Preseason Team Countdown: No. 31 South Elgin



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director
 

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: South Elgin
Preseason Rank: 31
2014 Record: 25-11-1
Conference: Upstate Eight
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Jim Kating
Playoff Run:
Class 4A 3rd Place Finish
2014 Final Rank:
11
Returning Starters:
6
Returning Pitchers:
5

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Dane Toppel, INF, 2015
(Eastern Illinois)
Ryan Weiss, RHP, 2015
Max Keough, RHP/INF, 2015 (UW-Oskosh)
Nick Menken, INF/OF, 2015
Dan Asa, OF, 2015
Kyle Hays, INF, 2015
Jared Krammer, INF, 2015
Tyler Hankins, LHP, 2016

X-FACTOR
Senior shortstop Dane Toppel hit .410 last season for the Storm during their Cinderella playoff run. The Eastern Illinois commit will be a force at the top of the lineup, where one year ago he used his plus speed (6.65 runner in the 60) to lead South Elgin with 34 runs scored.

NEWCOMERS TO WATCH
Junior RHP Ryan Weiss isn’t necessarily a newcomer after throwing 24.2 innings a year ago with a 3.69 ERA. However, Weiss transformed himself from the fall to the winter, adding 3-4 mph on his fastball. The 6-foot-4, lanky and projectable right-hander now sits 85-87 mph with feel for three pitches. 

He’ll join senior RHP Max Keough at the top of the Storm’s rotation. Keough is their top returning starter after going 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched in 2014.

Also ook out for 6-foot-9 junior LHP Tyler Hankins who’s impressed with low-80’s fastball velocity this winter. Hankins should be able to make a contribution, as he has surprising command of three pitches for a pitcher with extremely long limbs.

KEY PLAYER LOST
Current University of Michigan freshman Ryan Nutof will be irreplaceable both on the mound at the plate. Nutof dominated in 2014, carrying the Storm to the State Semi-Finals going 8-1 on the mound, including a no-hitter in the regional final, with a 0.39 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched. He also hit .320 with four home runs, five doubles, and 21 RBI. Outfielder Justin Bryski also graduates after hitting .394 with 18 RBI, 4 doubles, and 2 home runs in 2014. Graduated RHP Tyler Brown went 5-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched with 43 strikeouts in 2014.

STAT RAT
Five of South Elgin’s returning position players hit over .300 in 2014, a rarity in today’s BBCOR age. Toppel is the top returner at .410, Dan Asa hit .309, Nick Menken hit .305, Jared Krammer hit .323, and Antonio Danesi hit .322. 

OUTLOOK
With two potential top of the rotation arms in Keough and Weiss, along with six returning starters, look for the Storm to compete for the Upstate Eight-Valley Division Title with Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Vally.

BOTTOM LINE
Ryan Nutof is gone, but the experienced seniors returning all played an integral part in last year’s playoff run. Look for that experience to be an asset as the Storm look to build on last season’s success and make another state tournament run in 2015.

Preseason Countdown

+ Top 50 Preseason Countdown Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

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