Metro East Kickoff Classic: Preview


By Illinois Scouting Staff

The third annual Metro East Kickoff Classic sponsored by Prep Baseball Report is coming to the St. Louis Metro East area in mid-March and will be bigger than ever. The four-day event will take place from March 13 - March 16th (Wednesday-Saturday), featuring 47 teams from all areas of Illinois. Games will be played at seven locations in the Metro East area; Edwardsville HS, O’Fallon HS, Belleville East HS, SIU-Edwardsville University, GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Alton HS and Civic Memorial HS.

The Prep Baseball Report will provide complete coverage of the Kickoff Classic, covering each location with game recaps including insider scouting notes and statistical highlights. The Prep Baseball Report website will host everything you need to know, including schedule, scores game recaps, scout blogs and more.

For entire coverage of the Metro East Kickoff Classic visit www.prepbaseballreport.com/illinois and for up-to-date information throughout the event be sure to follow the PBR Illinois twitter

TEAMS (HEAD COACH)

·         Althoff (Rich Sauget)
·         Alton (Scott Harper)
·         Belleville East (Ryan Wiggs)
·         Belleville West (Todd Baltz)
·         Benet (Scott Lawler)
·         Benton (Brett Blondi)
·         Breese Central (Kevin Crask)
·         Breese Mater Dei (Travis Gebke)
·         Brother Rice (Sean McBride)
·         Carbondale (Scott Hankey)
·         Champaign Central (John Stabb)
·         Civic Memorial (Nick Smith)
·         Coal City (Greg Wills)
·         Columbia (Neal O'Donnell)
·         Edwardsville (Tim Funkhouser)
·         Effingham (Chris Fleener)
·         Freeburg (Drew Gericke)
·         Galesburg (Jeremy Pickrel)
·         Glenwood (Pat Moomey)
·         Granite City (Scott Smallie)
·         Harrisburg (Jay Thompson)
·         Huntley (Andy Jakubowski)
·         Joliet Catholic (Jared Voss)
·         Kaneland (Brian Aversa)
·         Lockport (Andy Satunas)
·         Marian Catholic (Anthony DeCarlo)
·         Mascoutah (Don Eddy)
·         Moline (Craig Schimmel)
·         Mt. Carmel (Brian Hurry)
·         Mt. Vernon (Tim Holloway)
·         Mt. Zion (Matt Smith)
·         Naperville Central (Mike Stock)
·         Neuqua Valley (James Thornton)
·         Normal West (Chris Hawkins)
·         Oak Forest (Ron Czarnecki)
·         Oak Park-River Forest (Joe Parenti)
·         O'Fallon (Joe Bauer)
·         Oswego (Joe Giarrante)
·         Oswego East (Matt Engelhardt)
·         Pleasant Plains (Dave Greer)
·         Quincy Notre Dame (Ryan Oden)
·         Rochester (Matt Carlson)
·         Salem (Brian Lipe)
·         St. Joseph-Ogden (Josh Haley)
·         Teutopolis (Justin Fleener)
·         Triad (Jesse Bugger)
·         Washington (Kyle Wisher)

