Preseason Preview: No. 1 ranked Francis Howell

The last time we ranked Francis Howell No. 1 in the preseason rankings in 2011, they went on to win a state championship. The 2013 version of the Francis Howell Vikings may not be as loaded as the 2011 team, but after a down year by their standards as of late and losing only three starters while retuning their entire pitching staff, Francis Howell should remain a top of the 2013 rankings and should contend for a state title.

Leading the offense once again in 2013 will be SS Zac Perkins and C Nic Perkins (both Louisville Slugger Preseason Honorable Mention). Zac Perkins lead the team in hitting last year, posting a .389 batting average with 16 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. Nic Perkins will provide some power in the middle of the line up. A member of the Midwest Future Games this past summer, Perkins hit .379 last year with five homeruns and 28 RBIs. Mr. Do Everything, RHP/1B/DH Calvin Munson, will also provide some punch to the middle of the order after smacking three homeruns and driving in a team leading 31 runs. OF Mitch Larkin will also look to join in the hit parade of a talented Howell lineup. In 2012, Larkin hit .308 with three triples and 17 RBIs. A new face on the Francis Howell team will be UTL/RHP Elijah Dilday, who transferred into the district. Also a part of the Midwest Future Games, Dilday put up some impressive numbers last season, hitting .439 with five triples, five homeruns and 34 RBIs. The combination of Nic Perkins, Munson, and Dilday should put up some big power numbers in the cozy confines of C&H Park. 

On the mound, Francis Howell returns their whole pitching staff, and has 14 players on the roster who can pitch; and all could see time on the mound. RHP Calvin Munson leads the staff again with his 90 plus mph fastball. Munson struck out 56 batters last season while posting a 1.34 ERA. The No. 2 spot in the rotation should be a toss up between Austin Southmayd and Dylan Salsman. Other pitchers expected to contribute include Nate Green, Michael Reardon, and Donnie Lovelady. Green and Lovelady will also see time in the field.

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