Prep Baseball Report

Breaking Down Nebraska's Class A Power 10

Pascal Paul
Prep Baseball Nebraska

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As we prepare for the upcoming 2024 High School season, we will be taking a look at six of the top 10 teams for Class A heading into the spring.


The defending State Champions start the preseason as #1 in our poll. The Spartans returned a loaded roster, losing only one senior from last year's team. The top lineup in the state, top to bottom, highlighted by many Division 1 Commits: '24 1B AJ Evasco (KState), '24 C/1B Garrett Springer (Missouri State), '24 OF Mason Gaines (UNO), '25 C Jeter Worthley (Michigan), '25 SS Joey Senstock (Nebraska), '25 OF Tory Peltz (Nebraska), '25 INF Carter Harmes (South Dakota State). On the mound, they return their dominated #1 arm from last year in '24 LHP Carter Mick (Nebraska), plenty of firepower behind him in '24 RHP Chase Nelson (St. Thomas), '24 LHP Mason Gains (UNO), 24 LHP Thomas Fraley (Emporia State). With 14 players committed to play at the next level and more uncommitted talent still waiting to decide, Lincoln East is prepared to defend its title.


Having been to the last four state title games, the Wildcats head into this season with plenty of motivation, having lost a close championship game last year. Returning what might be the most complete infield in the state with - Tyson Lewis (Arkansas), Nick Venteicher (Creighton), and Michael Valdivia (Tulane) - all three can play anywhere on the infield, taking plenty of pressure off the pitching staff with the amount of outs they will create. The rubber has been a strength of Millard West over this three-year run, and this year will be no different. Committed players - Jackson Williams (North Dakota State), Ben Sterbens (Northeast CC), JD Moffet (Northeast CC), and Brady Ferguson (Iowa) will get a lot of attention from spectators, but don't sleep on Ethan Cole and Trenton Helms. These two uncommitted players should play a significant role on the staff and make a name for themselves on the recruiting trail. With 17 players ranked in Prep Baseball Nebraska Rankings, Coach Frey and the Wildcats have yet to take a back seat to anyone in the state willingly, and I don't expect it to start now.


The Thunderbirds have their eyes set on flying higher in '24 after a state tournament appearance last season. Returning 6 pitching of 15+ innings and 7 starting position players, Coach Shockey will have much experience and versatility. The mound will be a strength on this team with '24 LHP Nicholas Riggs (UNO), '24 Tanner Hosick (UNO), '25 RHP Drew Grego (Nebraska), and '24 RHP Colin Flores all having the experience and stuff to dominate when on the mound. '24 SS Ty Smolinski's (KState) addition to the team will give them as good of an offensive/defensive Shortstop/ Second base combo as any team has in the state. The lineup will look different often for Bellevue West with a lot of two-way talent and guys with a lot of versatility Coach Shockey will be able to mix and match his lineup to what the team,opponent or the game needs.


Coach Geary and the Patriots missed out on a state championship birth for the first time in four years in 2023 while also losing some on-field leadership to graduation. Although on the younger side this year they have experience and are not short of talent, lead by their Junior Class: RHP Noah Gartner (Nebraska), INF/RHPBrycen Botos, RHP Brandon Berg, Brandt Smith, Tyler Albert - and Sophomore Class - SS/RHP Brodie Jindra (Nebraska), C Carson Derr, SS Jaxson Appuhn, 3B/RHP Noah Carroll, RHP Collin Driffill. With the potential to have a more hunter mindset instead of being the hunted, Millard South has the talent and coaching staff that has been there and done it to be dangerous late in the season when this younger roster gets comfortable.


