Sat July 7, 2012
By Sean Duncan
LHP: Kevin Duchene, Joliet Catholic Academy HS
No pitcher was more dominant this season than Duchene. The University of Illinois recruit carved up top-ranked opponents all spring, helping the Hilltoppers climb to No. 1 in the state for a period of time and win the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Duchene works both sides of the plate with three pitches, in any count, including an 86-89 mph fastball. Exactly how dominant was Duchene? Well, he yielded only one earned run in 51 innings for a 0.14 ERA. He struck out 95, walked nine and had a remarkable WHIP of 0.61. His perfect 8-0 record included victories over state powers Marist, Plainfield North, Lockport, Carmel, and Lemont to name a few.
Duchene earned Porsche Exchange Player of the Week honors after he shut out Class 3A champion Marian Catholic, striking out 12 and yielding one hit in four innings. Then he punched out 16 with no walks in a complete-game four-hitter against Marist. As a junior, Duchene went 8-1 with a 2.56 for the Hilltoppers.
RHP: Kyle Funkhouser, Oak Forest HS
A two-time Prep Baseball Report first-team All-State selection, Funkhouser will go down as one of Illinois’ most decorated pitchers in recent history. In three varsity seasons, the University of Louisville recruit amassed an incredible 32-3 record after going 11-2 during his senior campaign. Few, if pitcher, possessed better stuff than Funkhouser. His fastball regularly sat in the 88-90 mph range, climbing as high as 94 mph in the playoffs, and he commanded the strike zone with three pitches.
A workhorse on the mound, Funkhouse racked up 123 strikeouts and walked 25 in 78.2 innings as a senior. He finished with a 0.89 ERA - a number that would’ve been significantly lower if not for an anomalous game against Andrew. As a junior, Funkhouser led Oak Forest to a Class 3A runner-up finish after he went 12-0 with a 0.84 ERA. In 82.2 innings, he struck out 134 and walked 25. He also posted a 9-1 record as a sophomore.
RHP: Jack Landwehr, Prospect HS
Landwehr leaves Prospect having broken nearly every school pitching record, including all-time wins (26-5) and career strikeouts (240). He also single-handedly carried the Knights to their first state finish as a junior.
A two-time Prep Baseball Report first-team All-State selection, Landwehr was perhaps even more dominant than he was as a junior, but didn’t have the same results. In 70.2 innings, the right-hander struck out 100 and walked 11. He held a 0.59 ERA and limited opponents to 40 hits. His record, however, didn’t reflect his dominance. He finished with a 7-3 mark; two of those losses were of the 1-0 variety, both times the runs were unearned.
Landwehr is also a top-level defensive third baseman who batted .417 with nine doubles and 21 RBI. As a junior, the Illinois State recruit broke the school’s single-season record for wins when he went 14-2 while leading the Knights to a third-place finish. He struck out 114 and walked only 11 in 85.1 innings.
C: Chad Johnson, Galesburg HS
Widely considered one of the top defensive catchers in the state, the left-handed hitting Johnson was the first Illinois high school player selected in the Major League Baseball Draft when the Kansas City Royals picked him the fifth round, 163rd overall. Not too long after, Johnson signed and was shipped off to rookie ball, foregoing his scholarship to Illinois State University.
The fifth-round selection took some by surprise, though there’s no doubting the valuable skill sets Johnson possesses. He’s an advanced receiver with athletic feet and a strong, accurate arm. Moreover, Johnson also showed left-handed power potential this spring, as he finished with seven home runs, including one at Busch Stadium. He also tallied 14 doubles, 38 RBI, 36 hits, and was walked 32 times, all team-highs for the Silver Streaks.Johnson showed especially well at the Super 60 Pro Showcase in February. As a junior, he batted .398 with five homers.
1B: Zach Stoner, Rockford Boylan HS
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Stoner possessed perhaps the state’s purest left-handed swing. His athleticism and ability to hit for power from the left side led him to being selected in the 12th round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. Stoner signed shortly after the draft, foregoing his scholarship to Southern Illinois University.
Also a solid catcher, Stoner has been a big run-producer for the last two seasons. As a senior, Stoner helped lead the Titans to a second consecutive NIC-10 championship by batting .461 with 44 RBI. He tallied 9 doubles, 3 triples and 4 home runs while being pitched around for much of the season. Stoner walked 31 times and finished with a .643 on-base percentage and struck out 16 times. When Stoner’s offensive prowess wasn’t as well-known as a junior, he compiled a .495 batting average with 9 home runs and 40 RBI.
MIF: Tyler Leffler, Benton HS
Leffler opened the season on fire, earning Porsche Exchange Player of the Week honors after belting 7 homers and 19 RBI in the first week. The athletic Bradley University recruit continued his torrid hitting throughout his senior season and finished with the most impressive offensive numbers in the state.
Leffler led Benton to a 31-7 record and had the Class 2A program in the Top 25 state rankings for most of the season. The new bats certainly didn’t affect Leffler’s power numbers. He finished with an amazing 35 extra-base hits - 17 home runs, 15 doubles and 3 triples - while batting .523. He tallied 68 runs, 67 hits and 20 stolen bases. Leffler batted .500 with runners in scoring position, a big reason why he drove in 53 runs. He also slugged at a 1.086 clip and had an on-base percentage of .619. A three-year varsity standout, Leffler also posted an 8-2 record with a 3.44 ERA on the mound for the Rangers.
MIF: Kevin Ross, Niles West HS
3B: Dan Durkin, Andrew HS
As a sophomore, Dan Durkin led the Thunderbolts in hitting with a .370 batting average and 34 RBI. So internally, Andrew coach Dave DeHaan knew he had his middle-of-the-lineup hitter for the next few years. But no way DeHaan could’ve predicted the kind of year the left-handed hitting junior delivered this spring. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Durkin led the talent-rich south suburbs of Chicago in hitting with a robust .523 batting average. He finished with 43 runs scored, 3 home runs and drove in 31 runs.
He set the tone in early April when he was named Porsche Exchange Player of the Week honors after he delivered 10 consecutive hits, including two home runs, and reached base 12 straight times. He finished his whirlwind week 14-for-22 with two homers, two doubles and 10 RBI, and did so against top-level pitchers.Durkin also anchored Andrew’s defense at third base, proving to be one of the better defenders in the area.
OF: Corey Ray, Simeon HS
Despite being under the spotlight for the past two years, the Corey Ray has continued to shine. As one of the most celebrated outfield prospects in the Class of 2013, he left-handed hitting Ray has produced on the biggest of stages. Verbally committed to the University of Louisville, Ray’s all-around play earned him a spot on the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in August.
A high-energy player, Ray’s speed, baseball instincts and strong arm has made him one of the top defensive outfielders in the country. Offensively, Ray has a quick and explosive left-handed swing which he used to bat .429 as a junior. He finished with 5 home runs, 5 triples and 6 doubles. He drove in 35 runs, scored 35 runs and stole 5 bases. He finished with a .515 on-base percentage and an .814 slugging percentage. Ray’s all-around play helped the Wolverines to an extremely successful season which included a Chicago Public League championship.
OF: Zack Weigel, Oak Park-River Forest HS
Named the Prep Baseball Report Player of the Year, Zack Weigel quietly did it all in leading Oak Park to its surprising Class 4A state championship. With little flash and no fanfare, Weigel’s two-way abilities and leadership pushed the Huskies to their first state title since 1982.
On the mound, the left-hander had an incredible 15.1 consecutive innings of no-hit baseball. Weigel anchored the staff by going 7-1 with a 1.71 ERA, using his four-pitch mix to strike out 61 and walk 19 in 52 innings. His record included a no-hitter against Downers Grove North, a six-inning no-hitter against York (had to leave the game with leg cramps), a one-hitter vs. Evanston, and two two-hitters, including a 1-0 shutout in the supersectionals against Highland Park. Offensively, the Seton Hall recruit led the Huskies in nearly every category. He batted .431 with 14 doubles, 5 home runs and 1 triple. He drove in 41 runs, scored 43 and tallied 47 hits while striking out only 4 times.
OF: Tyler Jay, Lemont HS
Primarily known for his prowess on the mound, Tyler Jay also made a big name for himself at the plate this spring. He hit well above .500 for most of the spring and finished with a .484 batting average. The left-handed hitter also slugged at a .684 clip, as he tallied 10 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer and 35 RBI for the Indians.
Jay’s offensive numbers, however, only tell part of his story. Jay blossomed into one of the state’s more dominant left-handed prospects, as his velocity spiked in the 87-91 mph range to go along with his effective curveball and changeup. Signed at the University of Illinois, Jay struck out 88 in 49 innings (1.8 per inning), and walked 19. He finished with an 8-3 record and a 1.14 ERA against some of the best teams in the state. Jay first established himself during his sophomore year, when he posted a 5-0 record for the Indians. Over the last two seasons he racked up 158 strikeouts in 89 innings. Jay also was a standout wide receiver and returner on Lemont’s football team.
UTILITY: Keith Lehmann, Lyons Township HS
The only question surrounding Keith Lehmann is what will the multi-talented junior do for an encore? Already, the two-way standout helped lead Lyons Township to a Class 4A state championship as a sophomore, and nearly propelled the Lions to a repeat this spring, falling in the championship game, 4-3, to Oak Park.
Lehmann certainly did everything within his power to get the Lions back to the title game. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder was equally as dominant on the mound as he was at the plate. The right-hander used his 87-90 mph fastball and sharp breaking ball to go 10-2 with a 0.86 ERA. In 80 innings, he struck out 83 and walked 16.
Also a standout third baseman, Lehmann led Lyons Township in nearly every offensive category. He finished with 7 home runs, 13 doubles, 37 RBI and a .343 batting average. As a sophomore, Lehmann also hit 7 home runs during the Lions’ championship run.
LHP: Daniel Lietz, Homewood-Flossmoor HS
Lietz has a gift of missing bats, evidenced by his 123 strikeouts in 67 innings - an average of 1.8 per inning. The hard-throwing lefty walked 19 and had an ERA of 1.04. Despite his dominance, Lietz finished with a tough-luck 9-4 record. Signed at Heartland CC.
LHP: E.J. Trapino, Richmond-Burton HS
The left-hander was nearly perfect in his senior year, finishing with a 12-1 record. His only loss came in the Class 2A supersectional. He racked up 120 strikeouts and 41 walks in 73 innings, and finished with a 0.77 ERA. Also hit .405 with 22 RBI. Signed at Wright State
RHP: Sam Hopkins, O’Fallon HS
The right-hander has been the ultimate workhorse for O'Fallon, as he has amassed a 21-3 record over the last two seasons. This spring he pitched all the big games, finishing with an 11-1 record and a 1.07 ERA. In 72 IP, he K'd 61. Signed at SIU-Edwardsville.
C: Jack Picchiotti, Oak Park-River Forest HS
The four-year standout has been a hitting machine since his freshman year. The left-handed hitter tripled twice in the 4A championship game to help the Huskies to a state title. Finished with a .458 BA and 9 doubles, 4 homers, and 38 RBI. Signed at Purdue.
1B: Zach Jones, Glenbrook South HS
Jones possesses one of the purest left-handed swings in the state, which helped him finish with a .463 batting average this spring. He also talled 16 doubles, 6 triples, 2 homers, 40 runs, 29 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Signed at Northwestern.
MIF: Chris Tschida, Joliet Catholic Academy
The 6-foot-2 athlete enjoyed a breakout junior campaign, as he led the Hilltoppers in most offensive categories. He finished with a .495 batting average to go along with 10 doubles, 7 triples, 3 homers and 33 RBI. He also scored 37 runs and had a .626 OBP.
MIF: Anthony Mack, Libertyville HS
The left-handed hitting shortstop broke Libertyville's school record for batting average, finishing at an amazing .532. He also led the Wildcats with 50 hits, 35 runs and 34 RBI. He amassed 11 doubles, 4 triples and 1 homer. Signed at Grinnell College.
3B: Zach Reks, Sandburg HS
Hard to believe, but Reks nearly surpassed his junior year when he batted .500. Reks delivered another stellar campaign in which he batted .495 with 44 RBI. He finished with 12 doubles, 4 homers, 50 hits and 24 runs for the Eagles. Signed at Air Force Academy.
OF: Mike Hermosillo, Ottawa HS
The junior is one of the top athletes in the state. Also a football standout, Hermosillo swiped 43 bases and batted .512 with a slugging percentage of .927. He finished with 6 doubles, 5 triples, 6 homers, 30 RBI, 42 hits and was walked 20 times this spring.
OF: Jordan Getzelman, Prairie Ridge HS
A two-sport standout, the athletic junior established himself as one of the premier prospects in the class after he belted 9 home runs and 28 RBI. He finished with a .396 batting average, 42 runs, 42 hits, 12 stolen bases and played a stellar defensive outfield.
OF: Zach Kutsulis, Providence Catholic HS
Kutsulis earned a scholarship to Notre Dame as a left-handed pitcher, but his two-way abilities led the Celtics to the Catholic Blue title. On the mound, he finished with a 7-2 record and a 2.18 ERA with 47 Ks. Offensively, he tallied 5 homers, 30 RBI and a .402 BA.
UT: Kevin Smith, St. Laurence HS
The junior right-hander won his first 7 games against top-level teams and finished with an 8-1 record and a 1.45 ERA. He walked only 12 in 65.1 innings. Offensively, the Creighton recruit batted .368 with 4 homers, 9 doubles, 30 RBI. Transferrred to LW-North.
RHP: Brendan Miller, Plainfield North HS
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior emerged as a shutdown pitcher for the Tigers. A big reason why Plainfield North was once again a top 10 team for much of the season, Miller finished 11-0 with a 0.85 ERA. In 66.2 innings, he notched 74 strikeouts and walked 11.
RHP: Mike Miller, Lincoln-Way North HS
The 6-foot-1 right-hander was the primary reason the Phoenix were one of the top teams in the state. As the staff ace, Miller notched a 9-1 record against the teams's toughest competition. The junior finished with a 1.26 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 72 innings.
RHP: Mike Lynch, LaSalle-Peru HS
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior led the Cavaliers to a runner-up finish in Class 3A. He finished a perfect 13-0 with an amazing 0.63 ERA. In 83 innings, he struck out 96 and walked 19. He yielded one earned run in the Cavs' semifinal win over Triad in the semifinals.
C: Tanner Scott, Burlington Central HS
As one of the state's most decorated hitters, Scott delivered another statistically phenomenal season. The senior blasted 13 homers, 12 doubles and tallied 48 RBI while batting .433. He walked 28 times and slugged at an .875 clip. Finished with 40 career home runs.
C: Derek Bangert, Lockport HS
The physical 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior powered the Porters' offense, finishing with a .491 batting average. Bangert, who possesses a strong arm, also recorded 14 doubles and 5 home runs while driving in 25 runs. He also limited opponents' running game.
1B: Keaton Wright, Triad HS
The left-handed hitting junior powered the Knights to a fourth-place finish in Class 3A - the school's first state trophy. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder finished with 18 doubles, 4 home runs, 2 triples and drove in 48 runs. He also scored 47 runs and notched 55 hits.
MIF: Joe Kubera, Rockford Boylan HS
A two-way standout, Kubera led the Titans to another NIC-10 title. Offensively, he batted .500 with 53 hits, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers, 45 runs and 28 RBI. He finished with a .586 OBP and made only 5 errors in the field. On the mound he went 5-2 with 3 saves.
3B: Cole Logemann, Lena-Winslow HS
The 6-foot-2 senior led the Panthers to the Class A state semifinals by posting ridiculous offensive numbers: .496 batting average, 61 RBI, 56 runs, 14 doubles, 6 home runs and 63 hits in 127 at-bats. Logemann also played a strong defensive third base.
OF: Jake Romano, Dundee-Crown HS
The speedy left-handed hitter finished with a .511 batting average and an OBP of .590. The leadoff man swiped 22 bases, and finished with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 21 RBI and 1 home run. A top-level defender, he committed only 1 error. Signed at Miami Ohio.
OF: Josh Perlmutter, New Trier HS
A top-level athlete, Perlmutter served as the Trevians' offensive catalyst. The senior finished with 7 home runs, 5 triples and 2 doubles while batting .422. He drove in 30 runs, scored 33, and stole 8 bases. He did not commit an error in the outfield. Signed at Northwestern.
OF: Jake Ring, Grant HS
As one of the state's premier athletes, the junior left-handed hitter has stolen 68 bases in 2 seasons. He finished the year with a .455 BA, 50 runs, 46 hits, 28 SBs, 28 RBI, 8 doubles and 4 triples while leading Grant to a third-place finish in Class 3A.
UT: Tyler Feece, Vernon Hills HS
The junior left-hander did it all for the Cougars in leading them to a 30-win season. On the mound, Feece served as the team's workhorse, compiling a 12-2 record with a 0.77 ERA. In 54.2 innings, he notched 79 strikeouts. Offensively, he batted over .400.