EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss announced Thursday that eight student-athletes, including six from the state of Michigan, will join the Spartan baseball program for the 2014 season: Walter Borkovich (Traverse City, Mich./Traverse City West Senior High School), Dan Durkin (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew High School), Jonah Heim (Amherst, N.Y./Amherst Central High School), Seth Johnson (Gobles, Mich./Gobles High School), Jake Lowery (Highland, Mich./Hartland High School), Dakota Mekkes (Jenison, Mich./Jenison High School), Connor Mohr (Farmington, Mich./Farmington High School) and Andrew Sabrosky (Holt, Mich./Holt High School).
“First and foremost, I think this class addresses the needs that we have as we’re moving forward as a program, with the losses of the 2013 senior class and then some possible draft picks as well,” said Boss. “I think it addresses all of those issues. This class is very athletic and provides a great deal of depth, not only on the mound, but behind the plate, in the outfield, and especially in the infield. It’s a good mix of players that are probably ready right away to contribute, and players with a lot of projection that are going to continue to get better and better.
“There is a common theme with regard to our position players in this class: they are all tough, hard-nosed type of players who play the game the right way. As far as the incoming pitchers, the common theme is the outstanding body types and the arm strength they have, and the arm strength that is going to continue to improve. All eight of these young men are very good students and high quality individuals. We’re extremely excited about this class and what they can provide to our program and how they will represent Michigan State University.
“I would also like to commend my assistants for all of their hard work in their recruiting efforts. They really went above and beyond the call of duty in putting this class together. Recruiting coordinator Graham Sikes and associate head coach Mark Van Ameyde worked tirelessly on the road for the last couple of years in the recruiting process, and they deserve the credit for this outstanding group of young men deciding to further their education in East Lansing.”
Below is a look at each of the incoming student-athletes:
Walter Borkovich • Traverse City, Mich. • Traverse City West Senior High School • 6-5 • 185 • R/R • RHP
Will be a two-year letterwinner under Coach Matt Bocian at Traverse City West Senior High School . . . ranked the No. 3 player in the state of Michigan by MichiganBaseballProspects.org and No. 7 by Perfect Game . . . helped lead Traverse City West to a school-record 26 wins last season . . . struck out 38 batters in 50 2/3 innings and compiled a 2.35 ERA with a 5-3 record and one save as a junior . . . played summer ball for the Grand Rapids Diamonds; went 4-0 with an ERA under 1.00 as the Diamonds posted a 38-5 record . . . son of Michael and Jennifer Borkovich . . . born July 3, 1995 . . . plans to major in business . . . four-year academic award winner and owns a 3.83 GPA . . . also lettered in basketball as a junior . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Michigan, Purdue, Ball State, Indiana State, Central Michigan and Holy Cross.
Boss on Borkovich: “First of all, Walter throws a lot of strikes. His velocity really jumped this summer, which is exciting for his future. He fills up the strike zone and throws three different pitches for strikes. At 6-5, he’s going to put some more weight on and continue to get better and better. He could be a player who is ready right away. Above all, he’s a fantastic young man who is an excellent student, and one of those program-type of players. He’s a winner who you want to be a part of your program.”
Dan Durkin • Tinley Park, Ill. • Victor J. Andrew High School • 5-10 • 190 • L/R • INF
Will be a three-year letterwinner under Coach Dave DeHaan at Victor J. Andrew High School . . . will be a two-time captain . . . ranked the No. 41 player in the state of Illinois by Prep Baseball Report . . . batted a school-record .523 with three homers, 13 doubles, seven triples, 31 RBIs and 43 runs scored as a junior in 2012 . . . earned first-team Class 4A all-state honors from the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association . . . named to the Chicago Tribune all-state second team . . . also earned all-area and all-conference honors and was named team MVP . . . collected 10 straight hits during one three-game stretch . . . named the Southtown Star Player of the Week on April 3 after batting 14-for-22 (.636) with two homers and nine RBIs, including the game-winning hit in a 3-2 win over Sandburg . . . as a sophomore in 2011, hit .370 with 34 RBIs . . . also lettered in football and basketball . . . earned honorable mention all-conference in football as a junior . . . son of Dan and Michelle Durkin . . . born April 4, 1995 . . . plans to pursue a degree in athletic training . . . his brother, Tony, is a red-shirt freshman offensive lineman at Illinois . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Minnesota, St. Joseph’s and Western Illinois.
