Prep Baseball Report

2024 IHSA Season: 1A/2A Watchlist

By: Gavin Smith & Diego Solares
Illinois Scouting Staff

In 2023, schools like Father McGivney (2A), Columbia (2A) and Quincy Notre Dame (2A) all finished within our final Power 25 rankings, and we’ve already seen a dominant team like Monticello (2A) enter our 2024 rankings within our first Power 25 update of the season.

Throughout the season we will continue to do our best to check-in on some of the prominent 1A/2A programs, gather information, video, and compile our notes to help determine some of the best small school teams and players all across the state of Illinois.


+ Monticello (14-0): The Sages entered our Power 25 rankings this week for the first time this year, sitting at No. 17. They’re a talented and well-coached 2A group that looks capable of competing with any team in the state, especially when their ace RHP Luke Teschke (2024; Illinois State) is on the mound. They have another talented arm in RHP Ike Young (2025) who pitches in the mid-80s, and he’ll be a tough matchup for teams throughout the rest of the spring. Teschke, Young, C Eli Craft (2025), OF Matt Swartz (2025), INF Koyie Williams (2026), INF Jacob Long (2024), and INF Colton Vance (2025) are some names that will headline their offense this season.

+ Father McGivney (8-1): The Griffins went 37-2 last season, falling in the Super-Sectional to eventual 2A state runner-up Columbia. They’ll play at the 1A classification this spring and look every bit the part of an early state favorite. Father McGivney’s only loss came in the championship game of their spring tournament to IMG Academy - Black. C Nicholas Franklin (2024; Longwood signee), MIF Drew Kleinheider (2025; St. Louis commit), MIF/RHP Kannon Kamp (2025), CIF Justin Terhaar (2025), 1B Isaac Wendler (2026), and OF Omar Avalos Jr (2027) headline an offense that’s deep from top to bottom. Kamp, RHP Mason Holmes (2025), and OF/LHP Ben Sink (2026) are all having strong starts to the year on the mound as well.

+ St. Joseph-Ogden (12-2): Per usual, the Spartans are back to their winning ways in 2024. Predominantly one of the top athletic programs in class 2A, they’re off to a boiling 12-2 start, shutting out their opponents in five of their games. They have a talented group, headlined by C/RHP Luke Landrus (2024; Illinois), who’s a talented catcher, but we’ve also seen him sit in the upper-80s and touch 90 mph with his fastball. INF Braxton Waller (2024; Danville Area CC) and INF/RHP Nolan Earley (2025) are a pair of middle-of-the-order bats that will look to provide much of the offensive firepower for this year’s squad.

+ Brimfield (5-0): The Indians are off to an impressive 5-0 start this year. They have a talented roster with C Kyle Binder (2024; Illinois Central JC), 1B Landon Binder (2024; Illinois Central JC), and 3B/RHP Kaeden Schatsiek (2026), who have all been on a tear at the plate to start the 2024 season. OF Jude Strahm (2024) and RHP Drew Kieser (2024; Mesa CC) are both going to provide offensive production for the Indians, and Kieser looks like he’s been dominant on the mound thus far. They’re a 1A team to watchout for this season.

+ Ottawa Marquette (6-0): Coach Todd Hopkins consistently has the Crusaders as one of the top 1A programs in the state of Illinois, and this year looks no different. Within the past year, we’ve seen SS/RHP Alec Novotney (2026) continue to solidify himself as a top prospect in the state’s sophomore class, and he’ll likely be a major threat for this year’s Crusader team. 1B Sam Mitre (2025) will be a middle-of-the-order power threat that will likely be a big run-producer this season, and as always, they’ll have names-to-know pop-up throughout the season.

+ Harvest Christian (3-3): The Lions have one of the most talented 1A rosters in the entire state. They started the season by knocking off Stevenson, who was a Preseason Power 25 team. They’re led by seniors INF Gavin Duran (John Wood CC), LHP Emin Hartigan (Alabama-Huntsville), RHP Kaden Meeker and 3B Hayden Mosley (Morton JC). C Benjamin MItchell (2025; Bellarmine University) is a middle-of-the-order bat that will likely be a major run producer for this year’s team.

+ Coal City (5-1): The Coalers are coming off a 20-9 season in which they went 12-2 in conference play. Off to a solid start, their only loss thus far came against No. 7 Minooka. INF Cade Baldauf (2024; Aurora University) and 1B Tanner Wallace (2024) are a pair of names that are off to a hot start, and they’ll both look to continue to be impact names for the Coalers this spring.

+ Nashville (13-0): Nashville’s always good, and the Hornets haven’t slowed down at all from a 30-7 season in 2023. They haven’t lost yet in 2024, scoring 10 or more runs in nine of their 13 wins. Head coach Chad Malawy and company are always a scrappy bunch that do the little things right, so expect Nashville to compete for a trip to state yet again.

