Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 2 Whitefish Bay


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. 2 this evening.

Team: Whitefish Bay
Preseason Rank: No. 2
2019 Record: 27-3
Conference: North Shore
WIAA Class: D-1
Head Coach: Jay Wojcinski
Playoff Run: Sectional Finalists
2019 Final Rank: No. 11
Returning Starters: 7
Returning Pitchers: 5 

OUTLOOK

It’s unfortunate, and that’s an understatement, that we’re missing a full season of this exhilarating Whitefish Bay core. So, while the Blue Dukes will be back almost in full in 2021, it would have been so much fun to see just how far this group of predominantly sophomores and juniors could have gone in the postseason after much of the same squad won 27 games in 2019.

A couple of the best sophomores in the Midwest reside in Whitefish Bay’s dugout: OF Michael Lippe, a Louisville commit, and RHP/INF Mitchell Voit, who’s committed to Michigan. They’re the headliners on their own team, too, but there’s quite an ensemble here that could have worked in conjunction with one another to lift the Blue Dukes to state. In the D-2 class last spring, this team fell a game short of the trip with a loss in their Sectional title game to eventual runners-up Union Grove. That was critical experience gained for such a youthful squad and they would have applied it right away in this 2020 season.

This lineup already projects to be, arguably, the best in the state ahead of the 2021 season. It’s going to look practically identical to the one they would have used this spring.

Lippe is a physical force in the middle of the order and he’s really only gotten better since the conclusion of his freshman season. He’s carved muscle to use into his explosive right-handed bat and it’s only going to help him make even better use of his innate feel to hit. Lippe hit .426 as a freshman and drove in 26 runs, with 33 steals to help underscore the kind of unique athlete he is, and that was just in his debut spring at the varsity level. He earned an All-State Honorable Mention and was the only freshman to do so. Lippe was also relied on as the team’s closer or high-leverage arm and he earned three saves without allowing a run all spring. It’s looking like Lippe is going to leave behind a one-of-a-kind legacy at Whitefish Bay, and we’re looking forward to seeing if that includes a state title for this program.

Michael Lippe (3/1/20)

And as exciting of an athlete as Lippe is, Voit offers some electricity of his own. Minor injuries prevented the Michigan commit from pitching much as a freshman, but Voit completely broke out on the mound later in the summer and fall, which ultimately helped him land and accept that verbal commitment. This past winter, at the start of March, Voit toed the rubber at our South MKE I.D. event where he was up to an easy 89 mph with advanced offspeed feel. He’s also a premium all-around athlete, having run a 6.87 in the 60 at that showcase, and will fill also be a go-to bat in this lineup. He hit .400 himself with another 18 stolen bases as a freshman. More importantly, come next spring, the Blue Dukes will be in need of a No. 1 option in the rotation and Voit should be able to stroll into that role.

Mitchell Voit (3/1/20)

And the 2020 campaign was also set to introduce you to D.J. Kojis, who didn’t get much action as a freshman but was bound to make an enormous impact as a sophomore. He’s a nationally ranked prospect in his own right with long, athletic limbs that help create advanced contact from the right side. He also moves well in the outfield and has an efficient low-80s arsenal from the mound, which this team might need next spring.

The 2021 spring will have some now-or-never vibes to it with this group, because this program’s junior class is supplying much of the depth on the roster. 1B/3B Brady Marget was a member of Team Wisconsin last summer at the PBR Future Games and looks like one of the top uncommitted left-handed bats in the state. He hit .432 as a sophomore for Whitefish Bay last spring and he had big things in store for his junior season. Marget looked sharp at our March showcase and we were excited to see him build off it for his high school.

Brady Marget (3/1/20)

Marget’s junior teammates 2B/SS Brady Counsell, OF/RHP Jack Stecker and C Cullen Starker are each critically important to this squad and all performed at a high level in their sophomore seasons. Counsell is a reliable defender who’s only getting better and stronger from the right-handed batter’s box. Stecker is blooming into a high-follow on his own, with big arm strength and an athletic, loose bat that finds the barrel with ease. Starker is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound backstop who hit over .400 as a sophomore with a .917 OPS, proving that there is no weak spot in the Blue Dukes’ lineup.

It might have been too early for them in 2020, but freshmen OF/LHP Ian Gun and INF Jack Counsell may have some role to play on next year’s team. Either way, they give this program another pair of prospects to watch for the future. 

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

What makes this program’s future so bright despite this lost season is the youth on the roster. Obviously, the aforementioned juniors, sophomores, and freshmen will be back in 2021, potentially as state favorites. There weren’t many seniors on this roster that this team would have been relying on in 2020 except for one major player: RHP Evan Provancher. Simply, the big right-hander just gets results.

Operating as the team’s No. 1 arm last year, Provancher was credited with 10 wins – three of which were shutouts – and he maintained a 0.84 ERA in 60 innings, K’ing 68 against just 18 walks. If there’s one thing this team might be short on in 2021, it’s pitching. There will be some obvious go-tos like Voit and potentially Kojis, Stecker, but Provancher was a proven winner and he was going to be vital to this year’s version of the Blue Dukes.

Whitefish Bay looks like one of the strongest teams in the state on paper, and even though they were young, many of the same pieces that helped them win 27 games a year ago were back as experienced contributors this spring. The squad would have had to navigate new D-1 waters in 2020, but that shouldn’t have fazed them. There’s too much talent inside this dugout and we expected them to barge their way to the state tournament.

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