Prep Baseball Report

2A State Finals Preview

By: Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey
Illinois Intern

This year’s 2A IHSA State Finals are set, and the matchups are sure to excite. With the strong arms and overwhelming offenses of Wilmington, Newman Central Catholic, Maroa-Forsyth, and St. Anthony, a State championship title must certainly be earned. The teams will travel to Peoria, as the exciting semi-final matchups begin tomorrow at Dozer Park.

To kickstart the state playoff, Moroa-Forsyth and Newman Central Catholic will face off at 4 pm. Directly after what should be a close duel, both one-seeded Wilmington and St. Anthony will meet at 7 pm. The third place game will take place Saturday at 4 pm with the State championship set to begin at 7 pm.

With extensive coverage of both these games and the 1A State playoff games, you want to be sure not to miss the action. You can find the coverage on our Twitter @PrepBaseballIL.

Below, you can learn more about the four teams that will be competing for the 2024 2A State championship.

Wilmington (27-1)

Considering the dominance of the Wilmington Wildcats, it is no surprise they have reached this point. Not only are the Wildcats the only team left with one loss, but their last loss hasn’t come since March 19th. Winning five straight this postseason, and extending their win streak to 25 games, the Wilmington Wildcats are more than confident going into this weekend.

The power offense of Wilmington consists of the reliable Cade McCubbin (2024) hitting .325 and Dierks Geiss (2026) hitting .318. Reid Juster (2024) then adds to the Wildcats’s production, hitting .325 with 9 doubles and two home runs. Ryan Kettman (2026) brings the Wildcats’s offense to even another level, hitting for 6 doubles, a joint-second 39 hits, and an impressive .371 batting average.

The firepower of this offense doesn’t finish here. Sophomore slugger Zach Ohlund and two-way powerhouse Lucas Rink (2025) lead the way to propel the Wildcats more. Ohlund ranks first amongst the Wildcats in batting average (.424), RBIs (46), home runs (9), and is joint-leader in doubles (10) and joint-second in hits (39). Dominating with Ohlund, Rink leads the Wildcats in hits with 41, co-leads in doubles with 10, ranks second in RBIs with 25, and accompanies these numbers with a .390 batting average on the season. It is this high-powered offense with Ohlund and Rink leading the way that makes the Wildcats extremely dangerous offensively.

In order to field a 27 win, 1 loss team, a sturdy pitching rotation is required. The Wilmington Wildcats have just that. With three aces in Kyle Farrell (2025), Ryan Kettman, and Lucas Rink, the Wildcats believe they have enough to mow down their opponents. The three arms who lead Wilmington in innings pitched have performed more than well enough to demonstrate their reliance. Kyle Farrell at a 9-0 record has staggering numbers; conceding only 26 hits, 10 earned runs, and striking out an astonishing 94 batters, earning an ERA of 1.21. Ryan Kettman, also undefeated in record (4-0), has given up only 1 earned run the entire season, boasting an ERA of 0.32. Lucas Rink’s dominance then sums up the Wildcats’s season with more than commanding numbers. Accompanying a 9-1 record, 96 strikeouts, only 4 earned runs, and an unbelievable 0.50 ERA, Rink has his sights on continuing his dominance this weekend.

With a power offense, a commanding rotation of aces, and an unparalleled amount of momentum following a 25-game win streak, the Wildcats are prepared for the weekend.

Newman Central Catholic (25-4-1)

Despite such a young roster, star players such as Brendan Tunink (2024; Notre Dame) and Garet Wolfe (2026) lead the way for Newman Central Catholic. Fresh off a comfortable postseason run, including a slaughter rule victory in regionals and a 6-2 super-sectional win over Chicago Hope Academy, the Comets are looking to further their winning ways. On a massive win streak of their own, the Comets haven’t lost since April 19th, and they don’t intend on letting up now.

Brendan Tunink is a clear stand-out, as he leads the Comets in the categories of batting average (.557), home runs (7), hits (44), runs (54), and triples (3). Yet, with seven players hitting over .300, the Comets have an intimidating offense that consists of more than Tunink’s bat. Chase Decker (2025) leads the way with a .313 batting average, 3 home runs, 6 doubles, 34 RBIs, and a joint-second 30 hits. Freshman Ashton Miner has contributed massively in his first season, leading the Comets in RBIs with 40, doubles with 11, and tallying a joint-second 30 hits to go along with his .306 batting average. Daniel Kelly (2025), Joe Oswalt (2025), and Garet Wolfe (2026) have also had a significant impact to this offense, all hitting above .315 on the year and all contributing 24+ RBIs. With the Comets’s offense rolling like this behind the bat of Tunink, it is no wonder they have fielded a 25-win season and have found themselves in the State Final.

From the bump, two sophomore aces bolster the Comets’s defense. The undefeated Evan Bushman (2026) and the undefeated Garet Wolfe will be the architects behind a Newman Central Catholic championship run if they are to have one. Bushman is a dominant arm for the Comets with an 11-0 record, 42 strikeouts, and a 3.26 ERA in 58 IP. Wolfe will also need to be on his game, as a season such as the one he’s had will be pivotal. In 50 IP, the sophomore ace is 6-0 with 37 strikeouts and a 2.24 ERA.

