Nov. 22, 2002
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team looks to climb even higher in the Big West Conference with a few key additions. The Gauchos continue to build by signing two high school players and a junior college transfer to national letters of intent during the early signing period. Prepsters Chris Valaika and David Filipiak and junior college transfer Bobbie Legro agreed to suit up for the Gauchos starting in the 2004 season.
Chris Valaika, a talented shortstop out of Hart High School in Newhall, CA, is the top addition to this year's class. "We have been watching and wanting Chris for a couple of years. He was the key guy to our recruiting class. We really felt that shortstop was a critical need and that Chris is one of the best infielders out there. We are very excited about his decision to play for the Gauchos. He is a very good student and a great kid" said Bob Brontsema, head baseball coach at UCSB. Valaika was a participant in the 2002 Area Code games. He also played for the U.S. Junior National Team at the World Games in 2001. Valaika was also recruited by Nebraska, Fresno State, Wake Forrest and Baylor.
David Filipiak comes to the Gauchos from Laguna Hills High School in Laguna Hills, CA. The right-handed pitcher was also a participant in the 2002 Area Codes games. Brontsema calls Filipiak a "competitor" with a 90 mph fastball with a good split-finger. "David was a guy that came out of nowhere for us. The first time I saw him I felt he would be a great fit for our program. He has the stuff to come in and pitch right away. Because he is a great student, we hope that the draft doesn't keep him from us," said Brontsema. Filipiak has participated in the Junior Olympics in Tucson, AZ and in the Team One National Showcase. He was also recruited by Cal, Duke, San Diego and Santa Clara.
Robbie Legro will be joining the UCSB pitching staff by way of Golden West College. "We looked at a lot of left-handed pitchers because we felt it was a major need for our pitching staff. Robbie has a great feel for pitching and the experience to step in and be a weekend guy for us," said Brontsema. "We're very excited to be able to get him from the great baseball schools that were recruiting him." Legro was also recruited by Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge.
"We return a lot of key players and felt that we only had a couple of key holes to fill. We are very excited about these three quality student athletes who should fill these holes nicely. All three should be drafted, but because of their academic background, we feel that there's a good chance we'll see them all come Fall 2003," Brontsema commented on the recruiting class.