+ Maroa-Forsyth (9-0): The Trojans are off to a perfect start in the 2024 spring campaign. Coming off a 24-4 record and a Regional Championship in 2023, they look every part of a 2A program poised to make a deep run come late May and early June. SS Kaiden Maurer (2024; Lake Land JC) is off to a hot start this spring, and 1B Andy Munjoy (2024), OF Zayn Giles (2024), OF Tate Bradenburg (2025), and C Mitch Williams (2025) will all be major contributors to this year’s team.

+ Effingham St. Anthony (7-0-1): St. Anthony jumps up to 2A this spring, coming off a 24-5 season in 2023 that ended with a loss to state finalist Goreville. RHP/INF Brock Fearday (2025) anchors the pitching staff, and he’s swinging it too, with names like OF/RHP Aiden Lauritzen (2026) and Joseph Tegeler having strong years too. Connor Roepke (2024) and Beau Adams (2024) are two seniors to watch in this offense, too.

+ Columbia (9-3): You can’t count out the Eagles at all - they’re coming off consecutive trips to the 2A state playoffs and have a roster that’s ready to make it three in a row in 2024. LHP Brady Mathews (2024; Jefferson JC), RHP Lucas Riebeling (2024; Missouri S&T), and RHP Logan Sabo (2024; Illinois College) are three senior arms that are all throwing it well, and give the Eagles a chance to win each game they take the mound. Star sophomore 1B Brody Landgraf (2026) paces the offense, but others like Ben Simmons (2024), CIF Cash Bailey (2025), Sully Bonaldi (2025), and Mason Voegele (2025) are off to strong starts.

+ Mt. Pulaski (8-0): In 2023 the Hilltoppers had a 27-5 season in 2023, but didn't find the postseason success they expected, losing in the Regional Finals. Now to 2024, they’re off to a hot start, and they’re out scoring their opponents 77-10. LHP/1B Chance Payne (2025) will ace the staff this season and will also be a middle-of-the-order bat. 3B Landon Smith (2024) is an uncommitted senior on this year’s squad and he’ll be a strong bat that will provide some power in the middle of their order. 3B/RHP Luke Martin (2026) is a prospect that’s shown well for our staff as of late, and he’s another potential impact name for the Hilltoppers.

+ Pleasant Plains (8-1): This Cardinals’ offense is scoring runs in bunches, amassing 10 or more runs in six of their nine games. Names like Cooper Shallenberg (2025), Zach Ponce (2025), and Carter Durako (2025) are swinging it well early for Pleasant Plains. The success of their arms will be the determining factor for this club, though their aspirations run deep into the 2A playoffs.

+ Richmond Burton (9-2): The Rockets have had no shortage of offense, scoring 85 runs so far. INF Dylan Radke (2024), OF/C Joseph Larsen (2026), RHP/INF Ryan Junge (2024), and RHP/UTL Ryan Hannemann (2026) are all names to watch for on this year’s squad.

+ St Bede (8-3): The Bruins won the Three Rivers conference in 2023, going 13-1 in conference play and 21-8 overall. They’ve scored 100 runs thus far while only allowing 41. OF Geno Ferrari (2026), INF Gus Burr (2026), RHP/OF Nathan Husser (2024), and RHP/INF Alan Spencer (2025) are some names to know on this year’s roster. They’re coached by Bill Booker, who’s been at the helm since the 2014-2015 season, amassing a 129-98 record with a State Finals appearance and three Regional Titles.

+ Chicago Hope (6-5): Coming off a 26-9 season, 14-1 in conference, and a Super-Sectional appearance, Chicago Hope is off to another quality start. They’ve won games over bigger schools like Lincoln Park (8-3) and De La Salle (3-0), and they lost a close game against No. 5 Huntley (2-0). INF Dominic Bonilla (2025; Illinois State) will be a strong top-of-the-order bat for the Eagles this year, and 1B/RHP Davian Villalobos (2025) and OF Jorge Matos Jr (2025) are more impact names for this year’s squad.

+ Goreville (8-4): The Blackcats are coming off a State Tournament appearance where they finished fourth place. They’ve been one of the premier 1A programs in the state of Illinois under Coach Shawn Tripp, who’s been at the helm since 2003. He’s won a regional title in 18 of the 20 years that he's coached, and made a trip to the state tournament in six of those years. OF Tyler Suits (2024), SS Dylan Moss (2024), C Nick Gower (2024), and 3B Cole Tripp (2025) are a few names to follow on this year’s team.

+ Harrisburg (8-4): Jay Thompson is one of the top coaches in the state and the Bulldogs are, on a year-over-year basis, a contender for the 2A state championship. This year’s group is an old, experienced bunch that made it to a sectional title game last spring and return a large chunk of that core. Camron Ande (2024), Ethan Golish (2024), Jack Ford (2024), and Brendan Bergan (2025) headline an offense that’s going to be a tough out on any given day. Noah Arnold (2024) and Braden Burtis (2024) each have ERAs under 1.50 in 14+ innings of work on the mound, and Golish provides some dynamism out of the ‘pen as well.