Boss on Durkin: “Dan is a tough, hard-nosed player. He’s a very good athlete who can do a lot of different things; he’s a left-handed hitter who has an advanced approach at the plate and plays the game the right way. He was also an excellent football player in high school and he’ll bring that type of mentality to the baseball field. Dan is currently an infielder, but is athletic enough to move around a lot to different places. He possesses an extremely competitive personality and is a natural leader and winner both on and off the field.”
Jonah Heim • Amherst, N.Y. • Amherst Central High School • 6-4 • 195 • S/R • C
Will be a four-year letterwinner under Coach Brian Davis at Amherst Central High School . . . will be a two-time captain . . . ranked the No. 2 catcher and the No. 10 player overall in New York by Perfect Game . . . ranked the No. 47 catcher in the nation by Perfect Game . . . first-team all-league selection after batting .400 with two homers, 10 doubles and 27 RBIs his junior year . . . set school single-season records for batting average (.500) as a sophomore and doubles (10) as a junior . . . helped lead Amherst Central High School to a 19-3 record last season . . . also recorded a 3-0 record on the mound with two saves and a 2.42 ERA . . . recorded 15 strikeouts in nine innings pitched . . . went 4-for-11 at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., playing for the New York Yankees club . . . played in Yankee Stadium this past summer in an all-star game and recorded a hit and threw out two potential base stealers in the game . . . has also lettered in basketball and volleyball . . . member of the National Honor Society . . . son of James Hein . . . born June 27, 1995 . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Maryland, Marshall and Ohio State.
Boss on Heim: “Jonah Heim is an immediate difference maker. He’s a 6-4 catcher who switch hit and will hit it for some power. He’s very good defensively and has a chance to be an outstanding player here and have a long career in the game of baseball. He’s a guy that we’re extremely excited about because he can catch, he can play first base, but offensively he is ready right now and he has only begun to scratch the surface of his abilities and potential. A switch hitter that’s 6-4 and 195 pounds is pretty special. Jonah is an outstanding leader as well, and another young man who will only make our program and University better.”
Seth Johnson • Gobles, Mich. • Gobles High School • 5-9 • 175 • L/R • INF/OF
Will be a four-year letterwinner under Coach Randy Ayres at Gobles High School . . . will be a two-time captain . . . ranked the No. 24 player in the state of Michigan by MichiganBaseballProspects.org and No. 25 by Prep Baseball Report . . . earned Division 4 first-team all-state honors from the MHSBCA (Michigan High School Coaches Association) after hitting seven home runs and 15 doubles to go along with 46 RBIs, 41 runs and 10 stolen bases . . . helped lead Gobles to a 25-9 record in 2012 and a 22-8 record in 2011 . . . three-time all-conference and all-district selection . . . two-time all-region pick . . . played summer baseball for the Detroit Metro Stars and hit .426 with three homers and 35 RBIs . . . also a four-year letterwinner in football as a wide receiver and defensive back; elected captain his senior year . . . son of Brian and Amy Johnson . . . born Dec. 8, 1994 . . . plans to major in communication . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Ball State.
Boss on Johnson: “Seth really plays the game hard. He swings the bat well, and he’s a guy that we can move around a little bit, too, both in the infield and outfield. He’s another left-handed hitter who handles the bat well with a high level hitting approach with surprising power. Seth is an energetic player who will provide a spark to our offensive attack and is a very solid leader who will continue to get better and make those around him better.”
Jake Lowery • Highland, Mich. • Hartland High School • 6-3 • 195 • R/R • RHP
Will be a four-year letterwinner under Coach Brian Morrison at Hartland High School . . . will be a two-time captain . . . ranked the No. 2 player in the state of Michigan by MichiganBaseballProspects.org, No. 4 by Prep Baseball Report.com and No. 5 by Perfect Game . . . in three years at Hartland, has compiled 25 wins and 259 strikeouts in 190 innings . . . earned Division I second-team all-state honors from the MHSBCA (Michigan High School Coaches Association) in 2012 as a junior . . . also earned all-region, all-district and all-county honors after helping Hartland to a 25-11-1 record as the team played in the state quarterfinals for the second straight year . . . hit .358 last season . . . was named all-region, all-district and all-country as a sophomore in 2011 as the Eagles went 33-4 and advanced to the state quarterfinals . . . earned all-district and all-country accolades as a freshman in 2010 after batting .377 . . . son of Kevin and Teri Lowery . . . born Oct. 17, 1994 . . . plans to major in business . . . his father, Kevin, played baseball at the University of Detroit . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Michigan.
