Nov. 11, 2010
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Jeff Schalk, a versatile left-handed hitter from Wheaton, Ill., has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend UAB and compete for the Blazer baseball program.
Schalk, who attends Wheaton North High School, is listed by the Perfect Game USA scouting service as the sixth-best player in Illinois in this year's signing class and the No. 138 recruit nationally. He is ranked as the No. 31 outfielder but also plays both corner infield positions.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have Jeff Schalk joining our program next year," UAB baseball coach Brian Shoop said. "We needed to add a big left-handed bat to our lineup, and Jeff will fill that role in a big way. We really believe Jeff is one of the best left-handed high school hitters in the country."
A two-time all-conference selection for Wheaton North, Schalk earned all-area honorable mention honors as a junior this past spring after hitting .344 with eight home runs, seven doubles and 41 RBI. He also scored 37 runs and stole 16 bases.
As a sophomore in 2009, Schalk hit .350 with 11 doubles, six home runs and 34 RBI. He managed a .451 on-base percentage, a .650 slugging percentage and walked more times (18) than he struck out (16).
Outside of the high school ranks, Schalk has played summer baseball for Illinois Sparks, where he teamed with current UAB freshman infielder Matt Morse.
"Jeff wanted to come south to play college baseball, and we all hit it off right from the start," Shoop said. "I always say recruiting is about finding a match, and we believe that UAB and Jeff Schalk are a perfect fit. He will play a big role for us, and we believe he will love his college experience in Birmingham. We know that he is prepared for college baseball, having played in a great high school program at Wheaton North and having also excelled for a great summer travel team, the Illinois Sparks."
Schalk has been a three-sport athlete in high school, also competing in basketball and football. He was an all-conference honorable mention performer on the court as a junior, averaging nearly 11 points and more than five rebounds per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor. He has also served as his football team's placekicker and punter.
Schalk will enroll at UAB for the 2011-12 academic year and compete for the Blazers beginning with the 2012 season.
"Jeff is a great athlete as evidenced by his playing three sports in high school," Shoop said. "We believe he will only get better when he focuses on baseball alone. His athleticism is further evidenced by the fact that he can play in the outfield, first base, third base and even catch. We love the fact that he can play all over the field and fully expect Jeff to be a center piece of our offense for years to come."
Schalk will join three other Illinois products in the UAB baseball program. Morse (Sandwich, Ill./Sandwich HS), Dillon Napoleon (Winnetka, Ill./Heartland CC) and Ryan Prinzing (Oswego, Ill./Oswego HS) are currently on the Blazers' roster.