Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 18 Prairie Ridge



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 25 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Jonathan Tieman
           RHP Jon Tieman

Team: Prairie Ridge
Preseason Rank:
18
2015 Record: 31-6
Conference:
Fox Valley - Fox Division
IHSA Class:
4A
Head Coach:
Glen Pecoraro
Playoff Run: Lost in Regional Championship
2015 Final Rank: 17

Returning Starters: 4
Returning Pitchers: 4

TOP PLAYERS

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Ethan Routzahn, RHP, 2016 (Dallas Baptist)
Jon Tieman, RHP/3B, 2016 (Valparaiso)
Joey Hanley, RHP, 2016 (North Central)
James Mikolajczewski, SS, 2016
Jacob Carpentier, 1B/LF, 2016
Luke Annen, OF/RHP, 2016
Hunter Martin, OF, 2016
Robin Kim, OF/2B, 2016
Nick Schmidt, 3B/SS, 2016
Scott Nygren, LHP, 2017  
Bryce Thelander, 2B/SS, 2017
Ryan Schmidt, LHP/1B, 2017

X-FACTOR
Ethan Routzahn
. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Dallas Baptist recruit should emerge as the frontline ace the Wolves expected prior to injury.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Joe Perhats. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound sophomore right-hander may see some innings this spring.

KEY PLAYERS LOST
RHP Ben Cilano (Bradley)
C Dustin Thelander (BYU)
3B Cal Aldridge (Wisconsin-Whitewater)

OUTLOOK
The Wolves return four starters and four pitchers from last year’s club that won 31 games and the Fox Division championship. The strength of the team rests in its pitching depth and defense - which are staples of Glen Pecoraro-coached teams over the years. Pecoraro will have plenty of pitching options, headlined by RHPs Ethan Routzhahn and Jon Tieman, both D1 recruits. RHP Joey Hanley, and junior LHPs Scott Nygren and Ryan Schmidt should also provide quality innings. Defensively, the Wolves always play fundamental baseball and seldom beat themselves. Look for much of the same this year behind the return of infielders James Mikolajczewski, Nick Schmidt, Bryce Thelander and Jacob Carpentier, to name a few. On paper, the Wolves don’t have an intimidating offense, but Pecoraro teams know how to manufacture offense through quality at-bats, bunt and running and everything in between. Losing three-year starting catcher Dustin Thelander will hurt.

BOTTOM LINE
The Wolves may not have the star power of some other teams in the Top 25, but collectively they should compete for another Fox Valley title. And come early June, don’t be surprised if they are making a run at their second trip to Joliet in three years.

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

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Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown Previews 

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+ Complete Illinois High School Schedules (Coming Soon)