Preseason Team Countdown: No. 3 Joliet Catholic



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: Joliet Catholic Academy
Preseason Rank:
3
2013 Record:
27-14
Conference:
East Suburban Catholic
IHSA Class:  3A
Head Coach: Jared Voss
Playoff Run: 3A State Champion
2013 Final Rank: 2

Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers:
5

TOP PLAYERS
Nick Dalesandro, RHP/OF/C, 2015 (Purdue)
Rylan Bannon, 2B, 2014 (Xavier)
Drake Fellows, RHP, 2016 (Vanderbilt)
Mitch Boe, SS, 2015
Aaron Markley, 1B, 2014
Kyle Polaski, RHP, 2014 (Palm Beach Atlantic)
Keegan Tyrell, OF/RHP, 2015
John Kalisik, OF, 2014
Brady Kostecki, RHP, 2014
Zach Jackovich, RHP/OF, 2014

X-FACTOR
Nick Dalesandro
. The multi-talented standout pitched a seven-hit complete game in the Class 3A state championship game as a sophomore. Dalesandro excels at multiple positions on the field, with catcher being possibly his best position. But to preserve his arm, he will likely play more outfield when he is not pitching. At the Super 60, Dalesandro was clocked at 93 mph from the outfield.  

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Drake Fellows
. The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder is the No. 2-ranked 2016 prospect in the state and is one of the top sophomores in the country. Already verbally committed to Vanderbilt, Fellows features an upper-80s fastball with a potentially dominant upper-70s slider.

KEY PLAYERS LOST
Chris Tschida, SS (Western Illinois)
Sam Couch, RHP (Lewis)
Alex Voitik, C (Holy Cross)

STAT RAT
How’s this for sustainable success: Over the last six years, coach Jared Voss has won four state trophies, including two championships (2009 and 2013). In his 15 years at the helm, Voss has a 387-166-1 record, and has earned six state trophies. In 2000 and 2004 JCA finished runner-up.

OUTLOOK
The Hilltoppers are primed for another championship run. Pitching is a definite strength. Not only do they have the frontline pitching (Dalesandro, Fellows, Polaski), they have considerable depth on the mound, too. Defensively, they should be rock-solid. Left-handed hitting junior Mitch Boe, who started at second base last season, should slide over to shortstop to replace All-Stater Chris Tschida. Senior MIF Rylan Bannon, who’s signed at Xavier, is an excellent defender as well. Dalesandro is a difference-maker no matter where he plays on the field. Seniors Aaron Markley (19 RBI, .368 BA) and John Kalisik (18 RBI, .319 BA) are coming off solid junior campaigns, and Keegan Tyrell (.327 BA, 14 RBI) also returns.

BOTTOM LINE
JCA is one of the clear favorites to win the 3A championship. But it won’t be easy. The Hilltoppers will likely be in the same regional as Lemont and Lincoln-Way West, and winning the East Suburban Catholic Conference crown is a tall task as well. But Voss plays one of the toughest schedules in the state, so his teams are always battle-tested come the playoffs.

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