Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 5 Mount Carmel

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:

Jeremy Houston
          SS Jeremy Houston

Team: Mount Carmel
Preseason Rank:
2015 Record:
Chicago Catholic League
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
Brian Hurry
Playoff Run: State 4A Runner-Up
2015 Final Rank: 2
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers:

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
AJ Lewis, 3B/C, 2016 (Missouri)
Jeremy Houston, SS/RHP, 2016 (Indiana)
Bobby Seymour, 1B, 2017 (Wake Forest)
Zion Pettigrew, INF, 2017 (Iowa)
Alek Thomas, OF, 2018
Connor Spear, RHP, 2016 (St. Jose[j)
Kenny Koval, C, 2016 (St. Joseph)
Cameron Hupe, RHP, 2017
Jake Lenti, OF, 2016

Alek Thomas. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Thomas is the No. 1 prospect in Illinois’ 2018 class and one of the top sophomores in the country. The left-handed hitting outfielder proved to be a big-game performer for the Caravan as a freshman. On a team with eight Division 1 players, Thomas led the Caravan with eight home runs, including one in the state semifinals. He also plays a top-level defensive outfield and is a premium three-sport athlete.

Diego Munoz
. The sophomore right-hander is the younger brother of PBR first-team All-State pitcher Nelson Munoz, who posted a 14-0 record with a 2.12 ERA and 92 strikeouts last spring.

C Scott Kapers (Valparaiso)
OF Josh Stowers (Louisville)
2B Ako Thomas (MIchigan)
RHP Nelson Munoz (Grambling State)
1B Malik Carpenter (Chicago State)

Junior RHP Cameron Hupe will serve as the team’s ace after the 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander posted a 7-1 record with a 1.16 ERA. Competing in the toughest conference in the state, he struck out 62 and allowed nine earned runs in 54.1 innings.

The Caravan came painfully close to hoisting their second Class 4A state championship trophy in three years last spring, losing a 6-5 heartbreaker to Providence Catholic in eight innings in the title game. Coach Brian Hurry welcomes back five highly ranked prospects that helped lift the team to the Chicago Catholic Blue title and 36 wins. Offensively, the Caravan very well may have the most dynamic unit in the state, even with the graduation of four Division 1 position players. Mount Carmel features excellent team speed and power throughout the lineup. One of the most dynamic prospects in the state is left-handed hitting sophomore outfielder Alek Thomas, who amazingly led the team in homers as a freshman. Senior SS Jeremy Houston (Indiana) returns to anchor the middle infield, bringing top-level defense and speed on a daily basis. C/3B AJ Lewis (Missouri) is an offensive force and can impact the game at either third base or catcher. Junior 1B Bobby Seymour (Wake Forest) is arguably the top left-handed power bat in Illinois’ 2017 class, while junior INF Zion Pettigrew (Iowa) is an all-around prospect with high-level tools. Senior OF Jake Lenti should also contribute this season. Defensively and offensively, the team is stacked. The big question mark for Mount Carmel is pitching. Junior RHP Cameron Hupe is the only returning arm with any semblance of big-game experience. After Hupe, look for senior RHP Connor Spear (St. Joseph’s), senior RHP Gabe Chavez, junior LHP Seamus Sjostrom, sophomore RHP Diego Munoz and sophomore RHP Christian Lucio to eat innings. Houston, who has a strong live arm, could possibly close games or start as well.

The Caravan have the positional talent and offense to compete for another Class 4A state title and repeat as Chicago Catholic Blue champions. In the Catholic Blue, it is a true coin flip between the Caravan, St. Rita, two-time defending state champion Providence and Brother Rice. For Mount Carmel, it all boils down to its pitching. If the young untested arms can limit opponents’ damage, then the Caravan’s offense should be able to power them to Joliet.

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


Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown Previews 

Updated Illinois 2016 Rankings

Complete Illinois High School Schedules