 PLAYERS TO WATCH

+ Robby Taul, SS/RHP, Alton, 2019 - John A. Logan JC commit. Three-year starter and two-time All-Southwestern Conference selection. Hit .350 with 10 doubles and 23 RBI last season.
+ Evan Gray, RHP, Belleville East, 2019 - Arkansas commit. Can run his fastball into the low-90’s and has one of the best breaking balls in the class.
+ Drew Gray, OF, Belleville East, 2021 - Arkansas commit. Highly-projectable left/left outfielder, started on varsity as a freshman last season.
+ Connor Hincks, SS, Benet, 2020 - Virginia commit. Smooth left-handed swing and athletic infield actions. One of the top junior infielders in the state.
+ Jared Novak, RHP, Benet, 2020 - 6-foot-5, 200-pound, high-ceiling right-handed pitcher that sits in the mid-80’s with an advanced changeup.
+ Dillon Poe, SS, Benton, 2021 - Advanced switch-hitting shortstop with natural infield actions.
+ Michael Bolton, OF, Brother Rice, 2019 - Purdue commit. Left-handed hitting center fielder with game changing speed and profiles at the top of the order.
+ Jack Payton, C, Brother Rice, 2020 - Louisville commit and one of the top prospects in the 2020 class. Advanced defensive catcher, middle-of-the-order bat and hit 16 doubles last season.
+ Marquis Jackson, INF/RHP, Brother Rice, 2020 - Oklahoma commit. Left-handed hitter, was named to the All-Kickoff Classic Team last year thanks in part to picking up four hits in two games, stealing two bases and being the sparkplug of the offense.  
+ Connor Milton, OF, Champaign Central, 2020 - Illinois commit. High-level athlete, runs a 6.51 60 and has juice in his right-handed swing.
+ Payton Hutchings, LHP/OF, Coal City, 2020 - One of the top 2020 arms in Illinois. Set an IHSA record last spring, recording 22 consecutive strikeouts. Dynamic athlete, highly-competitive on the mound and can hold his own with the bat.
+ Shane Wilhelm, RHP, Columbia, 2019 - Missouri commit. Polished right-handed pitcher, sits comfortably in the high-80’s with a swing-and-miss slider. Also, one of the top position players on the team.
+ Drake Westcott, 1B, Edwardsville, 2020 - Louisville commit, is arguably the top left-handed bats in the class. Has been a middle-of-the-order bat since his freshman year, was the 2018 Metro East Kickoff Classic “Most Outstanding Player”  and was a 2018 PBR First Team All-State Selection.
+ Matthew Boyer, RHP, Edwardsville, 2019 - Wisconsin-Milwaukee commit. 6-foot-2, 183-pound, strike throwing right-hander has been up to 86 mph and features a swing-and-miss curveball.
+ Dawson Taylor, RHP, Edwardsville, 2019 - John A. Logan JC commit. 6-foot-4, 200-pound, right-handed pitcher who runs his fastball into the 90’s and throws a hard slider.
+ Hayden Moore, OF/INF, Edwardsville, 2021 - Missouri State commit. Athletic switch-hitter, that has the versatility to play anywhere on the diamond.
+ Zachary Lee, RHP, Effingham, 2019 - Kentucky commit. Attended this winter’s Super 60 and is one of the top arms in the Midwest. Loose, fast arm, fastball tops at 93 mph and has feel for three pitches
+ Nick Fields, RHP/INF, Galesburg, 2019 - Heartland JC commit. The reigning top pitcher in the conference, will be looked upon as the ace of the staff and should man shortstop when not toeing the rubber.
+ Connor Aten, RHP/OF, Galesburg, 2020 - Bradley commit. Very able two-way player, should see plenty innings on the bump. Fastball sits in the upper 80’s with upside and possesses two distinct breakers
Evan Rightnowar, RHP, Glenwood, 2019 - Snead State CC commit. Daunting framed righty, sits his fastball in the mid-to-high 80s with tilt at the bottom of the strike zone.
Mason Roehr, C, Granite City, 2021 - Missouri State commit. Strong framed backstop, advanced bat for his age. Solid defender, rhythm in actions, pop time hovers right at/under two second flat.
Isaac Crabb, C/RHP, Harrisburg, 2020 - One of the top uncommitted Juniors in the state, stood out at last years’ Kickoff Classic. Continues to improve on all sides of the ball as he physically matures. Power potential in the bat, strong arm out of the crouch and fastball sits in the mid-80’s on the mound.
Hunter Rumachik, INF, Huntley, 2019 - McHenry County JC commit. 6-foot-4, 200-pound LHH first baseman who can really move, 6.95 60-yard dash. Power potential in swing, can lift ball to the pull side.
Christian Knapczyk, INF, Joliet Catholic, 2020 - Louisville commit. Advanced left-handed bat, perhaps the best infielder in the IL 2020 class. High motor and IQ on the diamond, dynamic prospect that refuses to get beat. High follow 2020.
Greg Ziegler, OF/RHP, Joliet Catholic, 2019 - Missouri State commit. A physical specimen two-sport athlete who made the All-Kickoff Classic Team last year. Can flat out play positionally and competes with anyone on the mound.
Jared Cushing, INF, Joliet Catholic, 2019 - Texas Tech commit. Projectable framed RHH infielder, athletic, sure-handed defender can stick on the left side of the diamond.
Tony Fleischauer, C/INF, Joliet Catholic, 2019 - Grand Valley commit. Burst onto the scene last year for JCA, actiony defender present athleticism, can flat out hit from the left side of the dish.
Zach Gould, RHP, Joliet Catholic, 2019 - Illinois-Chicago commit. 6-foot-4 , 205-pound righty, clean arm action with arm speed, flashed feel for three, fastball sat 86-88 mph at USS in October.
Alex Vera, LHP, Joliet Catholic, 2019 - Illinois commit. Selected to last years All-Kickoff Classic Team. Crafty and composed southpaw that oozes pitchability. Keeps hitters off balance with any pitch in any count, fastball sits mid-80’s.
Michael Gurka, RHP, Joliet Catholic, 2019 - Minnesota commit. 6-foot-3, 195-pound righty, clean and easy delivery, goes after hitters with a feel for three offerings. Fastball touches 88 mph, plenty upside.
Angel Acevdeo, LHP/OF, Kaneland, 2019 - Bradley commit. Lanky and live bodied L/L two way player who should see innings on the mound and in the outfield. 4-for-6 at the plate at last years KOC.
