Weekly Diamond Notes


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

Lyons Township's junior RHP Grant Leader was dubbed our latest PBR Illinois Player of the Week after a great two-outing week that featured a season-defining win over rivals Oak Park-River Forest. He struck out 19 batters and walked none in 8.2 innings last week. He was also responsible for handing the Huskies their first loss of 2018. 

Each week, we’ll acknowledge some of the best performers who fell just short of being named the Player of the Week. Let’s take a look at 2018’s latest edition of Diamond Notes in the section below. Good weather across the state had each and every squad fit in as many games as possible, making way for a number of great performances, too. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.

WEEK 6 PERFORMANCES

Jalen Greer, SS, St. Rita, 2019
The junior shortstop and Missouri commit, Jalen Greer, had an excellent week and was a big reason why the Mustangs won both of its games against Catholic League rival Mount Carmel. In four games last week, Greer was 8-for-16 and drove in eight runs, scoring five times himself. Five of those eight hits went for extra bases, including four doubles and a triple. In the two-game series against the Caravan, Greer was 4-for-5 with six RBIs.

Coby Moe, RHP, Grayslake Central, 2019
Moe, the No. 45-ranked junior in Illinois, is experiencing a phenomenal season. He threw his second one-hitter of the spring last Thursday against crosstown rivals Grayslake North. He struck out nine in the win and helped his Rams get to 14-0. On the year, he’s got a K:BB ratio of 26:3 in three starts and has only allowed one earned run.

Trenton Matlock, RHP/SS, Shawnee, 2018
Shawnee’s two-way star, Trenton Matlock, threw a no-hitter in Thursday’s win over Meridian. He struck out 11 of the 18 batters he faced and did not record a walk. At the plate, he went 2-for-5 with three run scored and drove in three runs. He also stole four bags in the win.

Austin Stevens, RHP/INF, Galatia, 2019
Austin Stevens starred both on the mound and at the plate for Galatia in their four games last week. In Galatia’s two games at Rent One Park, he went a combined 4-for-5 and reached base six times. He started the second game and struck out seven in four innings of work and only allowed one hit. He threw again on Friday where he tossed up a nearly identical line, throwing five innings and allowing just one hit while he struck out another seven batters, this time against Golcanda.

Nate Roth, C/RHP, Salem, 2018
Salem’s senior catcher, Nate Roth, had a clutch week for the Wildcats. In the batter’s box, Roth was 8-for-13, smacked two homers, and drove in seven runs and scored six times himself. He also earned the win on the mound on Saturday and locked down a save on Tuesday.

Collin Witzke, RHP, Oswego East, 2019
Illinois’ No. 73-ranked junior, righty Collin Witzke, put together another impressive line on the mound in Oswego East’s win over Romeoville last week. Witzke threw six innings and did not allow an earned run, while he struck out 13 and allowed only one hit and three walks. This additional proof of how good he’s been this spring. He’s now struck out 44 batters in 24.2 innings and has only given up three earned runs along the way.

Tim Jean, 3B, Libertyville, 2018
It was another immensely important week for Tim Jean and Libertyville that featured four wins -- three over Lake Forest and another against Warren Township. Jean, a Heartland Community College commit, went 7-for-13 with two homers, two doubles, and he drove in nine critical runs. He’s been a staple within No. 11 Libertyville’s lineup all season long.

Riley Gowens, RHP, Libertyville, 2018
The Wildcats ace was one, just one, batter away from no-hitting Lake Forest on last Tuesday. He allowed a base hit to the final batter he faced before he was relieved but he still put together quintessential Gowens line; the Illinois commit allowed just the one hit, three walks, in 6.2 innings of work and he struck out 16 Scouts in the process.

Zechariah Georgian, SS/2B, Belleville East, 2019
The Lancers’ offensive spark was provided by junior middle infielder Zechariah Georgian last week. He went 7-for-16 last week with three walks, four runs, and five RBIs -- as well as two stolen bases. Georgian has been a central figure in Belleville East’s 11-5 start to the season for his work predominantly out of the two-hole.

Jason Hodges, OF, Marist, 2019
The state’s top-ranked junior outfielder put together yet another huge week for the Redhawks in which he homered not once, but twice. Hodges, an Arkansas commit, went 7-for-14 last week and collected 10 RBIs and scored six runs. Marist went 4-1 last week, earning a spot back on the Power 25, and Hodges’ slugging was a key reason why.

Alex Bowker, SS, Carrollton, 2018
The Hawks’ senior shortstop, Alex Bowker, served as Carrollton’s leadoff hitter last week and he he did his job masterfully. Bowker went 7-for-11 and walked four times to generate Carrollton’s offense from the top of the order. He drove in three runs and scored five times in their four games last week, of which the Hawks won three. Bowker is now hitting well over .500 on the year and has tallied 22 walks.

Ethan Jehle, RHP, Brimfield, 2018
Brimfield’s senior righty, Ethan Jehle, made two appearances last week and tossed 6.2 innings and did not allow a hit nor a run while he struck out nine batters. He earned a save and a win in those two games. Today, Wednesday, Brimsfield meets ROWVA/Williamsfield for the ICAC Championship crown, the biggest game on the Indians’ calendar, in which Jehle might see some action.

