Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 14 Oak Park-River Forest


By Diego Solares
Illinois Staff

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on April 12, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, leading into a countdown 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 2021 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Oak Park-River Forest
Preseason Rank:
2019 Record: 24-13
Conference: West Suburban
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Joe Parenti

TOP PLAYERS

NAME POS CLASS COMMITMENT
Jared Cortez INF 2021 Milwaukee Area Technical JC
Quinn Flemming OF 2021 -
Ethan Glossa C 2021 Rock Valley JC
Grant Holderfield LHP/OF 2021 Indiana
Billy Kouris OF 2021  
Aiden Krupp RHP/1B 2021 Notre Dame
David Andolina RHP 2022 Lehigh
Jack Chambers INF 2022 -
Evan Eberle RHP 2022 -
Jack Flagg OF/RHP 2022 -
Danny Michaud 1B 2022 -
Giovanni Pamias INF 2022 -
Cole Shamhart RHP 2022 -
Francis Heinzmann RHP 2023 -
Calvin Proskey RHP 2023 -
Mason Phillips OF 2024 -

STAT RAT 

14: The number of players that return to this Oak Park-River Forest squad that would have been on last year’s squad prior to the season cancellation.

UNDERCLASSMAN TO WATCH

Penciled in as a potential starter for the Huskies in his first year at the high school level is OF Mason Phillips. He boasts an athletic 6-foot, 175-pound frame and is one of the top athletes in the state’s 2024 class, recently running a 6.67 at the Underclass Invitational a few weeks ago. That standout level of athleticism is noteworthy, regardless of age, and allows Phillips to comfortably patrol the outfield with a smooth flow to his game. He’ll be tasked with manning a key defensive spot for the Huskies and will have to rise to the occasion if they want to achieve their season-long goals as a squad.

Mason Phillips (10/25/20)

X-FACTOR

Leading the charge for Oak Park - River Forest on both sides of the ball is Indiana commit LHP/OF Grant Holderfield. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Holderfield is a highly competitive southpaw that attacks the zone with a mid-80s fastball, topping out at 87 mph at The Rock this past summer, and uses a sharp low-70s curveball to get swings-and-misses. Known for his prowess on the rubber, Holderfield should slot right in towards the top of the Huskies’ lineup too, making him a key all-around piece to their squad. 

Grant Holderfield (9/12/20)

OUTLOOK

Rounding out this rotation, with the aforementioned Holderfield included, are two more Division I commits that are each frontline type arms at the high school level: senior RHP Aiden Krupp and junior RHP David Andolina

Krupp boasts a large, physical 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame and is capable of handling a bulky workload for this team because of that durable strength. Krupp was easily one of the top standouts from our RakeCity Scout Day event back in June and this is what PBR Illinois Scouting Director Drew Locascio, had to say about his performance: 

Krupp put together arguably the most impressive ‘pen of the day. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound, Krupp has a thick lower half, sturdy build that should be able to handle a payload as a starter. Clean arm action, ¾ slot, slight crossbody delivery, open toe landing. Arm is loose and relatively easy, low effort in delivery, gets into his lower half. Fastball played heavy, 86-87, touched 89 with run and sink. Power changeup at 84-86 mph, hard heavy action to arm side. Gets around the breaking ball at times, slurvy action, played at 75-77 mph. Slot looks built for a hard slider down the road.

Aiden Krupp (8/10/20)

As for Andolina, the 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander recently committed to Lehigh after a strong summer and an uptick in velocity. He pounded the zone at our Top Tier Scout Day in June with a high-80s fastball, touching 89 mph, and he showed a comfortable feel for all three of his pitches at that event, too. The Huskies are set up well with him as a compliment to the senior duo at the top and this three-headed monster is set to give them a chance to win a lot of games throughout the entire spring. 

David Andolina (6/30/20)

Even with a formidable trio up top, the Huskies pitching depth is arguably this team’s biggest strength. Right-handed pitchers Evan Eberle and Cole Shamhart are two uncommitted 2022 graduates that are expected to get opportunities for them throughout the spring. Shamhart is a lanky 6-foot-1, 145-pound pitcher that was up to 82 mph last February and showed the ability to spin a potential swing-and-miss breaking ball. Eberle emerged as a follow name in the state’s junior class at last month’s Preseason All-State event after bumping his fastball up into the 85-86 mph range with impressive spin metrics to pair. These two, along with sophomore RHP Calvin Proskey and sophomore RHP Francis Heinzmann, should provide complimentary depth for the three-headed attack atop this rotation. 

Offensively, the Huskies’ expect to be a consistent bunch from top to bottom with their lineup this spring. Senior leadoff man Jared Cortez is a highly athletic middle infielder with experience at the varsity level and the necessary infield actions to provide a strong safety net defensively at shortstop. Expected to split time as Cortez’s double play partner at second base are two juniors, Giovanni Pamias and Jack Chambers, while senior backstop Ethan Glossa rounds out their up-the-middle defense as the team’s starting catcher. Glossa is a strong 6-foot, 200-pound backstop with comfortable barrel strength and he projects to be a middle-of-the-order type for this offense. 

Senior Billy Kouris is the Huskies’ projected starter at the hot corner with the aforementioned Krupp penciled in at first base and right smack in the heart of this lineup. When Krupp is on the mound, junior Danny Michaud will take his place opposite of Kouris on the diamond. Completing this defense is a trio of outfielders: Jack Flagg, Quinn Flemming, and the ‘Newcomer to Watch’ Phillips. 

BOTTOM LINE

The Huskies, like several of the top teams in the state, will rely on multiple highly coveted arms to navigate them through a tough West Suburban conference and overall schedule. Still, they feel comfortable with whoever they trot out to the rubber, as they should, and Oak Park-River Forest is perennially among the most competitive teams in the state. If they can get the offensive contributions they’re looking for from key pieces, this team has a legitimate chance at making a deep run into the IHSA playoffs with the arms they have. 

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2021 season.

Find more information on the 2021 Huskies below:

+ Team Website

+ Team Schedule

+ Team Twitter

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN