PBR Illinois Diamond Notes: Week 1


By Andy Sroka
Illinois and Wisconsin Assistant Director

Each week, IHSA coaches around the state submit to us their nominations for our weekly PBR Illinois Player of the Week honor. On Wednesday, we awarded the Week 1 POTW honor to OF/LHP Mason Baer (Lake Park, 2021), who helped the Lancers to a 6-0 opening week by starting his season 10-for-10, while also recording three saves along the way.

There were a number of other impressive performances that were in the mix for the award and deserve recognition. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.

WEEK 1 DIAMOND NOTES

Jack Ryan C / Ridgewood, IL / 2021

Ryan is Ridgewood’s lead-off hitter and starting backstop, committed to Triton JC, and he was a main contributor to the Rebels’ 3-1 start last week. Ryan tallied six hits in 13 at-bats, notching one homer, a triple, and seven RBIs.

Owen Ross SS / C / Yorkville, IL / 2022

Ross was well within the running for the first POTW honor of the season – and he’s stayed white-hot since. The Yorkville junior slugged two homers and three doubles in his first week at the varsity level. In Week 2, thus far, he’s added another two homers to bring his total to four in five games. He’s a top-100-ranked junior in the state who’s still uncommitted.

Kaleb Applebey RHP / Mt. Carmel, IL / 2021

It’s no surprise to hear of Applebey’s early season dominance. The 6-foot-8 senior broke out in 2020 and has been lighting up radar guns since. He attended the PBR Super 60 in early February where he reached a 94 mph high, sitting 92-93, and he’s reportedly reaching similar highs at Mt. Carmel. In his first start of 2021, the Wabash Valley JC recruit (already committed to play at Kentucky after that) K’d 15 batters in five innings and allowed just one hit and one walk.

Trey Schilling 3B / RHP / Lincoln Community, IL / 2024

Lincoln Community went 5-0 in Week 1 play, and starting the freshman third baseman helped make that happen. Schilling went 7-for-15 last week, with three extra-base hits that included a pair of doubles and a triple, in turn producing five RBIs and six runs scored. He’s also been a reliable defender at the hot corner, and even came in relief to earn a few high leverage outs in a win.

Ryan Moerman SS / Lockport, IL / 2021

The Porters opened the season as our No. 11-ranked squad, and that high preseason ranking hinged on their star senior shortstop, Moerman, who’s pulled more than just his weight so far. The Illinois recruit homered and doubled in the team’s opener, and he tallied another three hits (two more doubles) in the team’s two additional ‘Do It Stevie’s Way’ games – and he struck out the side to notch a save over ranked St. Laurence. He’s remained one of the state’s hottest hitters on his team’s five-game win streak.

MacCallan Conklin OF / RHP / Normal University, IL / 2021

Normal U-High is a 2A team, but the talent inside the dugout rivals just about every 4A roster. The senior Conklin is one of the state’s top two-way players, and he showed why in Week 1. The local Redbirds recruit collected five hits in Week 1 action, and also tossed seven innings of shutout ball against Washington Community, in which he struck out 13 batters and walked only two.

Karson Bonaparte INF / RHP / Normal University, IL / 2021

The Pioneers also have on their roster one of the state’s best two-way players, Bonaparte, who loudly celebrated the return of IHSA baseball on opening night with a pair of home runs. Later in the week, he held Limestone scoreless across four shutout innings, and struck out nine, walked none.

Nicholas DeMarco SS / RHP / St. Charles North, IL / 2021

The North Stars are the state’s top-ranked team, and they remain undefeated. Expectedly, senior leader DeMarco has been a critical part of their preseason expectations and their early success so far. In Week 1, DeMarco recorded six hits – including a double and a triple – and manufactured seven RBIs and six runs scored, as well as four stolen bases. As SCN’s closer, and one of the best in the state, he closed out two games, earning a pair of saves while striking out 14 batters in six innings. He’s also manned a clean shortstop so far, as a do-it-all type who’ll earn plenty of shout-outs on our Weekly Diamond Notes series.

Nate Mieszkowski SS / RHP / Grayslake Central, IL / 2021

The senior Missouri Southern recruit has generated a ton of offense of Grayslake Central, and it’s helped the Rams make some early season noise. Mieszowski’s hot bat led the Rams to a 5-0 Week 1, as he recorded nine hits – including two homers, four doubles, and a triple. His huge stat line naturally directly led to run production, as he tallied 10 RBIs and scored 12 times himself, and the four steals also helped. And, he was also called on in relief against ranked Libertyville, and he eventually was credited with the win.

Cameron Hill OF / Brother Rice, IL / 2021

Hill is finally getting his first varsity action with the Crusaders, as he transferred over to Brother Rice prior to last school year. He made his first week count, reaching base nine times in four games, against some of the top competition in the state at the ‘DISW’ tournament. Hill drove in six runs with the help of three doubles and a homer to push No. 2 Brother Rice to the DISW championship game.

Grant Palmer INF / Neuqua Valley, IL / 2021

Palmer was a bright spot for Neuqua Valley in Week 1, recording eight hits against some quality opponents, like ranked Huntley and St. Charles North. Palmer also worked five walks on top of the eight hits he earned, striking out just twice from the lead-off spot, and he pitched three effective innings against Huntley.

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