Even with the youth of this team, the Comets have won 25 games and are playing in tomorrow’s State semi-final for a reason. Behind the heavy bats of Tunink, Decker, and Miner, and with the proven arms of Bushman and Wolfe, Newman Central Catholic is hopeful for this weekend’s State playoff games.

Maroa-Forsyth (26-4)

The 26-4 Trojans have rolled through their postseason opponents. Their closest contest came all the way back in the regional semi-final against Prairie Central in a 4-3 win. Since then, however, they have found their composure and triumphed over their four subsequent opponents. Coming off a 10-4 super-sectional win, there is a lot of momentum and confidence coming from Maroa-Forsyth.

With the bats of Tate Brandenburg (2025), Zayn Giles (2024), Kaiden Maurer (2024; Lake Land JC), and Mitch Williams (2025), the Trojans hope to keep this confidence. Amongst a steep offensive line-up, these are the players who have asserted themselves as immediate threats to their opponents. Brandenburg with a .456 batting average hits for power, as he leads the Trojans in doubles with 17, home runs with 2, RBIs with 47, triples with 3, and co-leads in hits with 47. Giles is another difficulty for opponents, with a .431 batting average, 44 hits, second in RBIs with 32, and 6 doubles. Additionally, the heavy bat of Maurer leads the Trojans in multiple categories, namely, in runs, hits, and batting average. Hitting .461 and contributing 47 hits and 44 runs, the senior helps engine the 26-win offense by leading these. To add fuel to the fire, Williams’s impressive .398 batting average and 11 doubles on the season adds yet another threat to the Trojans' offense to be wary of.

Not only do the Trojans come with an arsenal of hitting weapons, but their pitching staff is also more than deep. Connor Kelly (2024), Maurer, and Williams carry on the pitching responsibilities with nothing short of excellence. Getting them to this point, Kelly leads the Trojans in innings pitched with 60, doing so with an 8-1 record, 53 strikeouts, and a 2.68 ERA. Maurer, 5-0, has only given up 2 earned runs the entire season, striking out 43 and posting a jaw-dropping ERA of 0.45. Williams, also undefeated at 4-0, has only allowed 10 hits and 3 earned runs, capping off the Trojans’ pitching display with an amazing 0.95 ERA.

The steep options both offensively and on the mound, paired with the current confidence after rolling through their postseason opposition, finds the Moroa-Forsyth Trojans in a confident headspace before tomorrow’s matchup.

St. Anthony (25-5-1)

At 25-5-1, the St. Anthony Bulldogs finished with a rough end to the season, believe it or not. Almost completing the regular season with a 1-loss season, the Bulldogs lost four of their final six games to end with five losses on the year. Despite this shaky end to the regular season, the Bulldogs have had no problems in the postseason, reaching this State Final at the peak of their powers once again. In great form, the Bulldogs are more confident than ever in winning a State championship title.

The heavy-hitters Brock Fearday (2025), Brady Hatton (2025), and Connor Roepke (2024) will power the St. Anthony offense in order to complete a State championship run. Fearday, leading the Bulldogs in hits, RBIs, batting average, doubles, and co-leading in home runs will be instrumental. His 40 hits, 41 RBIs, .417 batting average, 11 doubles, and 7 home runs has done more than well thus far. The Bulldogs will also be looking to Hatton to continue his slugfest of a season. Hatton has hit .378 with 7 doubles and a joint-high 7 home runs, along with a team-high 29 runs scored. Finally, another crucial bat of the Bulldogs’ will be Roepke, as his .409 batting average, 35 RBIs, 5 doubles, and 4 home runs is the third bat that is supposed to lead the charge of this title-contending offense. With these bats hot, St. Anthony is confident in their ability to score runs.

While there should be no worries relying on their bats, the pitching performance of the Bulldogs will come with little worry as well. As Fearday leads offensively, the junior also leads St. Anthony from the mound. Having recorded an unbelievable season with a 1.75 ERA, 74 strikeouts, and an 8-1 record in 68 IP, Fearday will look to mow down batters just as he has all season. Aiden Lauritzen (2026) is another dominant arm of St. Anthony’s. With a flawless 7-0 record, 51 strikeouts, and a 1.21 ERA, the hopes of the Bulldogs may fall safely into the sophomore’s right hand. Joseph Tegelet (2025) then acts as the final strong arm of the Bulldogs’. With a confident 1.93 ERA and 31 strikeouts to go with it, the Bulldogs can rely on Tegelet to also be that guy on the mound.

The dominance in power-hitting at the plate and the confidence in these three arms to propel the Bulldogs through Saturday night may prove to be enough for St. Anthony to get their hands on a 2A State championship.

With each team loaded with offensive weapons and deep pitching staffs, there is no telling which of these powerhouses will come out on top. All that is known is that by Saturday night, one of these dynamic teams will be crowned 2A State champion!

Extensive coverage of these games and the 1A State playoff games will be available on our Twitter @PrepBaseballIL. You don’t want to miss it!