Boss on Lowery: “Jake is a highly projectable right-handed pitcher who’s got a big arm. He was one of the first guys to commit to this class over a year ago. He’s extremely athletic and even used to catch, and he can swing the bat well. We may look for him to swing the bat a little bit for us when he gets here in the fall, but we will primarily use him on the mound. Jake possesses an intense competitive fire and plays with a high motor that feeds off his tremendous work ethic. He will be looked upon to contribute significantly as a freshman.”
Dakota Mekkes • Jenison, Mich. • Jenison High School • 6-7 • 225 • R/R • RHP
Will be a three-year letterwinner under Coach Joe Devries at Jenison High School . . . has played summer baseball with the West Michigan Elite for the past four years . . . also lettered in basketball and was named a captain for his senior year . . . son of Doug and Kim Mekkes. . . born Nov. 6, 1994 . . . plans to major in kinesiology . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Central Michigan, Toledo and Oakland.
Boss on Mekkes: “Dakota is a big, strong, athletic right-handed pitcher who comes from a very good program with a great deal of tradition in Jenison High School. He has only begun to scratch the surface of his abilities and it’s exciting to think about how much he will improve and how good he will be in the future. Dakota has a very strong arm and a work ethic that is off the charts. He plays high school basketball as well and is very skilled on the court. We expect him to compete for significant innings as a freshman as well.”
Connor Mohr • Farmington, Mich. • Farmington High School • 6-0 • 205 • R/L • OF
Will be a four-year letterwinner under Coach Peter Finn at Farmington High School . . . will be a two-time captain . . . ranked the No. 20 player in the state of Michigan by Prep Baseball Report and No. 24 by Perfect Game . . . set school records in stolen bases and triples as a junior in 2012 and was named all-area, all-district and all-conference . . . was an all-conference pick as a sophomore in 2011 . . . also a four-year letterwinner in football and a two-time captain . . . earned all-league and all-area honorable mention honors in football as a sophomore in 2010 . . . son of David and Bridget Mohr . . . born Sept. 29, 1994 . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Maryland, Western Michigan, Harvard and Winthrop.
Boss on Mohr: “Connor Mohr is another very athletic young man who runs very, very well. He reminded us of Brandon Eckerle when we first saw him play because he plays hard and does everything the right way. He plays football as well for Farmington and will bring that tough, hard-nosed attitude to the outfield and scrappy type of approach to the plate. Connor is also an outstanding student and a very impressive young man.”
Andrew Sabrosky • Holt, Mich. • Holt High School • 6-2 • 190 • R/R • RHP/OF
Will be a three-year letterwinner under Coach Nathan Potts at Holt High School . . . ranked the No. 3 player in the state of Michigan by Perfect Game, No. 4 by MichiganBaseballProspects.org and No. 6 by Prep Baseball Report . . . compiled a 6-1 record on the mound and hit .389 with two homers and 33 RBIs as a junior in 2012 to earn all-area, all-conference and all-district first team honors . . . helped lead Holt to a 30-7 record and the CAAC Blue title . . . also named to the Lansing State Journal Dream Team . . . was a Perfect Game USA Preseason High School Underclassmen All-American honorable mention pick in 2012 . . . threw a no-hitter his sophomore year while going 7-0 with 1.77 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings; was an all-area honorable mention pitcher . . . also lettered in football while playing quarterback his junior year . . . lists his greatest athletic experience as qualifying for the Little League World Series in Chino Hills, Calif., by hitting a walk-off home run in the regional tournament. . . son of Jake and Kara Sabrosky . . . born Oct. 16, 1994 . . . plans to major in pre-dentistry . . . chose Michigan State over several schools, including Michigan, Louisville, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
Boss on Sabrosky: “Andrew is very athletic right-handed pitcher with an excellent arm who has gotten his fastball in the upper 80s-90 mph range. He’s a very projectable body that’s going to continue to get better and better. Along with Walter Borkovich and Jake Lowery, I think Andrew will have a chance to contribute right away as a freshman. Having grown up in our back yard, it was important for us to keep Andrew a Spartan and we couldn’t be happier that he is here. He comes from a great family and will join former Holt High School teammate Justin Alleman next fall in the Green and White.”