Baseball: Bill Angelo pleased ECC serving as stepping stone
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org July 14, 2012 7:18PM
Updated: August 17, 2012 6:51AM
Elgin Community College’s baseball program can claim yet another success story with former players Ryan Hudspeth and Ryan Richardson moving on to Michigan State.
Hudspeth and Richardson follow in a long line of former ECC players who have gone on to play for Division I programs or other four-year schools, which is just what coach Bill Angelo envisioned when he took over the program 15 years ago.
“The plan was for Elgin Community College to be a stepping stone to bigger and better things,” said Angelo, who notched his 500th career victory this spring. “We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success and have a lot of quality players play here.
“We’ve also had a lot of players go on to other programs and have a lot of success. I think that kind of confirms that guys are working hard here and things are being done the right way.”
Hudspeth and Richardson, both St. Charles North graduates, aren’t the only players from ECC’s 2012 team continuing their careers elsewhere.
St. Charles North graduate Matt Stevens has signed to play at Division II power Tusculum College in Tennessee. Hampshire graduate Ryan Burke is staying closer to home and going to Judson University while Liam Pegg plans to play at Roosevelt University.
Art Sutter is transferring from ECC after only one season to Missouri, where he hopes to walk on and land a spot as a pitcher for the Tigers.
Larkin graduate Justin Kalusa also hopes to continue his college career, perhaps at NAIA Indiana Tech, but he hasn’t finalized his decision. Kalusa landed NJCAA Division II All-America honors after his sophomore season this spring, setting ECC’s all-time hits record in the process with 173 hits over the past two years.
“I think at some point Justin is going to get an opportunity to play some pro ball somewhere,” Angelo said.
A fresh crop of players is expected to join ECC next spring. Headlining the local contingent are Mike Murphy and Ryan Ford from South Elgin, Robert Smith and Robert Sadowski from Bartlett, Austin Royse from Larkin, Mike Hazelhurst from Dundee-Crown and Cody Wallace from Burlington Central.
ECC also has a few players transferring in from other schools. St. Charles East graduate Robert Wendt comes to the Spartans from Kankakee Community College, Marmion graduate Tim Tarter is transferring from Illinois-Chicago and Prairie Ridge graduate Andy Kovarik will transfer from St. Xavier University.
Those newcomers will try to help ECC improve on its 32-19 record from last season. The Spartans have captured six league titles in the past 11 years and five Region IV titles and five District titles under Angelo.
“Looking back on it, I wouldn’t do it any other way,” Hudspeth said of his decision to play for two years at ECC. “The coaching staff at ECC helped tremendously with getting me prepared to pitch at the Division I level. They also helped me mature as a person as far as getting school work done, having priorities and knowing how to handle everything as a college athlete.”