+ Zeigler-Royalton (8-1): The Tornadoes won 28 games last season, which included a trip to the Section Final, losing 1-0 to a good Nashville squad. They’re off to a good start with OF Briar Rowland (2024), RHP/3B Scout Hudgens (2024) and LHP/OF Connor DeWeerdt (2025) all batting above a .400 clip. Hudgens has been their ace on the mound, starting out 4-0 with 33 strikeouts, six walks and only two runs allowed in 23.2 innings pitched.

+ DuQuoin (16-1): The Indians are coming off a 23 win season, and they’re on pace for an even bigger season in 2024, winning their last 15 games. SS PJ Winters (2024) is off to a stellar start to the spring, hitting .509 with four home runs, four triples, four doubles, 21 RBIs and 35 runs scored. OF/RHP Camden Waller (2024) and INF/RHP Jaden DeMarie (2025) are a few more names that will headline their offense. RHP Cy Craft (2027) is a highly talented freshman arm to know, pitching to a 1.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts so far this season.

+ Althoff Catholic (7-3-1): The Crusaders’ offense is swinging it well early on in the season, and they’re getting quality contributions on the mound as well to make them a dangerous out on any given day. OF Hank Gomric (2024; St. Louis) is a real All-State contender, and others like INF Bo Gomric (2025), Evan Hoffman (2025), Tyler Birdsong (2026), and Jason Dowell (2025) are off to hot starts at the dish. RHP Bauer Dalke (2024; Webster) is a true ace on the mound that will give the Crusaders a chance to win each time he takes the ball.

+ Gillespie (7-2): Coming off an impressive 32-1 season, the Miners’ only loss came to Quincy Notre Dame, who finished 3rd at state, in the section championship game. Jesse Berry (2024), Collin Griffith (2026) and Bryce Buhs (2024; Lincoln Land CC) have led their offense thus far, all hitting over. 400 with Berry tallying two home runs and nine RBIs. Buhs has homered once, recorded 13 RBIs and two extra base hits. Tristan Wargo and SS/RHP Luke Schuckenbrock (2026) have both been quality arms for the Miners, each 2-0, and Schuckenbrock has yet to give up a run in 15.3 innings of work.

+ Wheaton Academy (7-1): The Warriors won 29 games and a Regional Title in 2023, and they’re off to another impressive start this season. INF/RHP Eric DeCosta (2024; Cincinnati) is one of the top prospect’s in the state’s senior class, and he will give the Warriors a chance to win each time he toes the rubber.

+ Routt Catholic (8-4): The Rockets won 30 games and a Sectional title in 2023, and they’re looking every bit as talented this season. OF/LHP Bryson Mossman (2026), LHP/UTL Conrad Charpentier (2024; Lincoln Land CC), LHP/UTL Brady Turner (2026), INF/RHP Isaac Long (2024), and SS/RHP Nolan Turner (2024; Lincoln Land CC) will all provide a ton of firepower on the offensive end, as they’re all hitting over .300 to start the year. Charpentier looks like the ace of their staff, as he’s already thrown 21 innings and tallied 29 strikeouts while only allowing one run.

+ Leo (8-1): The Lions play a tough schedule each year, with upcoming games against No. 19 Brother Rice and No. 4 Providence Catholic. Despite a sub-.500 record in 2023, the Lions won a Regional Championship and lost to eventual 2A State Champion, Joliet Catholic, in the Sectional Semifinal game. CIF Devin Vassel (2026) has been off to a solid start for the Lions, and he looks like he could continue to be a major run producer for this year’s team.

+ Valmeyer (8-2): The Pirates are having an impressive start to their 2024 season. They’re led by RHP/INF Luke Blackwell (2026) who’s hitting .464 with two home runs, 18 RBIs, six extra base hits and 14 runs scored. He’s a highly talented pitcher, going 2-0 with 22 strikeouts and only two runs allowed on the season so far. OF/INF Landon Roy (2025), Chase Snyder and Troy Neff are a few more names that will look to provide much of their offensive production this season.


+ DePaul College Prep (4-3)
+ Teutopolis (7-4)
+ Hall (4-2)
+ Sherrard (7-1)
+ Eureka (3-1)
+ Bloomington Central Catholic (5-2)
+ Newman Central Catholic (2-0-1)
+ Illini Bluffs (4-1)
+ Delavan (5-0)
+ Arcola (9-2)
+ Farina South Central (6-2)
+ Mateno (7-0)
+ Carmi-White County (9-0)
+ Southwestern (Piasa) (7-2)
+ Litchfield (11-1)
+ Byron (4-2-1)
+ Bishop McNamara (5-2)