Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Central Michigan baseball coach Steve Jaksa has announced the signing of five players who will join his program for the 2019 season.
All five hail from high schools within the state of Michigan, and all five come from strong prep and summer programs and boost strong all-around diverse athletic skill.
"We're not done with the class, but it really gives us a strong start in what we're looking for," said Jaksa, who led the Chippewas to the Mid-American Conference West Division title last spring. "There's a couple of pitchers, a catcher, an outfielder and a corner infielder. Those are some immediate needs for us.
"We're excited about this group. They come from historically good programs. We know their coaches and that always helps."
The class comprises pitchers Garrett Navarra and Ian Leatherman, catcher/infielder Kade Preston, first baseman Joseph Zontini, and outfielder Ethan Collick.
Navarra, a left-hander, plays at Sterling Heights Stevenson where he helped the Trojans to the Division I state quarterfinals in 2017. He is also listed as an outfielder.
Leatherman is a right-hander and the brother of current CMU pitcher Pat Leatherman; Zontini, a first baseman, is a product of Eisenhower High School in Washington Township; Preston is a catcher/infielder from DeWitt High School; and Ethan Collick is an outfielder from Saline High School, where he helped lead the Hornets to the Division I state title last spring.
"Most of them are multiple-sport kids," Jaksa said. "You're playing in other programs that are pretty good and against high-level competition where it tests you and it shows your competitiveness and your athleticism. To me it's a positive thing for those kids and we're happy to have them here."
Garrett Navarra • LHP/OF • 5-11 • 195 • Sterling Heights, Mich./ Stevenson HS Three-year letterwinner ... named Macomb Area Conference (MAC) Red Division Player of the Year in 2017 ... named to Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Division I All-State Second Team in `17 ... earned all-district honors in '17 ... two-time All-MAC selection ... named to Academic All-MAC team in '16.
Ian Leatherman • RHP • 5-11 • 165 • Jenison, Mich./Jenison HS Three-year letterwinner ... named to Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Division I All-State Second Team in 2016 and in 2017 ... earned All-Ottawa-Kent Conference honors in '16 and in '17 ... two-time all-district and two-time all-region honoree ... led Jenison to OK Conference Black Division championships in '16 and in '17 ... also lettered in tennis and basketball.
Kade Preston • Catcher/Infield • 6-4 • 185 • DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt HS Three-year letterwinner ... named to the Lansing State Journal All-Area First Team in 2015 ... earned All-Capital Area Athletic Conference Red Division honors in 2015 ... two-time all-district honoree ... also earned three letters in football.
Joseph Zontini • First Base • 6-3 • 215 • Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower HS Three-year letterwinner ... earned Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Division I All-State Second Team honors in 2017 ... two-time All-Macomb County honoree ... named to All-Macomb Area Conference Red Division team in both 2016 and in '17 ... two-time all-district honoree ... named all-region in 2017.
Ethan Collick • Outfield • 6-1 • 200 • Saline, Mich./Saline High School Two-year letterwinner ... led Saline to Division I state championship in 2017 ... named to honor roll for four consecutive years ... also lettered in football.