Ryan Moerman, INF, Lockport, 2021 - Illinois commit. One of the top prospects in the IL 2021 class. Confident defender with natural, slick actions and can range with ease. Barrel control hitter, grinds out at bats, pitchers worst nightmare. High follow 2021.
Jacob Kampf, RHP, Lockport, 2020 - Loose and easy arm action, fastball touched 86 mph at last months’ Preseason ID.
Aidan Stewart, INF/RHP, Marian Catholic, 2020 - Uber athletic two-way player who should see innings on both sides of the ball. Fastball sits in the mid-80’s with reports of progression.
Alec Gonzalez, INF/RHP, Marian Catholic, 2020 - Tennessee commit. One of the top 2020s in the state of Illinois. Confident defender, shows moxy on the left side of the diamond and hits with rhythm at the plate. Has the tools to be in discussion come draft time next year. Not to mention a mid to upper 80 mph fastball.
Angelo Cantelo, C, Marian Catholic, 2019 - Lewis commit. Should hit in the middle of the order once again. Strong, right-handed hitter with a knack for finding the barrel.
Pierce Jones, OF, Marian Catholic, 2019 - Northern Illinois commit. Three-year varsity starter. Started and played right field in 2017 when the Spartans finished State Runner-up. Dynamic top of the order bat with sneaky power.
Tyler Fullman, RHP, Marian Catholic, 2021 - One of the top uncommitted 2021 arms in the state. Saw meaningful varsity innings as a freshman. Strong frame, clean arm and an easy mid-80’s fastball.
Eddie King, OF, Marian Catholic, 2021 - Louisville commit. Yet another high-level underclassman in the Spartans lineup. Started and hit in the middle of the order as a freshman. Physically-advanced right-handed hitter with power potential.
Logan Bibb, LHP/OF, Mascoutah, 2019 - A top uncommitted southpaw in the 2019 class. Fastball is heavy sitting 85-86 mph. All-around athlete, 6.82 runner in the 60.
+ Brody Harding, SS, Moline, 2019 - Illinois commit. Arguably the top infielder in the 2019 class. Top of the order, left-handed hitter, plays with a high-motor and can make all the plays at shortstop.
+ Ed Howard IV, SS, Mount Carmel, 2020 - Oklahoma commit and the No. 1 ranked 2020 in Illinois. One of the best true shortstops to come out of Chicago in recent memory. Stock continues to rise.
+ Tony Livermore, MIF, Mount Carmel, 2020 - Northwestern commit. Dynamic middle-infielder, plays the game fast and with a high IQ. Top of the order, left-handed hitter that controls the barrel.
+ Joshua Houston, CIF, Mount Carmel, 2020 - A top uncommitted 2020 prospect. Thick, strong framed RHH infielder, projects at the corners. Middle of order bat for the Caravan with power potential, fast hands, swings with intent.
+ Daniel Chausse, RHP, Mount Zion, 2019 - Unsigned senior, has the stuff to be the ace of the staff. Fastball up to 87 mph with swing-and-miss changeup.
+ Sam Hojnar, MIF, Naperville Central, 2019 - Southern Illinois commit. Athletic, switch-hitting middle infielder with an above-average run tool and the ability to stick on the left-side of the infield.
+ Anthony Sterchele, RHP, Neuqua Valley, 2019 - Santa Fe JC Commit. 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-handed pitcher should be the ace of the staff. Touches 90 mph with his fastball and has feel for a sharp slider.
+ Jacob Karaba, RHP, Neuqua Valley, 2019 - Lewis University commit. Loose, whippy arm action, fastball up to 88 mph and features a tight slider. Karaba and Sterchele should be a formidable one-two punch for the Wildcats.
+ Will Kafer, CF, Normal West, 2020 - 2018 offensive player of the year in the Big 12 conference. Uncommitted junior should lead the way offensively this spring.
+ Sean Shook, 3B/RHP, Normal West, 2020 - Started at third base as a sophomore last spring. Steady, reliable defender and led the team with 13 doubles in 2018.
+ Connor Oliver, LHP, Oak Forest, 2019 - A Wichita State commit, Oliver made the BMO Harris All-Kickoff Classic Team last year at this event after striking out seven and not allowing a ball to be put in play during a pitch count relegated 2.1 innings pitched.
+ Griffin Holderfield, RHP, Oak Park-River Forest, 2019 - Creighton commit, may see some draft buzz surrounding him this year due to a big fastball that that reaches 93 mph.
+ Luke Fitzgerald, C, Oak Park-River Forest, 2019 - One the better catch and throw receivers in the state, will be tough to run on and also a Creighton commit.
+ Josh Gibson, MIF, O’Fallon, 2019 - Jefferson JC commit, O’Fallon’s only returning starter from a year ago, should set the table for the offense.
+ Cal Hejza, SS, Oswego, 2020 - Committed to Illinois, proved as a leader on the infield last year as a sophomore for the Panthers. High end defender.
+ Collin Witzke, RHP, Oswego East, 2019 - Kent State commit, should be the ace of a quality Oswego East staff. Will run his fastball up to 88 mph.
+ Connor Gill, RHP, Oswego East, 2020 - Live arm right-hander will add fastball velocity to the Wolves staff sitting 86-88 mph.
+ Tyler Heidkamp, LHP, Oswego East, 2020 - Pitchable southpaw, started varsity innings as a sophomore last year and showed a jump in velocity this winter topping at 86 mph.
+ Corgan Greer, C, Pleasant Plains, 2020 - Left-handed hitting catcher has drove in over 100 RBI is his first two seasons as a Cardinal.
+ Cameron Edmonson, LHP, Rochester, 2019 - Indiana State commit, possesses a lively fastball at 86-88 mph with sharp curveball. Ace of Rochester staff.
+ Crayton Burnett, RHP/SS, St. Joseph-Ogden, 2021 - Hit .323 as a freshman and drove in 28 RBI. Expected to be a big contributor on the mound as well, projected No. 2 arm for the Spartans.
+ Hunter Smith, SS, Triad, 2019 - Four year starter for Triad, strong defender will anchor the infield at shortstop.
+ Luke Markunas, RHP, Washington, 2019 - Heartland CC commit, strong armed right-handed at 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, will run his fastball up to 88 mph.
+ Chase Mason, C, Washington, 2020 - Athletic catcher, one of Washington’s top returners. Carries a strong a arm that will slow down any opposing running game.

