Nov. 18, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head baseball coach Rick Heller signed five individuals — Nick Allgeyer (6-3, 185, OF/LHP), Joel Booker (6-2, 180, OF), Kyle “Fenway” Parks (6-1, 195, IF), Luke Vandermaten (6-foot-1, 155, RHP) and Kyle Wade (6-2, 195, RHP) — to National Letters of Intent to continue their education and playing careers for the Hawkeyes in 2015.
“We are pleased with our first recruiting class,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Recruiting coordinator Marty Sutherland and assistant coach Scott Brickman did a great job in a tough situation. Being hired in late July, this class was a challenge for us, but I feel we handled it well.
“We still need to sign a couple of pitchers in the spring signing period, but I feel we are in great shape heading into next year. Only having three seniors on this year’s team took some of the pressure off in not having to bring in big class our first year.”
Allgeyer, a St. Louis, native, was a first team all-conference selection as a junior after batting .352 (32-of-91) with 28 RBIs, 21 runs, eight doubles and three triples at Vianney High School. Ten of his 32 hits went for extra bases and he had 44 total bases.
Allgeyer, the son of Ken Allgeyer, an Iowa offensive lineman from 1986-90, is a four-year letterwinner and three-year captain in baseball, football and hockey. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Midwest Regional High School Leadership Committee that carries a 3.92 grade point average.
“We are pleased that Nick will be a Hawkeye,” said Heller. “He is a great all-round athlete, who we believe will develop into a great baseball player. He has the ability to pitch and hit for us down the road. It will be exciting to see Nick develop once he is just playing baseball.”
Booker, a native of Columbus, N.C., was an NJCAA Region XI Division I second team all-region honoree after hitting .365 (50-of-137) with 31 RBIs, 32 runs and three home runs as a freshman at Indian Hills Community College. The outfielder also had 14 steals in 15 chances, and was selected as the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week on April 24.
As a prep, Booker was considered one of the top outfielders in the state of North Carolina by ESPN.com. As a junior at Polk County High School, Booker hit .529 with a 1.000 slugging and .625 on-base percentage with 14 multi-hit games en route to NCBCA all-state Division 2A honors. He earned the honor a second time in 2012.
“Joel will be an impact player for us,” said Heller. “He is an outstanding all-round athlete with game-changing ability. He will be one of the fastest players in the Big Ten, while also having the ability to hit for power. Defensively, Joel is an excellent outfielder with tremendous arm strength.”
Parks, a native of Boca Raton, Fla., is ranked in the top 500 players nationally by Perfect Game for the class of 2014 and has played in both the prestigious Perfect Game National Game events in San Diego and Minneapolis. He was a 2012 Perfect Game underclass honorable mention and a 2013 Perfect Game high honorable mention selection.
The three-year starter and four-year letterwinner at Spanish River Community High School hit .298 with three home runs and six doubles as a sophomore and .326 with seven doubles and a triple as a junior.
“Fenway will be a top hitter for us,” said Heller. “He has fought some injuries in the last year, but when healthy, he swings the bat as well as anyone we have seen. He can play several positions and is a hard worker. Fenway possesses great power potential, and we believe will be a top hitter in the Big Ten down the road.”
Vandermaten, a Fort Dodge, Iowa, native, was an honorable mention all-region selection at Iowa Central Community College in 2013. He went 9-1 with a 1.47 ERA in 49 innings, finishing with 40 strikeouts-to-nine walks. His .151 batting average against ranked ninth in the nation, and his .900 winning percentage and 1.47 ERA are fourth all-time at Iowa Central. The right-hander helped lead the Tritons to a 37-16 overall record and a third-place showing in the ICCAC. Iowa Central was the runner-up in the Region XI Tournament.
Vandermaten was a first team All-CIML selection as a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High School after batting .403 with 58 hits, 24 runs and 21 RBIs. On the mound, he went 6-3 with two saves and a 3.61 ERA in 44 2/3 innings of work. He also was a third team all-state selection by the Iowa Newspaper Association and was selected to play in the Senior All-Star game.
“The best thing you can say about Luke is that he is a winner,” said Heller. “He pounds the strike zone with all of his pitches and consistently challenges hitters. He is exactly what our staff needs next year. Luke is a hard-nosed competitor, and we’re excited to have him on board for next season.”
Wade, a native of Chino Hills, Calif., went 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 37 innings as a junior at Chino Hills High School. He finished the season with a 29 strikeouts to just eight walks. The right-handed pitcher was named to the Perfect Game All-Tournament and Rawlings West Coast Top Prospect teams in 2013.
Wade was also an All-Sierra League selection after helping guide Chino to a league championship as a junior. He also pitches for the California SGV Arsenal, the top travel ball team in California.
“Kyle can really pitch,” said Heller. “He threw against the best prospect teams all summer and won. He is a strike thrower with all three of his pitches and is great competitor. Kyle will make our staff better next year.”
The Hawkeyes open the 2014 spring season in Clarksville, Tenn., facing 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier Austin Peay from Feb. 14-16.