest.
“We are looking forward to getting on the field with them as well as our returning guys as we begin a new year,” Hamburg said of his incoming class.
The freshmen will join the returning Hawks for a three-game fall slate, beginning when Princeton visit Smithson Field on September 30.