PBR GAMES OF THE DAY

Wednesday: Glenwood vs Columbia (6:30 PM, Tom Pile Field)
Thursday: Edwardsville vs Mount Carmel (7:00 PM, GCS Stadium)
Friday: Oswego East vs Normal West (4:30 PM, Edwardsville JV Turf)
Friday: Brother Rice vs Edwardsville (5:00 PM Tom Pile Field)
Friday: Mount Carmel vs Joliet Catholic (7:30 PM, GCS Stadium)
Saturday: Marian Catholic vs Moline (9:00 AM, GCS Stadium)
Saturday: Mount Carmel vs Oak Park-River Forest (11:30 PM Tom Pile Field)
Saturday: Huntley vs Joliet Catholic (11:30 AM, Edwardsville JV Turf)
Saturday: Brother Rice vs Normal West (2:00 PM, GCS Stadium)
Saturday: Edwardsville vs Neuqua Valley (2:00 PM, Tom Pile Field)

FULL SCHEDULE

LOCATIONS

  • O’Fallon HS - Blazier Field. 718 Parkview Drive, O'Fallon, IL 62269
  • Gateway Grizzlies Stadium (GCS) - 2301 Grizzlies Bear Blvd., Sauget, IL 62206
  • Belleville East HS - 2555 West Blvd., Belleville, IL 62221
  • SIU-Edwardsville - Roy Lee Field at Simmons Baseball Complex. 5200 New Poag Rd., Edwardsville, IL 62025
  • Edwardsville HS - JV Turf Field. 6161 Center Grove Rd, Edwardsville, IL 62025
  • Edwardsville HS - Tom Pile Field. 6040 Center Grove Rd, Edwardsville, IL 62025
  • Civic Memorial HS - (Bethalto Sports Complex) 4200 Culp Lane, Bethalto, IL 62010
  • Alton HS - 4200 Humbert Rd. Alton, IL 62002

For entire coverage of the Metro East Kickoff Classic visit www.prepbaseballreport.com/illinois and for up-to-date information throughout the event be sure to follow the PBR Illinois twitter @PBRIllinois

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