Rick Voight

2019 Baseball Signing Class

December 04, 2018
By ODU Athletics
Caleb Balgaard INF Fenton, Mich. Howell Indiana & Iowa Western CC
Joey DeChiaro LHP Flemington, N.J. Hunterdon Central
Chris Dengler INF Charleston, S.C. Bishop England
Jeff LaRosa INF West Hartford, Conn. Conard
Robbie Petracci OF Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Egg Harbor Township
Geo Rivera RHP Williamsburg, Va. Lafayette
Patrick Routsis RHP Midlothian, Va. St. Christopher's

Tune in to the latest episode of the ODU Baseball Podcast for more discussion on the 2019 signing class. Discussion on the signees begins at approximately the 11:20 mark.


Position: INF
B/T: R/R
Hometown: Fenton, Michigan
Previous School: Iowa Western Community College
Biography: Balgaard is currently at Iowa Western after transferring to IWCC following a year at Indiana. A highly-recruited player out of Howell High School in Michigan, Balgaard was an All-State perfomer in his prep days, hitting .445 as a senior and concluding his career as Howell’s all-time leader in career hits. At Indiana, Balgaard did not see game action.

"Caleb is a big physical player who runs well and projects to be a middle of the order hitter. He started his career at the University of Indiana before transferring to IWCC. We love Caleb’s work ethic, energy and versatility.” - Coach Finwood on Balgaard 


Position: LHP
B/T: R/L
Hometown: Flemington, New Jersey
High School: Hunterdon Central
Biography: DeChiaro, a left-handed pitcher out of New Jersey, had a breakout season as a junior in 2018. He went 9-1 with a 0.98 ERA for Hunterdon Central, helping play a part in five shutouts. The Skyland Conference Player of the Year by NJ.com, DeChiaro ended the season with seven consecutive wins and a 55/13 K/BB ratio. With a career record of 21-3, DeChiaro is three wins shy of tying the school record.

“Joey plays for coach Kevin Cuozzi at Hunterdon Central high school in Flemington, New Jersey. Joey is a tough-minded competitor who really mixes his pitches well and has been to three NJ state finals. Joey has won 21 games so far in his high school career.” - Coach Finwood on DeChiaro 


Position: INF
B/T: R/R
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
High School: Bishop England
Biography: Dengler comes to ODU with a championship-winning pedigree. At Bishop England High School in South Carolina, Dengler helped lead the team to back-to-back AAA state championships in 2017 and 2018. A well-rounded athlete, Dengler also excelled on the gridiron for Bishop England, averaging 80 yards receiving per game in 2018.

“Chris plays for coach David McCabe at Bishop England high school and is also a member of the Evoshield Canes Program. We love Chris’ athleticism; he also played wide receiver on his football team. Chris projects as a middle infielder for us.” - Coach Finwood on Dengler 


Position: INF
B/T: L/R
Hometown: West Hartford, Connecticut
High School: Conard
Biography: LaRosa comes to ODU from Conard High School in Connecticut, where he excelled on both the diamond and the football field. A career .333 hitter, LaRosa has played all four infield positions, primarily shortstop and third base, and also pitched during his prep career.

“Jeff is a good hitter with a strong arm and should be capable of playing all four infield positions. We like Jeff’s athleticism and savvy. His versatility will fit in well with our philosophy. Jeff plays for coach Sanjay Rambhia at Conard High School in Connecticut.” - Coach Finwood on LaRosa 


Position: OF
B/T: L/L
Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
High School: Egg Harbor Township
Biography: Petracci is a left-handed outfielder from New Jersey. Petracci hit .377 last year as a junior with 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in 22 games, helping Egg Harbor Township become ranked as high as No. 4 in South Jersey. Petracci also plays for the prestigious Baseball U club program.

“Robbie is a left-handed hitter with a compact stroke and has always hit. He plays for coach Bryan Carmichael at Egg Harbor Township high school in New Jersey. Robbie also plays for Jim Wells in the prestigious Baseball U program. We think Robbie has a bright future here in our outfield.” - Coach Finwood on Petracci


Position: RHP
B/T: R/R
Hometown: Williamsburg, Virginia
High School: Lafayette
Biography: Rivera is a strong, hard-throwing right-handed pitcher out of Lafayette High School in Williamsburg. Ranked as one of the top pitchers in the commonwealth for the class of 2019, Rivera also played outfield during his high school career. 

“Geo is a strong, hard thrower with a good slider. He is one of the top pitchers in Virginia in the 2019 class. Geo plays for Rick Schenk at Lafayette high school. Geo has so much leadership to his personality and is a fierce competitor.” - Coach Finwood on Rivera


Position: RHP
B/T: R/R
Hometown: Midlothian, Virginia
High School: St. Christopher's
Biography: A right-handed pitcher, Routsis had a breakout season last year as junior, going 7-0 with a 0.89 ERA. Routsis helped St. Christopher’s to the Prep League and VISAA championships, as the team finished 24-1 and ranked No. 21 in the nation by the USA Today. He posted 75 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched, including 18 strikeouts in three state tourney games, and only gave up three earned runs in 12 games.

“Patrick plays for Tony Szmendera at St. Christopher’s and helped them win the state championship last year. He is also the quarterback on the football team. Patrick really competes well and doesn’t have a ton of miles on his arm so we like his growth potential.” - Coach Finwood on Routsis

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