The Titans look to replace some quality production from last year's graduating class. The main guy looking to jump into that leadership role is '25 OF/RHP Danny Wallace (Oklahoma State). The Prep Baseball Futures Games MVP does just about everything for Coach Lynam squad but don't sleep on the rest of the team around him. '24 RHP Jacob Chandler in the highest ranked uncommitted kid in his class at #16 overall and has the upside and stuff to match up with anyones number, throwing to '24 C Kye Privett (Northeast CC) behind the plate who I expect to play a big role in this teams success this year. Plenty of skill to round out the lineup and pitching some young and some need to get their feet wet but expect Papio South to be right in the middle of all the action come end of the season time.


After another state tournament appearance, the Storm wants to dial another trip to Tal Anderson Field. You can expect '24 RHP Michael Meckna (Oregon) and '25 LHP Cal Cooper (Nebraska) to be a big reason they get there. Still, not the only reason; left side of the infield '24 SS Kobe Eikmeier (Augustana) and '25 3B Eamon O'Gorman (Creighton) will solidify the defense and, combined with 24 OF Davis Estill will provide experience and production at the plate. 24 RHP Tanner Foertsch (Doane) will take on a more significant role in the rotation this year. His upper 80s FB and SL with consistent strikes should give Coach Dahl and the Storm three arms they can match up with against anyone in the state.


The upper class has three Division 1 arms: '24 LHP Jamison Harris (UNO), '25 RHP John Lisec (San Diego State), and Michael Sall (UNO) - and two uncommitted high-end productive position payers in '24 OF Henry Bartholomew and '25 SS Logan Burchfield. Combined with one of the most talented Sophomore classes in the state with nine players ranked in the top 55 in the state in the class, it's easy to see why everyone in Jr Jay country is very bullish on the 2024 season. Mixing and matching his lineup early in the season might be expected for Coach Mooney as he tries to fit the young players into a spot that best utilizes their strengths at the varsity level. Keep an eye on this Jr Jay team. They may play with different confidence at the end of the year.


Having 12 upperclassmen and three sophomores ranked, I think the Lincoln Southwest 2024 team might be coming in under the radar at #8. They are only returning three starting position players but getting back six varsity arms on the mound, which will be their strength in 2024. They will lean on the experience of '24 RHP/SS Karter Chamberlain (Hutchinson) and '24 RHP Mathew Humphery, who combined 60.2 IP with 65 Ks to only 21 walks in 2023. The Silver Hawks will have a chance to win many games with those types of performances all season long.


The strength of the Warriors is in the Junior class with six players ranked inside the top 100 - Lead by C/3B Nikola French (SDSU) and OF Jack Schulz both who were everyday starters and hit in the middle of the order last year. Coach Seals will pair the depth of his Sophomore class and the high-end experience in his Senior Class - RHP Jay Coughlin (Northeast CC), OF Nick Anglim, RHP Grant Beutler - with unrealized upside of the sophomore class - RHP Burke Brown, Braden Hosey, OF/RHP Charlie Maaske. With only two commitments on the team to play at the next level, there are a lot of two-sport under-the-radar kids all over this program that have been at or near the top of Nebraska baseball for a long time.


Coming off a State tournament appearance where they went 3-2, losing in the semi-finals. The Islanders are returning a young roster with one arm, who threw more than 15 innings last season, and three starting position players. The good thing about those returners is they are in positions that matter most up the middle of the field. 24 LHP Cohen Nelson (Cloud County CC) led the team with 43.2IP, adding 51ks to just 21BB, '25 SS Sam Dinkleman led the team in plate appearances with 108, playing every game at SS, '25 C Gage Gannon was 3rd on the team in extra-base hits in only 16 games played last season and will look to add to that with increased work behind the plate and in the box and OF Broxton Barrientos has athletic numbers that jump off the page - 6.96 Sixty, 91 OF Velo and 92.7 exit velo - while leading the team last year in Doubles, HRs, and RBIs. Coach Wells will need some young players to fit into roles around those players for Grand Island to make a similar run like they did last year but one thing is for sure if your best players are playing the most critical positions they will give the program a lot of opportunities to be victorious this season.