Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 12 Kenosha Tremper


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. We also declared 18 more programs official ‘On the Bubble’ teams, teams that earned sincere Power 25 consideration.

Today, we continue our countdown to No. 1, the top-ranked team on the PBR Wisconsin Preseason Power 25. We’ll be releasing a team a day in our lead-up to No. 1, and we’re onto No. 12 this evening.

Team: Tremper
Preseason Rank: No. 12
2019 Record: 17-11
Conference: Southeast
WIAA Class: D-1
Head Coach: John Matera
Playoff Run: Sectional Finalists
2019 Final Rank: On the Bubble
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 4 

OUTLOOK

The Trojans are the highest ranked team on our Preseason Power 25 that did not earn a ranking on our end-of-season board last June. But, with a healthy amount of returnees, a solid core of seniors, a sturdy junior class, and several underclassmen on the rise, it seemed like Tremper had an authentic chance to make a third Southeast Conference crown in four springs.

It’s a bitter end to what could have been an excellent season in Kenosha for the Trojans. Sharing the conference with a couple powerhouses like No. 13-ranked Franklin and not-yet-ranked Oak Creek would have culminated in some stellar battles this spring.

Thankfully for head coach John Matera, Tremper has reason to be optimistic about the 2021 season because of this talented junior core, who will lead the squad as seniors next season. Notre Dame commit Ben Loyd is one of the top shortstops in the state’s ‘21 class and he would have done a lot of the heavy lifting on offense this season, too. He’s also the kind of defender that can win you some games at this level.

Ben Loyd (3/1/20)

Loyd would have likely shared the middle of the infield with Riley Dutton, a compact, reliable infielder with solid overall actions and a simple right-handed bat. One other player who had taken a substantial step forward between this year and last was C Joseph Ricchio. The junior backstop was very good at our South MKE showcase at the start of March, looking like a follow catcher for his defensive traits, while swinging an impact right-handed bat. OF Ryan McGonegle is another member of this 2021 class that will be relied on in his senior spring next season, too. Fellow junior RHP Kalieb Lyon was credited with four wins last spring and a 2.65 ERA. This staff is a little light, so his role was and will be critical to the team’s overall success.

There are a few sophomores to look out for here as well, especially Torin Byrnes, a spindly 6-foot-5 right-hander who really shined for this staff as a freshman. The Trojans were a little light on arms in 2019 and Byrnes more than effectively filled a rotation role in his first spring of high school ball. He K’d 51 batters in 46 innings and held a 1.35 ERA, and he would have assumed the No. 1 role as a sophomore this season, after an effective bullpen thrown in March where he was up to 85 mph. We also saw 1B Ivan Jake at our Kenosha-area event back in January where he looked like a future impact left-handed bat. It might have been a little early for him to have sought consistent playing time as a sophomore, but first base will be an open competition next season and Jake looks like he has the inside track.

Torin Byrnes (3/15/20)

The juniors and sophomores on this year’s roster will help Tremper rebound from this spring’s cancellation, a season in which they had their hopes set high but have since been dashed. The 2020 spring could have been special for the Trojans but this program should be ready to compete in the Southeast in a year’s time, no doubt.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

What separated this roster from others in the region was the complementary role this bunch of seniors were expected to play. The aforementioned names are a formidable base and the class of 2020 was set to do more than just fill in the blanks. Left-handed slugger 1B Jason Brulport (Lake Land JC commit) hit .319 as a junior and really possesses some of the best pop in the conference – a perfect middle-of-the-order bat to etch into this lineup.

Jason Brulport (9/22/19)

1B/LHP Ethan Taylor (Concordia, WI) is an effective arm to fill out the rotation, who also hit .278 as a junior. OF Alex Wajerski hit .250 and would have served as solid depth inside this lineup, which looks particularly potent alongside Brulport and the aforementioned juniors and sophomores.

This senior class was prepared to balance out the classes behind them, which would have produced a squad worthy of a deep postseason run in 2020.

RELATED CONTENT