Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 24 Morton



 By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

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

Over the next few weeks 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: Morton
Preseason Rank: 25
2016 Record:
27-8
Conference: Mid-Illini
IHSA Class:
3A
Head Coach:
Jesse Crawford
Playoff Run:
Regional loss
2016 Final Rank:
NR
Returning Starters:
5
Returning Pitchers:
7


TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Ryan Altenberger IL
Morton 2017 INF
Xavier
Adam Christianson
IL Morton 2017 RHP
Illinois Central JC
Trevor Davis IL Morton 2017 OF
Illinois Central JC
Connor Kelly IL Morton 2018 RHP

Haegan Kelly IL Morton 2018 RHP

Vincent Massaglia
IL Morton 2018 RHP/INF

Logan Peterson
IL Morton 2018 RHP/INF  

X-FACTOR
SS/RHP Ryan Altenberger. Xavier commit. Altenberger is a left-handed hitter who as a junior last year hit .300 with 12 doubles, two home-runs and 19 runs batted in. He also contibuted on the mound going 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA. Altenberger, who has a knack for finding barrels should provide some punch in the middle of the order.

Ryan Altenberger (6.16.16)

 

KEY PLAYERS LOST
OF Dan Bolt (Bradley)
OF Ben Main (Illinois Central JC)

STAT RAT
Illinois Central JC commit, C/RHP Adam Christianson (2017). Last season Christianson hit .446 with 15 doubles, two home-runs and 29 runs batted in. On the mound he went 3-1 with a 2.85 ERA.

OUTLOOK
Despite the loss of dynamic outfielder Dan Bolt, Morton returns four starters and seven pitchers, from last year’s 27-win club. They will be looking to avenge a disappointing early exit in last year’s regionals. Morton returns over 120 RBI to the lineup and 23 of their 27 wins on the mound. A number of the returners will be two-way contributors this spring. Two of those two-way players are juniors Logan Peterson and Vinnie Massaglia. Peterson hit .275 with 14 runs batted in and went 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA on the mound. Massaglia hit .295 with ten doubles, two home-runs and 25 runs batted in. On the mound he went 8-2 with a 1.21 ERA with five shutouts. 6-foot-5, 210-pound RHP Connor Kelly is another junior who had an impact on the mound last year. Kelly, who can run his fastball into the mid-to-upper 80's went 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA and struck out 29 batters in 26 innings. Offensively, senior Trevor Davis could be a sparkplug at the top of the lineup. Last season he hit .311 with 20 runs batted in and stole 15 bases. There seems to be no reason why the Potters cant build off of what was a successful 27-win 2016 campaign.

BOTTOM LINE
With seven pitchers returning and a solid mixture of seniors and juniors with experience, Coach Crawford has the weapons needed to make some noise in the postseason. Don't be surprised if the Potters are one of the four Class 3A teams to make it to Joliet.

preseason countdown

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