TN High School Team Preview: West Rebels

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The 2023 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Tennessee.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in Murfreesboro at The Spring Fling as they compete for a state championship, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across Tennessee. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews and by continuing other pieces of content covering the Volunteer State.

Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across the state. Each week we will be releasing our players of the week, updating the Top 10 in each TSSAA classification as well as a Power 25. 

*Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

High School Name: West High School 

Coach’s Name: Mark Allen Bounds  

Team Twitter Handle: WestHS_Baseball

Classification: AAAA 

2022 Record: 18-19

District + Region Number: District 3 + Region 2 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Depth and Defense

Top Returning Players:

  • C/RHP Denver Slifka (Carson-Newman)
  • INF/RHP Cole Johnson
  • RHP/OF Zac Ilagan

Top 2024 Prospects:

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook:

The Rebels came out hot in 2022 and looked to be pushing into district contention, but they went 3-12 over the last month of the season, which ended in their elimination at the district tourney with a 18-19 record. Longtime college coach Mark Allen Bounds took over the program this summer and will look to get West back on track. They’ll have some depth to run out multiple lineups and should be above average defensively, but lack experience with untested players playing in key spots. ‘23 C/RHP Denver Slifka (Carson Newman) returns as the ace and will help behind the plate. ‘24 RHP Duncan Gilpatric and ‘23 RHP Zac Ilagan are two upperclass arms that figure to weigh heavily in the mix on the mound. ‘23 INF Cole Johnson will play on the left side and be a key bat after leading the team in doubles last Spring. ‘24 INF Owen Winters will be the top lefty bat and ‘24 UTL Emerson Howard will be able to play all over the field. The x-factor could be ‘25 SS/RHP Fletcher Mays, who could be an impact player positionally and on the mound. Couple freshmen to keep eyes on will be ‘26 INF Mason Dugan and ‘26 C/RHP Griffin Smith. Over the past couple years, district 3 is a very solid league with Powell usually leading the charge then a cluster of teams fighting for the second region spot. The Rebels are hopeful to play more like the first half last year to push into region play in 2023.

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East Tennessee Preseason ID 1/28 BC Athletics Facility (Knoxville, TN)
Preseason All-State (Invite-Only) 2/4 Showtime Sports Academy (Franklin, TN)


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