On the Bubble: Iola-Scandinavia


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer, Associate Scout

On Tuesday, April 21, the WIAA Board of Control asserted to cancel all 2020 spring competitions, baseball included. While saddened for the graduating class of 2020, the PBR Wisconsin staff will do its best to highlight what could have been this spring, in what was set to be an exciting campaign filled with intriguing storylines to know and players to follow.

We published our ‘Watchlist Squads’ post on Monday, April 20, spotlighting almost 20 need-to-know programs that fell short of official ‘Bubble’ or Power 25 status for our preseason team rankings. Today, and for the remainder of the week, we’re going to be individually detailing our ‘On the Bubble’ teams – teams that earned serious consideration for our Preseason Power 25 Rankings, but ultimately fell just short.

Our 2020 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Iola-Scandinavia
Preseason Rank: On The Bubble
2019 Record: 21-4
Conference: Central Wisconsin East
WIAA Class: D-4
Head Coach: Peter Timdal
Playoff Run: Regional Champions
2019 Final Rank: NR
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 3 

OUTLOOK

The Thunderbirds have one of D-4’s most talented one-two punches atop its rotation – and as we saw the last couple years at Webster – a duo like that can take you just about the distance on its own.

Iola-Scandinavia’s rotation is headlined by RHP Connor Kurki, a Coastal Carolina commit and one of the top right-handers in the state’s 2020 class. He was an all-conference selection as a junior last spring and he also earned a spot on the PBR Wisconsin Preseason Second Team All-State list, published at the end of March. Kurki’s 1.02 ERA helped him earn a credit for five wins in 2019, a total matched by Marcus Jaworski, a talented junior who we just saw for the first time in person, up to 85 mph at our preseason Madison showcase. Jaworski recorded an ERA of 1.60 as a sophomore and was primed to help the T-Birds stifle opposing bats en route to the Fox Cities later this spring.

Both Kurki and Jaworski pull their weight on offense, though they were in need of plugging a few holes in the daily lineup given the pieces missing after its 2019 class graduated. Sophomores like Parker Prahl, Tanner Koles, and Parker Gullixon were showing the signs of making an early and important impact for Iola, that could have propelled them to a deep state run in 2020.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

Selfishly, we were hoping to get a look at the Thunderbirds this spring to see Kurki once more before he headed out west to Coastal, but there were other members of this 2020 class who were robbed of a sincere shot at a postseason run. Justin Sivertson and Brock Gullixon are two seniors who won’t get the chance to suit up again for their high school, but their contributions last year were critical to the team winning this conference at a perfect 12-0, and earning a regional title along the way. Sivertson hit .386 as an everyday outfielder while Gullixon was set to head back out to second base, where he hit .294 in his junior year.

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