Prep Baseball Report

Class Four Championship Preview

By Ethan Silverman
Missouri Scouting Director

The Missouri playoffs begin on Saturday with district play, in what should be an exciting few weeks of games to crown state champions. 

There have been some outstanding team performances in 2013, but that doesn't always guarantee a championship. 

As we have seen in years past, sometimes it is the team that gets hot at the right time and rides a wave of momentum to a championship.

Here we take a look at the possible contenders for a Class Four state championship.

The Class Four favorites:

  1. Westminster- The odds on favorite to win the Class 4 championship and their third consecutive state championship, Westminster is just loaded. The No. 1 ranked team in the PBR rankings for most of the season has been firing on all cylinders and will extremely be tough to beat. While still a fairly young team, they are experienced beyond their years and know how to win. Shane Benes, Brett Bond, Caleb Hicks and Bryce Bell lead a lineup that produces from top to bottom. The pitching staff is  deep, led by Ben Lovell, Davis Vanderslice, Brennan Hehner, and Luke Matheny.
  2. Logan-Rogersville- After a rough first two weeks of the season, Logan-Rogersville looks like they can be the most serious contender to knock off Westminster. Offensively, Evan Gruener, who missed games the first two weeks of the season, has been the spark that ignited this team and leads the Logan-Rogersville offense. Hitting for both power and average, as well as providing speed on the base path, Gruener delivers in many different ways. Justin King has been a key component at the plate and on the mound, and will be a big part of Logan-Rogersville’s success. Pitchers Justus Boever and Jacob Schlesener provide necessary depth on the mound, and both can swing the bat a bit when not pitching.
  3. Notre Dame- Always a very consistent team in the regular season, Notre Dame has been tripped up early in the postseason the past few years. This should be the year that they return to the Final Four. After a rough finish to the regular season, losing three of their last four games, Coach Gaviett will have his team focused and ride the shoulders of Justin Landewee on the mound and at the plate. Chase Urhahn will find plenty of ways on base and the power of Chase Simmons should help propel the Bulldogs.
  4. Seneca- A bit of a wildcard here, but Seneca has very quietly put together a successful season with little recognition. Offensively, Seneca has four batters hitting over .400 and a team batting average of .351, led by Payton Rawlins .470 average with nine doubles, three triples, two home runs and 32 RBIs. Dalan Merriman, Colton Webber, and Marty Mailes are also big contributors to an offense that has shown ability to put runs on the board in bunches. On the mound, Rawlins and Merriman lead the way, each striking out 49 batters on the season. They don’t have the depth as the other contenders on the mound, but have the offensive ability to go head to head in a shoot out. 

Keep an eye out for:

  1. Sikeston- If they can put all the pieces together, Sikeston could be the most talented Class Four team behind Westminster. With the strong starting pitching of Trey Tigart, Cord Sheehy, and Gavin O’Brien, and depth with Drew Harper, Jarrett Sandlin and Doug Still, Sikeston puts a quality arm on the mound every game. Offensively, the lineup has some punch, with Tyler Anderson, Josh Hampton, Gavin O’Brien, and Colton Black. There is no doubt the talent is there and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Sikeston make a run for the final four.
  2. Ste. Genevieve- Brock Kreitler put his name on the radar this season, leading the Dragons offense. Andrew Suiter and Al Gunter will also be looked upon if Ste. Genevieve is to have a chance to advance far into the playoffs. Nick Vaeth and his 1.51 ERA lead the pitching staff.
  3. Lutheran South- While they didn’t have the regular season we are accustomed to seeing in losing 12 games, the Lutheran South team still has weapons and they have shown potential in winning some big games, as well as losing to a few top level Class Five teams. Cole Bornhop, Trevor Jost, and Dalton Schumer lead the offense, while Dirk Otterstein and Danny Strohm provide a good one-two punch, with Brandon Downey, Jost, and Schumer providing some depth. If they can get on one of those late season rolls, the have the potential to knock off a few favorites.
  4. Sullivan- The have scored 154 runs and given up only 66 en route to a 17-7 season that I don’t think anyone saw coming. Definitely a wild card going into districts, the Eagles will look to Matt Foster and his 21 RBIs to produce and JC Beckett and Clayton Mayer to reach base so that Foster can drive them in. On the mound, Seth Mesey racked up 58 strikeouts to lead the staff and Joey Lochner went a perfect 6-0 with a 0.86 ERA. All it takes is two quality starters to wina few games and advance. They might not be a popular pick, but Sullivan is another team that will have upset on their mind if they can advance out of their district.