Posted Online: Feb. 06, 2013, 8:22 pm

Black Hawk College baseball loads up

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By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com

The 2013 baseball season is on the horizon, but Black Hawk College coach Arnie Chavera already has his eyes on the 2014 campaign.

He is equally excited about both. He is thrilled with the group he plans to trot out on the field in a matter of weeks with three players already signed to NCAA Division I programs. However, thanks to a great incoming freshman class this fall, he isn't worried about the talent level dropping off that much.

Intriguing Chavera even more about his next freshman class is that he believes he is getting the cream of the local crop by already having signed seven local standouts whom Chavera thinks can step in and continue the BHC diamond success.

Those high school seniors who already have committed to the Braves are the Sherrard duo of outfielder Jake Friichenicht and righthanded pitcher Brian King; Moline catcher Jake Viane; Davenport Assumption infielder/outfielder Drew Wescom; the North Scott duo of third-baseman Brandon Engler and righty pitcher Trey Ogden; and Durant lefty hurler Justin Shaffer.

Also already in this incoming class are Conner Riley (RHP/Marmion Academy) and catcher Colin Schreck (Hononegah).

"We're excited about these guys,'' said Chavera. "We got some pretty good local guys this year after things were slim pickings around here last year. It's been great in terms of getting some kids to come to Black Hawk. … We're happy to get some kids from the surrounding high schools and we always want to get the best kids out of the area.''

Chavera says he likes this group of early signees and sees plenty of guys in that group who can step in immediately.

"Justin Shaffer, Trey Ogden and Brian King will arguably be among the top six or seven pitchers in the area this spring,'' said Chavera. "We're happy to get those guys.''

Chavera says he is not even halfway done, liking the early commitments but still planning on "beating the bushes,'' as he says, to find even more available talent.

"It's hard to recruit during the season, so you try to knock out a majority of your big needs before your season starts,'' he said. "Then you make time to go find the kids early after their high school season or early into summer ball.''

Coming back home: The BHC staff also iswelcoming some local preps back into the fold after dipping their toes into different waters.

Transferring back to the area are Emilio Alonso (IF/OF, Moline/Southeastern CC) and Seth Fuller (RHP, Moline/Western Illinois University); and Dan Robinson (RHP/IF, Sterling/Murray State University).

"We're glad to get these guys back home,'' said Chavera. "They are all welcome additions to the program and should help us out this spring.''