Preseason High School Preview: Springfield Catholic

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

The Missouri high school baseball season is set to kick off shortly, with ‘Opening Day’ set for March 17th. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Springfield Catholic
2022 Record: 18-11
Conference: Big Eight
Classification: 4A
Head Coach: Courtney Spitz


Ben Smith, RHP, 2023, Missouri signee: Smith’s status as one of the premium arms in Missouri has been established for quite some time now. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound right-hander rose up our recent senior class rankings, now slotted at 12th overall, and is coming off a stellar season for the Irish. He was the Big Eight ‘Conference Player of the Year’ adding first team all-district and all-state honors to his list of accolades as well. In 2022, Smith struck out 98 batters over 61 innings with a 1.14 ERA, making two dominant starts in the state playoffs as well. He also batted .522 with an OPS of 1.487 with 17 extra-base hits and 30 RBIs, scoring 34 times himself. A power arm with swing-and-miss stuff that’s regularly proven himself, Smith brings true starpower to the Irish’s roster and is on our early ‘Player of the Year’ shortlist.


Jack Smith, RHP, 2026, Missouri commit: Like his older brother Ben, the youngest Smith sibling is also committed to the in-state Tigers, and his arrival adds more talent to a rotation that’s full of it. We’ve yet to get our eyes on him up close, but have heard nothing but positives, and we’re eager to see the impact he can make for this Springfield Catholic team early on in his career.


The Irish entered the 3A playoffs last spring with a 13-10 record, a result of their rigorous regular season schedule, before rattling off five straight wins to place themselves into the state championship game. They fell just short of a title, but the Irish gained valuable experience as a program and return multiple key pieces from that runner-up squad. Even with moving up to the 4A classification, Springfield Catholic figures to be a force this spring.

RHP Coleman Morrison (2023; Jefferson JC) lines up with Ben Smith to form a powerful duo atop this rotation. At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, Morrison’s fastball plays in the upper-80s, breaching the 90 mph mark on occasion, and he compliments it with a firm low-80s slider, too. Morrison struck out 67 batters over 41 ⅓ innings last year and contributed offensively as well, batting .367 with a .934 OPS.

Two more reliable seniors from last year’s group: C Logan Ripper (2023; St. Charles CC) and UTL Hans Kaiser (2023). Ripper’s an asset behind the plate, handling this staff with comfort while serving as a vocal leader for the Irish. Strides offensively over the winter have Ripper set up for a strong senior season, and they’ll look for him to be a middle-of-the-order type bat in 2023. Kaiser will serve in a utility role for Springfield Catholic, and he’s capable of bringing value defensively both in the outfield and infield. He’s another name the Irish are excited about internally that can run and contribute offensively in multiple ways.

A pair of brothers, RHP Cole Schoen (2024) and UTL Jack Schoen (2024), impressed us across two different looks this winter, and they both are expected to be main contributors for the Irish this year. Cole is a strike thrower with an upside 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame and a certain ease to him on the mound. He lived in the zone with his fastball, a pitch that most recently sat 87-88 mph at the A’s Scout Day, spinning two 2500+ RPM breaking balls with differing actions off it. Jack is more of a do-it-all type that’ll see time in the outfield, infield, and on the mound, too. He’s a fluid athlete with arm and bat strength that’s ability to play well at multiple spots makes him a valuable asset for the Irish. One other junior of note is OF Ben Ruter (2024), who batted over the .360 mark as a sophomore and brings another versatile skill-set to the mix, showing well at the A’s Scout Day both at the plate and on the mound.


Springfield Catholic is deep in multiple areas. They return a large chunk of their offensive success from 2022 and feature a three-headed rotation of Smith, Morrison, and Schoen that’ll go toe-to-toe with anyone in their classification. Bumping up a level won’t be easy, but playing a competitive regular season schedule will have the Irish ready to roll once postseason play begins. 

Follow along @PBRMissouri for complete coverage of the 2023 high school season.