April 29, 2002
Head Coach Tony Rossi announced the signing of four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent today. Bill Lazio (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), Brian Schmotzer (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Ignatius), Eric Hildenbrand (Devon, Pa./Conestoga) and Nick Kieltyka (St. James, N.Y./Smithtown) have all committed to the program and will suit up in the Green and Gold upon enrollment in the fall.
Lazio, a 5-10, 180-pound left-handed outfielder from Cleveland, figures to step in and see immediate team in the graduation-depleted Siena outfield. A First-Team All-Conference, First Team Tri-County and Team MVP, Lazio batted .381 with 11 RBI and five stolen bases as a junior before sustaining an injury. Last summer he batted .446 with 33 RBI and 23 stolen bases hitting safely in 59 of his 132 at bats.
"Bill comes from a strong program and has a good understanding of the game," said Rossi. "His outstanding bat and great speed should earn him innings immediately."
Schmotzer attends St. Ignatius with Lazio and is one of two catchers Rossi is bringing into the program. Schmotzer was selected Tri-County Catholic Conference Player of the Year last season and was recognized as his team's Offensive Player of the Year after batting .408 with six home runs and 25 RBI. The 6-1, 170-pound talent amassed a .424 summer batting average with six home runs and 39 RBI.
"Brian will add a much needed spark to our lineup with his powerful bat," noted Rossi. "We anxiously await his arrival and expect him to compete for the starting job behind the plate next season."
Hildenbrand, a 5-9, 165-pound catcher, was selected to play in last year's Carpenter Cup. An All-Main Line All Star, Hildenbrand brings the unique aspect of speed to the catching position. He batted .475 as a junior with four home runs and 20 stolen bases. In the summer, he continued his hot hitting, batting .451 with 12 RBI. As a senior, Hildenbrand was named First Team Central League for the second consecutive year and was also selected to the All-Suburban team. He led Conestoga High School to its first District Championship in school history, and to the second round of the states.
"Eric gives us much needed depth at the catching position," Rossi said. "He is one of the top players in the Pennsylvania Central League and a proven offensive force."
Kieltyka, a 6-2, 190-pound hurler from Long Island is one of the top pitchers for the renowned Smithtown program. Injured most of last season, Kieltyka has the tool to make an impact with the Saints.
"Nick is a great pitcher with an excellent upside," said Rossi. "With hard work, he should gain valuable innings next season."
The quartet join previously signed incoming freshmen Matt Gidaly, Scott King, John Lannan, and Dan Weingart.