Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 2 Plainfield South



 By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

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

Over the last several weeks, we have been 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: Plainfield South
Preseason Rank: 2
2016 Record: 24-13
Conference: Southwest Prairie
IHSA Class:
4A
Head Coach:
Phil Bodine
Playoff Run:
Super Sectionals
2016 Final Rank: 20
Returning Starters:
8
Returning Pitchers:
7

Top Players

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Austin Marozas IL
Plainfield South
2017
RHP
Kentucky
Konnor Ash IL Plainfield South 2017
RHP
Missouri
Nick Mayerhofer IL Plainfield South 2017
SS
Illinois-Springfield
Marco Escobar IL Plainfield South 2017
OF

Jordan Mikel IL Plainfield South 2017
RHP/2B
Western Illinois
Trey Ricko
IL Plainfield South 2018
RHP
Trey Stewart IL Plainfield South 2017
3B
 
Cody Phillips IL Plainfield South 2018
1B  
John Galczak IL Plainfield South 2018
1B
 
Anthony Guitterez IL Plainfield South 2017
OF  Saint Francis (IL)
Nick Enloe IL Plainfield South 2017
OF
 
Ryan Harty IL Plainfield South 2018
LHP
 
Justin McGuigan IL Plainfield South 2019 C  

KEY PLAYERS LOST
Gabe Wair, C, 2016 

X-FACTOR
We could talk about the senior 1-2 punch of Austin Marozas and Konnor Ash, but you can likely chalk the duo up for all-conference type seasons again in 2017. The key for Coach Bodine and the Cougars is going to be the bats. Returning virtually eight bats to the lineup, Plainfield South will need to improve on their sporadic run production from a year ago. The Cougars averaged less than five runs a game in 2016, and produced three or less runs in 15 of their 37 contests. With a year of varsity experience under their belts, if last year's junior heavy lineup can improve on their 2016 numbers, the Cougars should be looking at a 30 win season.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
As if the Plainfield South pitching staff wasn't good enough as it is, look for junior LHP Ryan Harty to bolster the Cougar staff and log some influential innings for Coach Bodine in 2017. Heading into his first varsity season, Harty is a wiry southpaw with a loose arm that sits in the low 80's and confident secondary stuff.

STAT RAT
The most impressive stats for Plainfield South came on the mound last year, and likely will again in 2017. The combination of hard throwing RHP’s Konnor Ash and Austin Marozas at the top of the rotation will likely put up gaudy numbers paving the way to a deep Cougar march through the playoffs. Last season Ash led the way with a 9-3 record while posting a 1.60 ERA and collecting 87 strikeouts. Marozas put up a minuscule 0.89 ERA with 74 strikeouts leading to a 6-2 record on the year. Don’t be shocked to see even better numbers out of the pair in 2017.

Austin Marozas (2.5.17)
Konnor Ash (2.5.17)

OUTLOOK
The Cougars head into 2017 as one of the favorites to take home the trophy in June. They feature a senior loaded roster who all saw expansive varsity experience in 2016, mostly in starting roles. They role out a pitching rotation with front end type stuff led by Marozas, Ash, Jordan Mikel and Trey Ricko. The defense is strong and experienced, especially up the middle of the field, captained by defensive wiz SS Nick Mayerhofer. Then add the fact that the Cougars are a battle tested squad. After making a deep run to the 2016 Super Sectionals, losing to eventual state champ Providence Catholic, and winning the Summer State Championship, the Cougars have all the ingredients of a state title contender in 2017. 

BOTTOM LINE
The Cougars have to hit. Seven of the Cougars 13 losses in 2016 came by two runs or less, so the pitching kept them in nearly every contest last year, and will again this year. If the experienced Cougar lineup can do the little things, execute and manufacture enough runs, Plainfield South is going to be tough to beat. Last year the magic number for the Cougars was 4, the Cougars went 19-2 in games where they scored four runs or more. So if Coach Bodine can string a lineup together that gives the Cougars at least four runs, watch out, opposing teams are in trouble.

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

preseason countdown