MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University baseball coach Steve Gust but the finishing touches on his 2013 roster and also got started with recruiting for 2014, he announced recently when he released the addition of five new recruits for the Tiger baseball program.
William Lutjen and Zach Uttecht will join the DWU baseball team in 2014, and Michael Johnson, Tyler Waddle and Joey Kinley all joined the program this week at the start of the 2013 spring semester. Johnson, Waddle and Kinley will all be in the hunt for playing time this season with the Tigers.
Johnson, a 5-foot-9 outfielder, played on the Huron Post 7 American Legion baseball team for three seasons as well as the Huron high school team, and he was part of the 2012 high school region championship team. He also lettered three times in football and five times in wrestling, and earned all-conference honorable mention honors in football as a junior. Johnson comes to DWU after a semester at Southeast Technical Institute.
“We’re extremely excited to sign Michael,” said Gust, who enters his fifth year with the Tiger baseball program in 2013. “We believe Michael has the ability to excel both on and off the field.”
Waddle comes to Dakota Wesleyan after spending a semester at South Dakota State University. He played shortstop for the Huron high school team as well as Post 7, and he was a solid player offensively and defensively for both teams. He earned all-state first team honors as a senior in 2012.
“Tyler is an exceptional student and athlete,” Gust said. “He has ability, an intelligence about the game and is eager to become a college baseball player. Tyler is the type of student-athlete who can help the program reach its highest potential.”
Kinley has sophomore eligibility after spending a season at Minnesota West Community College. He had 43 putouts and 40 assists from second base as a freshman in 2012. He also had 24 hits, a .282 batting average and nine RBIs in 85 at-bats for the Bluejays. Kinley batted .350 as a senior at Worthington High School in Worthington, Minn., and played amateur baseball for a year. He earned three varsity letters in baseball, six in wrestling and three in football. He was a two-time state wrestling qualifier.
“Joey provides instant depth for us at the infield position,” Gust said. “His previous college experience will help us immediately. He is another exceptional student and is just a quality student-athlete.”
Uttecht and Lutjen are Gust’s first recruits for the 2014 season. Lutjen is a 6-1 utility player from Miller Place, N.Y. She batted .471 as a sophomore and helped his team to a league championship as a junior. He also played club baseball for the Miller Place Reds and was named the tournament game MVP on several occasions.
“We were lucky enough to see Will at a showcase on the East Coast last summer, and we liked him a lot the minute we saw him play,” Gust said. “He has good speed, can play defense and is a very good hitter. When he came to visit, he really liked what we had to offer. We feel fortunate to sign a student-athlete with his qualities.”
Uttecht comes to DWU from Lutheran High Northeast in Pierce, Neb. He played shortstop and second base for his high school and traveling teams. He batted .320 for the Class A seniors team in 2012, and was a team captain in 2011. He also lettered twice in basketball, and helped his team to a state runner-up finish as a junior. Uttecht’s sister, Katie, is currently a sophomore on the Dakota Wesleyan softball team.
“We’re excited to bring Zach on board,” Gust said. “His sister plays softball, so it’s always exciting to add family members at DWU. Zach has great potential as a player, and with his passion for DWU baseball, he could develop into something really special.”
Dakota Wesleyan finished 24-32 overall and 11-9 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference in 2012. The Tigers start the 2013 season Feb. 8 with a doubleheader against Montana State University Billings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.
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