Storm Adds Five Players to Program for 2011

PAINESVILLE, OHIO - The Lake Erie College baseball team signed five players to letters of intent during the early signing period. Ryan Anstaett, Brian Kilway, Brad Raley, Reid Rizzo and Ryan Thombs are the first members of head coach Brian McGee's 2010 recruiting class.

"We are very excited about these five additions to our program," McGee said. "They are all talented and versatile players who excelled at the high school and summer league levels and we look forward to them being strong contributors to Lake Erie baseball starting in 2011."

Among the group are a pair of corner infielders, a middle infielder and two right-handed pitchers. Four of the five are from Ohio.

Ryan Anstaett (Batavia, Ohio/Batavia) is a corner infielder/outfielder with the potential to be a middle-of-the-order presence. He led his high school team and Ohio Heat summer team in most offensive categories. As a junior, he hit .378 with 30 runs batted in 23 games for the Bulldogs and was named to the Cincinnati Enquirer Divisions II-IV all-star team as an honorable mention selection.  The three-year letterman was also a Southern Buckeye Conference National Division all-star.

"Ryan has one of the strongest passions for the game of baseball I have ever seen. He eats, sleeps, and breaths this game," said McGee. "His offensive ability will be a big push for him to be an impact player for us. With some needed pop in our lineup, Ryan will have the chance to fill those voids. He has not only proven his ability at a tremendous high school level, but alongside some of the nation's best players throughout the summer months."

Brian Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge), a right-handed pitcher, was heavily recruited by a number of Division I schools before signing with the Storm. He posted a 5-1 record as the Blue Devils' top starter last spring, including a complete-game shutout in the sectional finals. He was named to the All-Suburban League Second Team after striking out 45 in just 39 2/3 innings.

"Brian has the body, mind, and ability, as well as the determination and pride to be the best he can be. We are extremely excited about the addition of Brian to next year's pitching staff," McGee said. "He is in command of all of his pitches and can throw them in any count.   He was a highly sought after recruit on every level. I am very excited about seeing what accomplishments he will have in his four years at Lake Erie."

Another right-handed hurler, Brad Raley (Hinckley, Ohio/Highland) posted a solid junior season for the Hornets and for the Ohio Orioles summer team. He is poised to take the top spot for Highland on the mound this spring.

"Brad has tremendous poise on the mound, will absolutely go right after hitters and will just pound the strike zone," according to McGee. "He has a very live and heavy fastball and backs that up with very good off-speed location. We are very excited to have Brad. It is great to add someone of his ability and character to our program."

A summer-league teammate of Anstaett, Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) is a four-year starter in the middle infield, splitting time at both second base and shortstop, for LaSalle. He is a two-time Greater Catholic League and All-Cincinnati City honorable mention selection and was named Cincinnati Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. In 2009, he led his team in runs, walks and stolen bases while hitting .375.

"Reid Rizzo is an electrifying player and a fierce competitor. He is exactly the type of emotional player that this program is looking for," McGee said. "He is quick on the base paths and has a true understanding of the importance of base running and the impact it can have on the outcome of a game. He is capable of playing virtually anywhere on the field defensively but is set to be kept in the middle infield for our plans."

Ryan Thombs (Gainesville, Fla./PK Yonge) will head north to play the corner infield spots, as well as provide relief on the mound. Last season he hit .430 with 30 RBI as the team's third baseman and went 7-2 on the mound. He was named to the Gainesville Sun All-Area Team after both his sophomore and junior seasons. Thombs is a four-year starter at PK Yonge since moving to the area from Ohio. He has played for the Ohio Orioles squad each of the past two summers.

"Ryan is a tremendous athlete who has the ability to hit for power from the corner infield spots, as well as give us some help off the mound in relief," said McGee. "He has tremendous character and work ethic, excelling on both the baseball field as well as in the classroom. We will look to him to add some immediate needed pop to the Storm lineup as he swings the bat extremely well. We are very excited about the opportunity to continue Ryan's development."

The Storm came within one win of tying the school single-season record in its first season in NCAA Division II. Lake Erie will again compete as a D-II independent this spring before joining the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in 2010-11.