Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 16 Hortonville

By Isaiah Glidden
Staff Writer, Associate Scout

The Wisconsin high school baseball season kicks off on March 28, opening day for regular season action under WIAA regulations. Over the next week, 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, counting down through the official PBR Wisconsin Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

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. We also utilized some of the information published inside the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association's 2023 Yearbook, which is available for purchase here.

Our 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Hortonville
Preseason Rank: No. 16
2022 Record: 17-8
Conference: Fox Valley Association
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Greg Yeager


Thomas Burns RHP/OF Hortonville 2023 Arizona State
Camden Kuhnke SS/RHP Hortonville 2023 Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Nathan Vela RHP/INF Hortonville 2023 Winona State
Hayden Timm 1B Hortonville 2023 -
Ethan Peters RHP/UTIL Hortonville 2023 College of Lake County JC
Evan Mahan OF Hortonville 2023 -
Brett Sommer 3B Hortonville 2023 Wisconsin-Whitewater
Joe Fischer 1B Hortonville 2023 McHenry County JC
Kolden Hunter RHP/1B/OF Hortonville 2023 Bryant & Stratton JC
Jack Coenen OF Hortonville 2024 -
Reed Rosenow LHP/OF Hortonville 2024 -
Turner Kuhnke C Hortonville 2025 -


+ RHP/3B Sam Dodd (2022)
+ RHP/3B Easton Plachetka (2022)


+ RHP Thomas Burns (2023; Arizona State commit) headlines a talented senior class that make up the majority of this Polar Bear squad. Burns has long been regarded as one of the top arms in the state and after a season in which he earned 'Pitcher of the Year' honors within the conference, he is set to lead this staff, yet again. Now with his final high school season right around the corner, Burns will be looking to repeat and probably even improve on his numbers from last year, and he certainly has the skills to do so. Listed at an imposing 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, the No. 7-ranked player in the state’s senior class features an overpowering fastball that our staff has seen up to 92 mph. He complements the fastball with a high-70s slider featuring two-plane break, and a bendy curveball in the low-70s. He rounds out his four-pitch mix with a mid-80s changeup, too. While Burns is obviously a follow pitcher at the next level and on, and he did also have a successful season at the plate last year, in which he logged a .377 batting average and will be looking to do the same kind of damage offensively again in 2023.


+ After gaining some valuable experience at the varsity level as just a freshman, C Turner Kuhnke (2025) is set to man the catcher position during his sophomore season. Kuhnke returns a .304 batting average from last year, and after his performance at the Milwaukee Preseason ID just last weekend, it looks like he could add even more to this experienced Polar Bear squad. Last weekend, Kuhnke put together an eye-popping performance, starting during his round of BP where his hardest hit ball of the day left the bat at 97.1 mph, and he averaged 83.1. He then showed some advanced actions behind the plate and recorded pop-times in the 1.95-2.07 range. Despite the majority of this team being made up of seniors, head coach Greg Yeager and his staff are confident in Kuhnke to be the everyday backstop for the Polar Bears and he certainly has the tools and skillset to be one of the top performers for this team all season long. 

Turner Kuhnke (3/19/22)


Last year the Polar Bears endured a relatively successful season as they took home a regional championship, but ultimately fell short in their sectional semifinal matchup. From that team, they return roughly 70 percent of their innings and 87 percent of their at-bats, and they also add two more names that were unable to play in 2022 due to injury: OF Evan Mahan (2023) and 3B Brett Sommer (2023; Wisconsin-Whitewater).

Brett Sommer (3/19/22)

In addition to the ‘X-Factor’ Burns, the senior class is well represented across this Hortonville roster, starting with SS/RHP Camden Kuhnke (2023; Wisconsin-Milwaukee), who is another one of the top talents in the state. Kuhnke, a two-time second team all-conference selection, will be anchoring the middle of the infield for the third time this season and he returns a .317 batting average. Kuhnke will also come out of the ‘pen for the Polar Bears, and from an athletic delivery, we have seen him run his fastball up to 90 mph, with feel for both a breaking ball and changeup.

RHP Dylan Schroeder (2023; Acadia) and LHP Reed Rosenow (2024) are two other names set to pitch in some capacity for Hortonville this spring. Rosenow gave our staff a strong look last summer, and he's a name worth monitoring following this latest offseason especially.

Three other seniors are predicted to make up the rest of this deep starting rotation, RHP/INF Nathan Vela (Winona State) who returns a 3-2 record from last year. Vela is another hard-throwing righty that will be heavily relied on as this team's No. 2 option, and his upper-80s fastball mixed with effective breaking balls helps him combine to make up with the state's best one-two punches. When Vela is not on the mound, he is projected to be an everyday name in the lineup and he batted to a tick of .342 in 2022. RHP/OF Ethan Peters (2023; College of Lake County JC) and RHP Kolden Hunter (2023; Bryant & Stratton JC, WI) are two other names expected to be in the starting rotation. Peters, who's committed to play at a northern Illinois JUCO in the fall, is an upside arm as a clean and fluid mover on the hill that has the stuff to earn outs throughout the season, bolstering an already effective staff. Hunter, a Bryant & Stratton JC recruit, will round out this deep starting staff and he is off a season in which he recorded a 2.10 ERA in 10 innings of work, set for an expanded role as a senior now.

Kolden Hunter (3/19/22)

Much like their pitching staff, the Polar Bears’ offense is littered with seniors that have a plethora of experience combined. 1B Hayden Timm (2023) is a hulking presence in the middle of this order. Last year he put together a season last year in which he batted .264, though he is primed to make the number rise in 2023. 1B/DH Joe Fischer (2023; McHenry County JC) is another imposing bat inside this lineup, listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and he will certainly have a lot to offer to this team offensively. OF Jack Coenen (2024) will finish out this lineup and he returns a .324 batting average from last year. 

Joe Fischer (3/13/22)


While last year was relatively successful, it may have ultimately been underwhelming relative to the high expectations Hortonville traditionally holds itself to. In 2023, the Polar Bears have next-level talent littered throughout their pitching staff and they're deeper inside the lineup, and a good majority of them gained some valuable experience during last year's season. Now going into the season, they return much of their team from 2022 and with a large, tight-knit core of talented seniors, they have one more chance to make a run for a state championship, something that they can certainly achieve given the depth of staff, headlined by one of the state's top pitchers.

Make sure to follow @PBRWisconsin on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2023 season.

Find more information on the 2023 Polar Bears below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter