2014 PBR First Team All-State



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

From snow in early May to Providence Catholic’s run to the Class 4A state championship, the 2014 high school season was filled with many surprises. Less surprising, however, were the many incredible individual seasons delivered by players expected, more or less, to carry their teams.

The Illinois 2014 Prep Baseball Report first-team All-State squad features a talented group of prospects that helped their respective teams to successful seasons. Our All-State teams pull from the entire state, all classifications.

The players below, we believed, were the most dominant at their respective positions. Some positions were more loaded than others, especially catchers and pitchers. Only one junior, Westmont SS Charlie Donovan, made the first team.

Without further ado, a look at the 2014 first-team All-State selections:

Pitcher

Jake Latz, LHP, Lemont HS, 2014
Named the Illinois 2014 Prep Baseball Report Player of the Year. Latz may have gotten a delayed start of the season, but ever since the 6-foot-2, 190-pound left-hander made his first appearance on April 9, he was nearly untouchable throughout the rest of the season. The LSU recruit, who was drafted in the 11th round by the Blue Jays, led Lemont to the Class 3A state championship and, subsequently, to the No. 1-ranked team in Illinois to finish the season. He finished with a 10-0 record with one save and a 0.23 ERA. In 62.1 innings, Latz struck out an amazing 114 batters and walked only 12 against many of the top-ranked teams in the state. He allowed only two earned runs and 29 hits all season, and finished with a 0.66 WHIP. Latz seemingly got stronger as the season progressed, too. In three playoff victories, he struck out 33 to only four walks. In the state championship game, Latz threw three-hitter, which included a bad-hop single and a misplayed outfield. He struck out 11, walked three and allowed no earned runs in Lemont’s thrilling 2-1 victory over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin.

Ryan Nutof, RHP, South Elgin HS, 2014
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Michigan recruit was nothing short of dominant in leading the Storm to a surprising third-place finish in Class 4A – the school’s first state trophy. Nutof posted an 8-1 record, which included a no-hitter in the regional final and several tough-luck no decisions. In 77 innings, he racked up 112 strikeouts to 29 walks and yielded 37 hits and five earned runs all season. Nutof, who had a 35-inning scoreless streak during the season, had a 0.39 ERA. His only loss of the season was to St. Rita in the 4A state semifinals, in which he threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and one earned run. For good measure, Nutof also hit four home runs, five doubles and drove in 21.

Connor Etheridge, RHP, Sacred Heart-Griffin HS, 2014
Sacred Heart-Griffin finished runner-up in Class 3A, went 38-4 and was ranked in the top 5 for most of the season in large part due to a lights-out pitching staff. And no one got it done more consistently than Etheridge, who finished the season with a 13-0 record and a 0.70 ERA. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Belmont recruit also pitched nine innings in the 3A state semifinals, but got a no-decision against Grayslake Central. In 89 innings, he struck out 102, walked 28 and yielded nine earned runs.

Catcher

Simeon Lucas, Grant HS, 2014
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound left-handed hitter lived up to the hype heading into the season. Lucas opened the season earning Porsche Exchange Player of the Week honors and continued to produce throughout the spring. The three-year varsity standout finished his decorated career with nine homers, 10 doubles and 37 RBI. He was walked 27 times, had a .516 on-base percentage and finished with a .371 batting average. Lucas was drafted in the seventh round – the highest Illinois prep player selected – and signed with the Cleveland Indians, foregoing his scholarship to Illinois State.

First Base

Nick Goldsmith, St. Rita HS, 2014
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed hitter was one of the Mustangs’ top run-producers throughout the season. Goldsmith helped power St. Rita to a Class 4A runner-up finish in a season that saw the Mustangs ranked No. 1 for the majority of the spring. Goldsmith finished with nine home runs, seven doubles, one triple and 46 RBI. He had a 1.177 OPS, a .722 slugging percentage, .455 on-base percentage and a .389 batting average. Also a standout football player, Goldsmith is heading to Pitt as a punter.