Dax Meyer, RHP, Willowbrook, 2020
Dax Meyer, Willowbrook’s electric sophomore arm, made two appearances last week and was a huge part of two wins for the Warriors. On Thursday, Meyer pitched the 7th in a one-run game against Addison Trail and locked down the save, striking out a pair in the process. On Saturday, Meyer was handed the start in Willowbrook’s meeting with Hinsdale Central. He scattered seven hits in six innings and the only run he allowed was unearned -- he also struck out six batters in the win. Meyer has maintained an ERA of 1.45 on the season and has struck out 30 batters while having allowed a meager eight walks.

Luke Lamm, RHP, Plainfield East, 2018
The Plainfield East Bengals have surged all the way onto the Power 25 with the help of Luke Lamm, their senior righty and staff anchor. Lamm, a North Central College commit, threw a no-hitter against Joliet Central on April 11 and he followed up that performance with another great start against Minooka last Friday. In that Minooka start, Lamm threw another complete game and scattered five hits, no walks, and he struck out seven, giving up just one lone earned run.

Andrew Hoffman, RHP, Plainfield East, 2018
Lamm and Andrew Hoffman make up a special tandem for the Bengals that’s helped them go 16-2 this season. Hoffman had another strong week, both at the plate and on the mound. The Oakland commit was 9-for-18 last week with a double, a homer, and five RBIs. In his solitary start on Thursday hosting Minooka, Hoffman kept Plainfield East in the ballgame. He finished his start having thrown five innings and allowed one earned run on seven hits, two walks, and he struck out a couple batters. He was on the hook for hard-luck loss until the Bengals came back and walked it off in the bottom of the 7th.

Cy Cox, INF, Staunton, 2021
Staunton’s 10-1-1 this season that’s been filled with plenty of memorable moments thus far, topped by freshman Cy Cox’s walk-off homer against Carlinville in the 8th inning on Friday. Cox had a big week for the Bulldogs, going 5-for-11 with three walks, two doubles, and he drove in eight runs while touching home four times on his own.

Cameron Edmonson, LHP/1B/OF, Rochester, 2019
Rochester’s 15-1 start has been made possible by the dynamic duo they employ at the front of this rotation: Cameron Edmonson and Drew Henrikson. Edmonson, namely, had a week to remember. He threw a five-inning no-hitter on Wednesday over Lanphier in which he struck out 11 and walked only two. When he’s not pitching, Rochester also relies on his bat. Last week, Edmonson went 6-for-13, hit a home run, and drove in seven runs. He’s currently the No. 5-ranked LHP in Illinois’ junior class.

Scott Youngbrandt, RHP, Andrew, 2018
The Thunderbolts have been ranked on the Power 25 all season long and their staff ace, Andrew Youngbrandt, has helped propel them to a 15-2 spring. Andrew won all four of its games last week and Youngbrandt was at the center of the action. He threw a complete game against ranked Lockport, fanning 10 batters in seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk. At the plate last week, he was 7-for-12 with a homer and five RBIs, he also walked three times and scored four runs. Youngbrandt is a St. Louis commit and is presently the No. 17-ranked senior in the state, No. 4 among RHPs.

Anthony Fornero, C, Lemont, 2020
Lemont won four games last week thanks in part to the contributions from their sophomore catcher Anthony Fornero. Fornero went 7-for-13 with three extra-base hits, including a homer, and he drove in nine runs. He also walked three times and scored seven runs. Lemont’s caught fire late and is now 12-5 this season with games against ranked Oak Park-River Forest and Lincoln-Way Central on the horizon -- they’ll need more of last week’s version Fornero to come out ahead.

Cory Ronan, LHP, Routt Catholic, 2021
Routt Catholic is in the midst of an 18-3 season and it’s been the depth of their pitching that’s allowed them to get to where they are today. The lean, wiry Cory Ronan has been an unexpected -- but spectacular -- addition to this rotation. Earlier this season, Ronan no-hit Williamsville in the Rockets’ 3-0 win. He allowed his first run in three starts -- and even then, it was unearned -- but was otherwise as dominant as ever. On Monday against Pittsfield, Ronan tossed another complete game and allowed just three hits, two walks, and the one unearned run while he struck out 10 Saukees. In 21.1 innings this season, Ronan has allowed only six hits, five walks, and has struck out a team-high 32 batters.

Paul Beverly, 1B, Lake Park, 2018
Lake Park took two of three games from Naperville North last week and notched a big 9-0 win over Waubonsie Valley and they couldn’t have done it without their senior first baseman, Paul Beverly. Beverly was 7-for-13 last week with two doubles and six RBIs in four games.

Austin Richardson, LHP, Plainfield South, 2019
Plainfield South’s Cougars are 12-2 this season and that’s because they’ve gotten performances from players like Austin Richardson. The lefty junior threw six no-hit innings in last Monday’s start against Joliet West before he was relieved in the 7th. He struck out seven and walked three in the narrow 2-0 win. He took the ball again this past Monday at Oswego East and picked up exactly where he left off, only this time he completed the feat. He threw a complete game no-hitter this time, allowing only one walk, and two HBPs, while he struck out nine in the 92-pitch effort. That’s 13 straight no-hit innings from the South junior, if you’re scoring at home.

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