Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 15 Sandburg



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

The Illinois high school season kicks off on March 13, the first day for regular season games.

Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we will be rolling out team previews of high school teams all across the state and across all classifications, eventually launching our Preseason Power 25.

We have been sending out our annual Preseason Questionnaire to coaches all across the state and as the responses flood in we will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team.

Team: Sandburg
Preseason Rank:
15
2016 Record:
25-7   
Conference: SWSC Blue
IHSA Class:
4A
Head Coach:
Jim Morsovillo
Playoff Run:
Regional Finals
2016 Final Rank:
NR
Returning Starters:
5
Returning Pitchers:
5

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Branden Comia IL Sandburg 2018 SS Illinois
Evan Tenuta IL Sandburg 2018 RHP Notre Dame
Kevin Lane
IL Sandburg  2017 RHP Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Ryan Hampe
IL Sandburg  2018 C  
Andrew Tenison
IL Sandburg 2018
3B/SS Lee University
Eric Papierski IL Sandburg 2017
3B
Saint Xavier
Troy Jones
IL Sandburg 2017 OF
Triton
Tim Dobrik IL Sandburg 2017 LHP  


KEY PLAYERS LOST
OF Andy Gaytan (Triton JC)
RHP Jack Wolfe (Rend Lake JC)
2B Kevin Cronin (Triton JC)

X-FACTOR
Although still a junior, Branden Comia is Sandburg’s leader on the field. He’s their best defender, commanding the shortstop position, and clutch with the bat in his hand. The Illinois recruit is likely to set the tone for the Eagles season, his leadership qualities could be infectious and his ability to provide an instant spark on both sides of the ball is a rare trait.



NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Ryan Hampe. A transfer from St. Laurence, Hampe is a junior catcher that could slide into a starting role from day one. At 6-foot, 200-pounds he’s a sturdy backstop with pop in his bat and a big arm that can shut down a running game. Hampe has the tools to be a big contributor for the Eagles in 2017.

 

STAT RAT
8-0, 1.50 ERA, 33 H, 19 BB, 60 K, 55 IP: That’s the year-end line that Kevin Lane put together last season, leading to an All-State selection and the SWSC Blue Pitcher of the Year. If Lane can put together a repeat performance along with Tim Dobrik and Evan Tenuta, Coach Morsovillo will have a trio of arms that any coach in the state would envy.

OUTLOOK
There aren’t a ton of holes to fill from the 2016 Eagles, as many of their top performers from last year are back in 2017, which could put them in an ideal spot to make a strong run. To forecast Sandburg’s ideal season, Lane would have a repeat performance on the mound, and one Notre Dame recruit Evan Tenuta could match. The entire middle of the lineup returns with Comia, Eric Papierski, Troy Jones and Tenuta expecting to improve on their 2016 numbers. Add the power bat of Hampe to that mix and the Eagles will put together a formidable lineup capable of crooked number outbursts on a regular basis.

BOTTOM LINE
If everything falls into order for Coach Morsovillo and the team responds by continuing to trend up from last year’s output, the Eagles could be collecting that Regional Championship this year, and possibly more.

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

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