Middle Infield

Charlie Donovan, Westmont HS, 2015
As the No. 1-ranked 2015 prospect in Illinois, the left-handed hitting shortstop did it all in leading Westmont to a third-place finish in Class 2A – the school’s first state trophy.  Offensively, Donovan batted .500 with eight doubles, four triples and six home runs. He drove in 47 runs, scored 50 times and swiped an amazing 48 bases in 50 attempts. The 5-foot-11 Michigan recruit is also arguably the top defensive shortstop in the state, and features game-changing tools across the board.

Mike Kornacker, St. Laurence HS, 2014
A two-time PBR first-team All-State selection, Kornacker has been a two-way impact player at St. Laurence since his freshman year. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Purdue recruit helped lead the Vikings to a co-Chicago Catholic Blue championship by tallying 43 RBI, nine doubles, four homers, two triples and 24 stolen bases. He also scored 30 runs while batting .360. On the mound, the right-hander was equally dominant. He posted an 8-2 record with two saves and a 1.35 ERA against the top teams in the state. He finished with a 0.85 WHIP, 86 strikeouts to 14 walks in 62.2 innings.

Third Base

Dylan Rosa, Providence Catholic HS, 2014
The driving force behind the Celtics’ surprising Class 4A state championship, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Rosa always seemed to deliver in the clutch, including a walk-off bases-clearing double to beat Edwardsville in the supersectional. Rosa also ripped the go-ahead home run in the state title game to beat St. Rita. But Rosa delivered on a daily basis, evidenced by his incredible 55 RBI, 14 doubles, 11 home runs and two triples. The Kent State recruit finished his senior campaign with a .412 batting average, a .787 slugging percentage, and a 1.247 OPS. For good measure, he also went 4-2 on the mound with a 2.86 ERA.

Outfield

Jake Shepski, St. Rita HS, 2014
The two-way Notre Dame recruit did it all in leading the Mustangs to a runner-up finish in Class 4A. Offensively, the switch-hitter racked up 24 extra-base hits – 10 doubles, nine triples and five homers. He also tallied 47 RBI, 36 runs, 22 walks and five stolen bases. Shepski, who earned the MVP of the Chicago Catholic League, finished with a 1.161 OPS and a .358 batting average. On the mound, the right-hander went 6-2 with eight saves. He finished with a 1.30 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, 52 strikeouts and 13 walks in 53.2 innings.

Ryan Noda, Grant HS, 2014
The 6-foot-3 left-handed hitter emerged as one of the top offensive forces in the state, and paired with Simeon Lucas to comprise arguably Illinois’ most dangerous duo. The Cincinnati recruit smashed 12 homers, two triples and six doubles. He tallied 49 RBI and 42 runs despite being walked 28 times. Noda batted .432 and also swiped 14 bases.

Laren Eustace, Batavia HS, 2014
The ultimate leadoff hitter and a top-level defensive centerfielder, Eustace led Batavia to 23 straight wins during the spring. The Indiana recruit had five doubles, five triples, four home runs while swiping 17 stolen bases. He batted .404 with a .528 on-base percentage and did not commit an error in the outfield. Eustace features game-changing speed, both tracking down balls in the outfield and on the base paths.

Utility

Blake Deatherage, RHP/OF, O’Fallon HS, 2014
O’Fallon rolled through the tough Southwestern Conference and finished with a 31-3 record in large part because of Deatherage’s two-way contributions. The right-hander was the unequivocal ace of the staff, posting an 11-0 record with three saves and a 1.09 ERA. In 64.1 innings, he struck out 66, walked 21 and maintained a 1.14 WHIP. Offensively, the McKendree University recruit batted .429 with a .500 on-base percentage. He finished with seven doubles, two triples, 36 RBI and 42 hits.

The PBR second and third All-State teams will be posted later this week.

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