PEORIA, Ill. - The Bradley Baseball program took advantage of the early signing period and will welcome seven new Braves to the squad in 2010-11. Of the seven new additions to the program, four are pitchers, three are junior college players and all seven hail from the Land of Lincoln.
Tory Doerr (Bethalto, Ill./Wabash Valley College/Civic Memorial H.S.) will join the Braves after pitching two seasons with coach Rob Fournier and the Wabash Valley Warriors. A left-handed reliever, Doerr appeared in 19 games for Wabash Valley as a freshman. He finished 1-2 overall and recorded 21 strikeouts. As a senior at Civic Memorial for coach Gary Bruening, Doerr was 9-1 with a 1.29 earned run average and 73 strikeouts. Opposing batters hit a mere .184 against the lefty during his senior campaign. Doerr was a two-time all-conference selection and a second team St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro performer as a senior. During the summer, Doerr went 7-1 on the mound for the St. Louis Pirates prospect team.
A second Wabash Valley pitcher will also make his way to Peoria in 2010. Danny Gifford (Highland, Ill./Wabash Valley College/Highland H.S.) was a standout pitcher and infielder at Highland for coach Joel Hawkins, helping the Bulldogs win the state championship his senior year. He finished 10-0 on the mound with a 2.22 ERA and 46 strikeouts. At the plate, Gifford hit .375 with 10 doubles, eight homeruns and 46 RBI's. He went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBI's and pitched 6.1 innings to earn the victory in the state championship game. Gifford received first team all-conference and all-area honors and was named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro first team as a utility player.
Bradley's third junior college signee, Patrick Flanagan (Salem, Ill./Rend Lake College/Salem Community H.S.), finished his freshman season at Rend Lake 3-5 overall with a 3.86 ERA for coach Tony Etnier. He led the Warriors in innings pitched (70.0) and strikeouts (52) and was a first team all-conference selection. Flanagan was also named the Warriors' most valuable pitcher.
As a pitcher for York High School and coach Dave Kalal, Steve Adkins (Elmhurst, Ill./York H.S.) went 5-3 overall with a 2.61 ERA in 51.0 innings pitched as a junior. He threw four complete games, fanned 67 batters and recorded two shutouts. Adkins averaged 9.2 strikeouts per game last season, while opponents hit only .210. For his efforts, Adkins received all-conference and all-area honors. During the summer, Adkins pitched for coaches Matt Rosenberg and Rob Rooney of the Downers Grove Longshots.
Adding depth behind the plate for the Braves is catcher Derek Sprout (Chillicothe, Ill./Illinois Valley Central H.S.). A two-year varsity player for coach Jerry Rashid, Sprout's offensive numbers include a .460 batting average, 14 homeruns and 88 RBI's. During his sophomore campaign, Sprout recorded a 33-game hitting streak (sixth best in IHSA history). He finished his sophomore season with 69 total hits (12th best in IHSA history) and 18 doubles (32nd best in IHSA history). Sprout is a two-time all-conference and all-area performer and helped Illinois Valley Central to a second-place finish at the 2008 state tournament. Sprout played for coach Bob Schlemmer and the Central Illinois Outlaws during the summer, where he hit a blistering .457 with 32 RBI's.
Eric Paulson (Barrington, Ill./Fremd H.S.) hit .336 as a junior infielder for coach Chris Piggott and the Vikings last season. Paulson increased his batting average to .348 during summer ball for the Palatine American Legion team and coach Jeff Ryder. With Paulson manning the hot corner, the Palatine Legion team won the state championship. His special invites include the Area Code Team, Stevenson Showcase and Pitch and Hit.
Bradley's final piece of offensive firepower is Greg Partyka (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett H.S.). As a junior for coach Chris Pemberton, Partyka slugged an eye-popping .475 with 10 homeruns and 42 RBI's. He recorded an .828 slugging percentage and only struck out eight times. Partyka's awards include all-conference and all-area recognition, as well as being named to the All-State Academic Team. Last summer, Partyka hit .431 with six long balls for the Illinois Indians.
"With a big class coming in this year, we were very selective in pursuing these very outstanding student-athletes to fill our specific needs," said second-year head coach Elvis Dominguez. "I'm really excited about this group. I feel that they can make an immediate impact on our program as first year players."