Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 19 Lane Tech

By: Peter Hamot
Area Scout, Staff Writer

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 13, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down 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 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Lane Tech
Preseason Rank: No. 19
2022 Record: 24-12
Conference: Jackie Robinson North 
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Sean Freeman

Roster Preview

Josh Katz RHP
2023 Penn
Jacob Maza RHP 2023 Webster
Lucino Sotelo LHP 2023 -
Zach Shashoua C 2023 -
Jack Tzur 1B 2023 -
Louie Derechin  3B 2023 -
Leo Zerrilo  OF 2023 Milwaukee Area Tech JC
Jack Davis OF/P 2024 -
Ethan Borggren UTIL 2024 -
Amaan Khan RHP 2024 -
Emiliano Perez-Zeeb OF 2024 -
Henry Murray OF
2025 Boston College
Theodore Greco  MIF/P 2025 -
Tyler Rwakatare-Trapp MIF 2025 -


+ MIF Nick Lagges (2022; Washington & Lee)
+ C Joseph Perona (2022; North Park)
+ MIF Carter Dow (2022) 


(Henry Murray, 10/16/22) 

+ OF Henry Murray (2025; Boston College commit) is one of the younger players on the varsity roster, but he is also one of the most talented – currently ranked No. 52 in the state. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound switch-hitter saw limited time on varsity last season, but made the most of his opportunity with a .500 batting average in six at-bats. Murray is a switch-hitter with all kinds of intent and pull-side power in his left-handed swing. If Murray can settle into the varsity level it gives Lane Tech yet another dynamic piece to work with. Here is what we had on Murray from the recent Preseason All-State: Underclass:

"... a recent Boston College commit, [Murray] took one of the most aggressive, intentful rounds of BP on the day, especially from the left-side of the plate. Murray showed off advanced bat speed and a knack for hard, loud contact elevated consistently to the pull-side of the field. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound creates all kinds of jump off the barrel, averaging 93.1 mph off the bat, peaking at 99.1 mph with his furthest batted ball traveling 370’, second-best at the event."

Newcomer to Watch 

+ 1B/OF Ethan Borggren (2024) will be a new face to Lane Tech's varsity roster this season, and he certainly has the tools to make an immediate impact. Currently the No. 141-ranked player in the state, Borggren swings a loud right-handed bat that has the chance to impact the lineup early on, showing extremely well this past winter for us in-event. He's also athletic for his size, being a 7.14 runner in the 60, and should be able to slot in at first base or in the outfield.

Stat Rat 

(Josh Katz, 6/24/22)

+ RHP Josh Katz (2023; Pennsylvania) is coming off a monster 2022 campaign where he went a perfect 5-0 on the mound in 40.1 innings, a 0.87 ERA, WHIP of 0.669, and 48 strikeouts against just nine walks. He also was one of the top bats in the heart of Tech's lineup last season, hitting at a .318 clip in 88 at-bats, to go along with a .479 OBP, .979 OPS and .500 slugging percentage. Katz will surely be looking to repeat, if not exceed the success he had last season, and he will be someone that Tech relies on heavily on both sides of the ball.


Lane Tech is coming off a strong 2022 campaign, finishing tied for first in conference to go along with a City Championship title. Though they have graduated a few key pieces from last year's team, the new bunch already shows signs of being a team not to take lightly – taking home the Summer IHSBCA Championship title.

At first glance, the top end of their rotation looks to be one of their strongpoints. Led by Penn recruit Josh Katz (2023), Tech has the luxury of rolling out a few more talented arms after him that should match up nicely with some of the other top teams in the state.

RHP Jacob Maza (2023; Webster), a 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander, brings a quality three-pitch mix to the table. He can work his fastball into the mid-80s to pair with an above-average changeup and sharp curveball that looks to be a potential out-pitch for him. He saw quite a bit of time for Tech on the mound last season, recording 52.1 innings and a 3.87 ERA.

One arm that saw success for Tech last season was LHP Lucino Sotelo (2023). Though he missed a chunk of the 2022 season due to injury, he put up impressive numbers upon his return – 16 innings pitched, a 0.44 ERA, 0.688 WHIP, .088 BAA and 90 percent weak contact rate. 

RHP Amaan Khan (2024), though unexperienced at the varsity level, has some other valuable experience to bring to the table – representing Team Pakistan in the World Baseball Classic. Listed at a projectable 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Khan is a fluid mover on the mound that still has room to fill out in the coming years. He can work his fastball easily into the mid-80s, and we've heard reports of him being more in the upper-80s. He also has a quality curveball-changeup combination to pair off his fastball. 

Helping to round out the staff for Lane Tech will be LHP Mark Seward (2023) and RHP Jack Davis (2024), and both should add some quality depth to an already deep rotation. 

Moving over to the offense, Lane Tech returns a number of producers from last year's team, with some intriguing younger guys that could certainly step up and add depth. Here's three returners who immediately stand out with the bat: Louie Derechin (2023), Jack Tzur (2023) and Leo Zerrilo (2023; Milwaukee Area Tech JC).

Derechin is coming off a strong 2022 campaign where he hit .380 in 100 at-bats with a .472 OBP, 1.122 OPS, .650 slugging percentage, 13 doubles, 46 RBIs and 25 runs scored. He will certainly look to be a key piece in the heart of Tech's lineup this coming season. Tzur was also a key bat for Tech last season, boasting a .358 batting average in 81 at-bats with a .480 OBP, .949 OPS and .469 slugging. Zerrilo saw limited time last season, but was highly impactful during the time he did see – recording a .389 batting average in 18 at-bats with a .450 OBP, a .950 OPS and .500 slugging. 

Looking at these three returners, along with Katz and the prowess he possess with the bat, we are looking at a very strong and battle-tested core that should be the heart and soul of the lineup. 

The offense doesn't stop there however, with the aforementioned Murray and Borggren looking to add some extra firepower to the lineup.

Some other names that could help add even more depth to the lineup this coming season are C Zach Shashoua (2023), OF Emiliano Perez-Zeeb (2024), former PBR Junior Future Gamer MIF Tyler Rwakatare-Trapp (2025) and defensive standout MIF Theodore Greco (2025). 

Bottom Line

One easy way to catch a glimpse of a team's upcoming season is to see how they did in the Summer State Championship, and Lane Tech brought home the title. Though they lost a few pieces, they return most of their core group and even added some younger talent that could make an immediate impact. If the core can repeat the success they had last year, along with the new younger group stepping up and filling out some roles, Lane Tech is very much a team to look out for down the stretch. 

Follow along at @PBRIllinois for continued coverage throughout the high school season.