Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 7 Marist


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on April 12, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, leading into a countdown through the official PBR Illinois Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2021 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Marist
Preseason Rank: No. 7
2019 Record: 26-11
Conference: East Suburban Catholic League
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Kevin Sefcik

TOP PLAYERS

NAME POS CLASS COMMITMENT
Mark Brannigan OF/RHP  2021 -
Jack Carney OF 2021 Loras
Chazz Clark OF  2021 Xavier (LA)
Jonny Crowel C/RHP  2021 Flagler
Jack Harmon 1B  2021 John Carroll
Triston Schultz 1B 2021 -
Luke Sefcik INF 2021 Central Michigan
Noah Smith SS 2021  Louisville
Collin Amsden RHP 2022 -
George Bilecki OF/LHP 2022 -
Anthony Consiglio LHP 2022 -
Cliff Mayer LHP 2022 -
Jimmy Rolder INF 2022 Illinois
Nick Verzoni RHP 2022 -
Nate Voss C 2022 Michigan
Cal Sefcik UTIL 2023 -

STAT RAT

Top-10. When looking at the 2022 Illinois rankings (one of the strongest Illinois classes in recent memories), Marist features two prospects in the Top-10 in the class; C Nate Voss (Michigan commit) and INF Jimmy Rolder (Illinois commit). Both Voss and Rolder should be mainstays in the middle of the order and help round out one of the more impressive offensive lineups in the state. Voss, one of the top all-around catchers in the Midwest saw time on varsity as a sophomore. Rolder, also a standout football player, impressed this past summer at the PBR Future Games and committed to Illinois shortly after.

Jimmy Rolder (8/2/20)

NEWCOMER TO WATCH

Cal Sefcik, UTIL, 2023: Sefcik an uncommitted sophomore continues to make big strides to his game and should be a fresh face to keep an eye on this spring. Entering the season, it looks as though Sefcik, who runs a 6.90 60, could be used in a ultra-utility type of way, playing all over the diamond and even helping on the mound. Sefcik has a fast/strong right-handed bat, elevates the baseball to both gaps and has the athleticism to move around the diamond with ease. His strong arm, which topped at 89 mph across the diamond at the Underclass Invitational this winter, could be a welcomed addition to the pitching staff.

Cal Sefcik (10/25/20)

X-FACTOR

Noah Smith, SS, 2021: Smith, a Louisville commit, gained valuable varsity experience at a young age but this will be the first year he is able to settle in at shortstop on an everyday basis. Smith at shortstop will give Marist one of the top defensive shortstops in the state, one we have become accustomed to seeing. The x-factor will be Smith’s right-handed bat and what he can do offensively. Marist should have plenty of pieces around Smith offensively but if he is able to break out as well, Marist will rival some of the best lineups in the state.

Noah Smith (2/7/21)

OUTLOOK

Marist has had some of the top position players and lineups in the state over the last few seasons and this year should be more of the same. From top-to-bottom there does not seem to be many easy outs. Rolder, Voss and Smith, mentioned above, should be the main trio headlining the order. Joining Smith up-the-middle of the diamond should be senior Central Michigan commit, Luke Sefcik. Jack Harmon (John Carroll commit) and Triston Schultz are in line to get the majority of the innings at first base. Alongside Voss behind the plate is Jonny Crowel, a Flagler college commit. Crowel, like Voss, has been on varsity since his sophomore season. The outfield should be plenty deep as well with Mark Brannigan, Chazz Clark (Xavier University (LA) commit), George Bilecki and Jack Carney fighting for time, alongside the aforementioned Sefcik who could see time all over. 

On the mound, outside of losing Jack Brannigan the teams ace in 2019, this may be the deepest and most talented staff coach Sefcik has had. Headlining the staff should be juniors, RHP Collin Amsden and LHP George Bilecki. Amsden has a 6-foot-2, 225-pound, broad-shouldered frame and pitches in the mid-80’s with a downer breaking ball. Bilecki, who will also see time in the outfield, is a clean, upside left-hander who works in the low-80s with more in the tank. 

Sefcik, Brannigan and Crowel will all see time on the mound as well as at the plate. LHP Anthony Consiglio, RHP Nick Verzoni and LHP Cliff Mayer are three other arms who will help provide coach Sefcik with the most depth he has had entering a season.

BOTTOM LINE

Marist lost in the 2019 Super-Sectionals to the eventual 4A State Champion, Edwardsville, in one of the best games of the season. At the time of the game those were arguably the two hottest and most talented teams in the state facing off. 

Marist is just as strong on paper entering the season as they were in 2019. They have one of the top middle-of-the-orders in the state with plenty of depth and balance throughout the lineup to score in a number of different ways. Defensively, they have two shut-down type of catchers and should pick it at a high-level all-across the field. If coach Sefcik can piece together the arms throughout the spring and find a go-to closer, this team has everything it takes to be there at the end.

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2021 season.

Find more information on the 2021 RedHawks below:

+ Team Website

+ Team Schedule

+ Team Twitter

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN