Belleville West senior to play two sports at Quincy University

News-DemocratApril 2, 2014 

An ambitious sort, Brendan Saak didn't just decide to play one sport at Quincy University.

The Belleville West senior is going to play two after receiving a scholarship for baseball, football and academics at the Division II university located in western Illinois.

"It's something I've always done my entire life," said Saak a wide receiver in football and an outfielder and pitcher in baseball. "I think it would be weird just playing one sport. I like to stay busy and not have a lot of down time. I thought it would be kind of cool to keep it going."

Belleville West baseball coach Lee Meyer thinks Saak, who has a 4.2 grade-point average. has a lot of untapped potential in baseball.

"They recruited him for football first and he expressed a desire to play baseball, too, and they accommodated him," Meyer said. "He's going as an outfielder and I believe they could also look at him on the mound."

One of Saak's best assets is his quickness.

"He gets good jumps on balls and he has speed to go with it," Meyer said. "He's just a take-charge guy in the outfield, which coaches love."

Saak is off to a slow start at the plate this season, hitting .200 with three RBIs.

"I don't let it bother me, it's a long season," he said.

Before deciding on Quincy, Saak was talking to Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington about playing both sports.

He also had baseball interest from Lake Land Junior College, but had trouble going forward without football in his future.

"I've played football since I was 5, so I've played that the longest," Saak said. "That would be the hardest to give up. They said you've got to be really focused (to play both sports) and I told them I was up for the challenge."

Saak was a wide receiver for the Maroons, who finished 7-3 last fall and lost 21-14 to Oswego East in the state football playoffs.

He led West with 28 catches for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

* Waterloo High senior pitcher Austin Nunnery has signed with Southwestern Illinois College to play baseball.

"He really has a good presence on the mound and consistently throws strikes," Waterloo coach Mark Vogel said of Nunnery, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 18 strikeouts and one walk in 10 innings.

As a junior, Nunnery was 4-4 with a 2.80 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 45 innings.

Waterloo senior pitcher-outfielder Nathan Goodsell recently signed with Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey to play baseball. Goodsell is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with one home run and three RBIs and is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA on the mound in 3 1/3 innings.

"The way he's swinging the bat right now he's got a chance to do both (pitch and play a position)," Vogel said of Goodsell, who hit .381 as a junior with three doubles and 11 RBIs.

Waterloo catcher Jonny Albers (.259, 15 RBIs last season) has signed with Purdue-Calumet and pitcher-outfielder Tyler Hebel signed with Mid-Continent University in Kentucky.

Hebel was 1-0 with a 2.80 in 10 innings of work last spring and 1-0 with a 1.75 ERA this season.

* Mascoutah High volleyball player Megan Messer, a 5-foot-10 senior right-side hitter, has signed with Southwestern Illinois College.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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