Tiger baseball adds shortstop to 2014 roster

Cincinnati shortstop Ben Spitznagel will join the Tiger baseball team in 2014.

Cincinnati shortstop Ben Spitznagel will join the Tiger baseball team in 2014.

MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team made an important addition to its 2014 roster Monday morning when head coach Steve Gust announced the signing of Ben Spitznagel.

Spitznagel, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, is a shortstop and will help bolster the Tigers’ infield next season. Michael Lukkason and Kirk McBreen, the Tigers’ primary shortstops for 2013, both graduate in May, leaving a big hole for Dakota Wesleyan to fill. Gust is hoping Spitznagel can fill that hole.

Spitznagel, a 5-foot-11 athlete who throws right but bats left-handed, comes to Dakota Wesleyan from Colerain High School in Cincinnati. He earned three varsity letters on the Cardinal baseball team, and batted .550 as a junior in 2012. He also played club baseball for the Cincinnati Riverbats.

Spitznagel has a 3.3 GPA at Colerain, and plans on majoring in business at Dakota Wesleyan.

“We are thrilled to sign a student-athlete like Ben,” Gust said. “He has all the character traits that we are looking for: he’s talented, hard-working a good student and is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

“Ben is a very versatile player. We believe he will compete for a middle infield spot immediately. He can play outfield as well. Defensively he has good hands and feet, and offensively he has a compact swing from the left side and can run. He has all the tools we’re looking for, and we think the sky is the limit for Ben.”

Spitznagel is the Tigers’ third recruit for 2014. He joins William Lutjen (INF/OF, Miller Place, N.Y.) and Zach Uttecht (SS/2B, Pierce, Neb.). Dakota Wesleyan starts its 2013 season Friday, Feb. 8, when it plays Montana State University Billings at 4:30 p.m. at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.