Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 24 Arrowhead


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. 24 this evening.

Team: Arrowhead
Preseason Rank: No. 24
2019 Record: 12-14
Conference: Classic Eight
WIAA Class: D-1
Head Coach: Nick Brengosz
Playoff Run: Regional Finalists
2019 Final Rank: NR
Returning Starters: 4
Returning Pitchers: 4 

OUTLOOK

We’re not used to seeing the Warhawks scuffle through a spring season. Arrowhead actually finished two games under .500 after winning four consecutive Classic Eight titles. And the subpar spring also came as a surprise, as we’d picked the Warhawks to win their division once more and they entered the 2019 season as the No. 4-ranked squad in the state.

This spring – and no one is used to saying this – but Arrowhead find themselves somewhat of an underdog, both in the Classic Eight and beyond. Our staff thinks, however, that this year’s edition of the Warhawks had the ingredients to return to their winning ways.

There’s a solid set of seniors here that could have pushed the program back on track after a slight derailment in 2019, but it’s the exciting group of underclassmen that could have propelled them through a sincerely talented conference, as per usual. We’ll break down the senior leaders in the next section, but sophomores OF/1B James Duncan (Illinois State commit), RHP Mason Buss, 1B/RHP Mason Krznarich, 3B/RHP Emiliano Ramos, RHP/1B Jonathan Showalter, and OF Jayce Weber make up an exciting core ‘22 class and there’s a few impact freshmen to note here as well: C Thomas Curry and INF Ethan Hindle. It’s asking a lot of this youthful group to hit the ground running in what would have been – for the most part – their first tastes of varsity ball, but these underclassmen were ready to take on the challenge.

Duncan and Buss, namely, are two of the top prospects in a seriously impressive state 2022 class. Duncan has emerged as one of the top left-handed bats within it and earned himself a commitment to Illinois State late last year. Buss is now among the top-ranked arms in the state’s sophomore class without a commitment, and he was up to 86 mph at our Madison showcase this winter with swing-and-miss offspeed and an advanced feel to locate. Had Buss been able to emerge as a more regular staff member, the Warhawks would have been able to have a sturdy rotation led by a pair of dependable seniors.

Mason Buss (3/15/20)

Freshmen Curry and Hindle had the potential to make first-year impressions in the varsity dugout, too, namely the catcher Curry. Both project to be follow names in the state’s 2023 class, but Curry has emerged as arguably the best freshman backstop we’ve seen in the state thus far and with the transfer of Charlie Jarvis (2022) to in-conference rivals Catholic Memorial, the job may have been Curry’s for the taking.

Thomas Curry (2/16/20)

Juniors like RHP/OF Tyler Bittman and OF Max Bredeson were important pieces to this year’s team, but will be even more critical as seniors next spring.

While Arrowhead’s returning just 12 wins from a season ago, the talent, on paper, suggests the squad would have been due for a big bounceback in 2020.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

The Warhawks lost a few key, hard-nosed members of the 2019 squad to graduation: RHP Davis Zeutzius (Winona State), OF Nic Wohlfiel, 2B Joey Bartolone (Wisconsin-Stevens Point), Tyler LaMack (Lakeland), and Luke Schraufnagel (Milwaukee School of Engineering), but the incoming seniors had the talent to pick up that slack.

LHP/OF Jacob Cinelli (Carthage College), RHP Carter Endisch (Quincy), UTL Keenan Kling (Dubuque), OF Tyler Loebel, OF Adam Polczynski, and INF Caleb Lorbecki (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) are all captain capable, with the ability to steer the underclassmen back into a winning culture that they were groomed into. Cinelli and Endisch are an excellent one-two atop any rotation – experienced, talented, and steady. Cinelli’s athleticism also helps him in the lineup, where he hit .323 last spring.

Jacob Cinelli (7/16/19)

This 2020 foundation was primed to put the rest of the Warhawks on their backs in a march back to the top of the loaded Classic Eight, and hopefully beyond.

POWER 25 COUNTDOWN