Preseason Team Countdown: No. 23 Peoria Notre Dame



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the top 75 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: Peoria Notre Dame
Preseason Rank:
23
2013 Record:
26-9
Conference:
Mid-State 6
IHSA Class:  
3A
Head Coach:
Sean Watkins
Playoff Run: Lost in Sectional Final (Metamora)
2013 Final Rank: Not Ranked

Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers:
4

TOP PLAYERS

Andrew Shadid, OF/C, 2015 (Bradley)
Jake Hurst, LHP/1B, 2015 (Bradley)
Jarrod Watkins, SS/RHP, 2015
Matt Kouri, C, 2014
Mick Best, OF, 2014
Luke Shadid, INF, 2016
Peter Hanley, RHP/3B, 2015

X-FACTOR
Andrew Shadid.
The physically gifted 6-foot, 185-pound Bradley recruit is one of the top junior prospects in the state. He is a legitimate catching prospect, but he earned third-team PBR All-State honors as an outfielder last spring as a sophomore. A 6.75 runner, Shadid delivered in a big way, tallying 17 doubles, 6 triples, 5 homers, 37 runs, 32 RBI, 55 hits while batting .504 as a sophomore. Shadid and teammate Jake Hurst represented Team Illinois at the Midwest Future Games last August.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Luke Shadid.
Like his older brother Andrew, Luke is a top-level athlete and one of the premier prospects in the 2016 class. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder is a 6.8 runner and possesses arm strength and bat speed at the plate.

STAT RAT
Jake Hurst
, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound LHP/1B, posted an 8-0 record with 1 save as a sophomore last spring. As a freshman on varsity, he went 1-0 with 1 save.

OUTLOOK
With six returning starters and four pitchers back from last year’s 26-win club that advanced to the sectional finals, expectations are high. But the Irish may be a year away from being a legitimate state contender. Their roster is loaded with experienced, top-level juniors and sophomores. First-year head coach Sean Watkins takes over a team that has some exciting athletes, headed by the Shadid brothers, Jake Hurst, and his son, Jerrod Watkins, a junior infielder with a strong arm. Peter Hanley, a 6-foot-6 3B/RHP, is another junior returning starter. C Matt Kouri and OF Mick Best are returning seniors who should again make an impact.

BOTTOM LINE
Peoria Notre Dame has the talent, pitching and overall athleticism to make a significant run in the 3A playoffs. Only one problem: Metamora. The Irish will likely run into Metamora in the sectionals, as they did last year, which resulted in a 7-4 loss. Just as Notre Dame features a lot of talented juniors and sophomores, so does Metamora. Whatever happens, Peoria-area baseball will be very exciting for the next couple seasons.

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Season Countdown

+ Preseason Team Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Player Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2014 Player Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

 2014 IL Top Prospect Slide