Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 19 Oak Park-River Forest

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois high school season kicks off on March 12th, the first day for regular season games.

Leading up to the opening week of games 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 will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team.

Team: Oak Park-River Forest
Preseason Rank: 19
2017 Record: 24-11
Conference: West Suburban Conference
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Chris Ledbetter
Playoff Run: Regional Semi-Finals
2017 Final Rank: NR
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 4



Roy Iversen, RHP (Stevens Institute of Technology)
Evan Nieslawski, RHP
David Trisko, C


Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Brendan Barrette
IL Oak Park-River Forest 2018 RHP Parkland JC
Brian May IL Oak Park-River Forest 2018 SS/OF DePauw
Andrew Neilson IL Oak Park-River Forest 2018 RHP
Nathan Diamond IL Oak Park-River Forest 2019 LHP Pepperdine
Luke Fitzgerald IL Oak Park-River Forest 2019 C Creighton
Griffin Holderfield IL Oak Park-River Forest 2019 RHP Creighton
Aaron Mishoulam IL Oak Park-River Forest 2019 RHP  
Alan Brown
IL Oak Park-River Forest 2020 UTIL  
Mason Hsieh-Bailey IL Oak Park-River Forest
2020 OF  
Dylan Whitney
IL Oak Park-River Forest
2020 INF  


Sophomore OF Mason Hsieh-Bailey. Hsieh-Bailey got a taste of the varsity level last spring, getting called up about midway through his freshman year. The talented sophomore is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential and should have a chance to be an everyday player for the Huskies from day one of the season. Hsieh-Bailey profiles as a center fielder with potential to hit at the top of the order.

Mason Hsieh-Bailey (2.18.18)


RHP Griffin Holderfield. No junior’s stock rose in Illinois as much as Holderfield’s this winter. The strong-bodied, Creighton commit, put on an eye-opening display during his bullpen at this February’s Preseason All-State. Working from a ¾ slot, Holderfield peppered the zone with a fastball that sat at 92 mph with late run and finish through the zone. He matched the premium velocity with an equally impressive slider with swing and miss action at 79-82 mph. If Holderfield is asked to start and go deep into games it is hard to think he would sit at that level. Either way, he possesses one of the strongest arms in the class and has the stuff to be a lights out closer if needed. The emergence of Holderfield gives Coach Ledbetter one of the top junior arms in the state to use however he sees fit.

Griffin Holderfield (2.11.18)


Pitching being the strength of the team has been a fairly consistent theme to the teams in the Preseason Top 25 so far. Add Oak Park-River Forest to that list. Led by the emergence of Griffin Holderfield, the Huskies should have plenty of pieces on the mound to shut teams down throughout the year. Senior RHP Brendan Barrette (Parkland JC) and Junior LHP Nathan Diamond (Pepperdine) will be asked to eat up plenty of innings alongside Holderfield and start big games throughout the year. Barrette is a physical right-hander who we have seen pitch in the mid-80s but have heard this winter he is starting to run it up into the upper-80s. Diamond, is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound, southpaw who attacks in the strike zone and his low-80s fastball seems to play up. A wildcard to the staff could be junior RHP Aaron Mishoulam. Mishoulam is highly-projectable at 6-foot-5, 190-pounds and this fall sat in the low-80’s with his fastball. If he continues to develop and consistently throw strikes he would be yet another quality arm to throw into the mix. One to watch down the road who may not be quite ready for varsity this season is sophomore RHP Austin Divello.

The defense will be solid up the middle, led by junior catcher Luke Fitzgerald (Creighton) who has been a constant behind the plate since his freshman year. Senior Brian May (DePauw), a three-year starter, will man the shortstop position and sophomore Mason Hsieh-Bailey seems the likely choice to roam center field. Senior Andrew Neilson is back after hitting .410 last season and will take one of the outfield spots. May and Hsieh-Bailey should hit somewhere towards the top of the order with Fitzgerald and Neilson fitting in somewhere in the middle. There are two other sophomores who may not be far away from getting there shot with the varsity club; UTIL Alan Brown and INF Dylan Whitney. Brown is extremely versatile and could help fill in whatever hole the huskies have defensively. Whitney is a more than capable defender on the infield and has a loose swing.


The Huskies and Coach Ledbetter have plenty of pieces to be excited about. They have three quality arms to lean on come playoff time, led by Holderfield. They should be able to do enough offensively and will be solid defensively. If the pieces aline by playoff time do not count out the Huskies. The program and Coach Ledbetter are no stranger to making deep runs in the playoffs.

Find more information on the 2018 Huskies below:

+ Full Schedule
Team Website
+ Gamechanger

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