Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 16 DeForest


By Diego Solares
Wisconsin Staff

The Wisconsin high school baseball season kicks off on April 27, opening day for regular season action under WIAA regulations. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, leading into a countdown 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.These preseason previews are also assembled with the help of Joe Waite and his comprehensive Baseball Wisconsin Yearbook, and the 2021 edition will soon be available for purchase here.

Our 2021 preseason coverage continues today. 

Team: DeForest
Preseason Rank: No. 16
2019 Record: 13-12
Conference: Badger North
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Harold Olson

TOP PLAYERS

NAME POS CLASS COMMITMENT
Justin Hausser 1B 2021 Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Keagon Kaufmann RHP 2021 Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Mason Kirchberg INF/RHP 2021 Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Cal Olson OF/RHP 2021 -
Ryan Buschmann INF 2022 -
Tyler Ebel OF 2022 -
Nolan Hawk OF 2022 -
Gabe Kennedy INF 2022 -

OUTLOOK

DeForest hasn’t claimed a stake of the Badger North title since 2016, but this year’s squad has the talent to accomplish just that. Heading into his 21st season at the helm of this program, head coach Harold Olson is just 17 wins away from reaching 300 career victories – and with this team, there's a good chance he gets there.

The Norskies are an upperclassmen heavy group with experience littered throughout their roster, as all of their projected everyday players from the 2020 team return this year. Their offense has the potential to be an explosive unit that can put up an abundance of runs on a game-to-game basis and is a clear-cut strength of this team. 

Leading the charge is left-handed hitting senior 1B Justin Hausser (Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Set to attend the Badger State’s lone Division I program next fall, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Hausser adds a certain level of physicality right in the heart of this Norskies’ lineup. He’s an early favorite to earn the Badger North Conference Player of the Year award for his offensive prowess and we’re eager to get an up-to-date look at him this spring. 

Another name to know is senior INF Mason Kirchberg (Wisconsin-Oshkosh), a top-100 prospect in the state’s 2021 class and an all-around staple for the Norskies. His gap-to-gap bat strength and impact right-handed stroke profiles nicely right at the top of this lineup and he’ll serve a key role on defense with the glove as their projected starting shortstop. Kirchberg will also see time on the mound as a quality strike throwing arm that rounds out this DeForest rotation.

Mason Kirchberg (7/14/20)

Several rival coaches within the Badger North have pegged senior OF/RHP Cal Olson (uncommitted) as a potential Conference Player of the Year candidate and rightfully so. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Olson will handle a bulky workload for DeForest in his final season at the prep level, as the team’s projected number one starter and also as someone that’ll hit at the top of their lineup. 

Joining Olson and Kirchberg in this starting rotation is senior RHP Keagon Kaufmann (Wisconsin-Milwaukee). We’ve seen Kaufmann reach an 88 mph high with his fastball and his feel to spin, in particular, a sharp breaking ball in the past is what’s been the separator for him amongst his peers. Kaufmann has the frontline stuff to carve up opposing lineups and give the Norskies a legitimate top-of-the-rotation type presence each time he toes the rubber.

Keagon Kaufmann (3/15/20)

Moving away from their senior class, a handful of juniors will be asked to step into key positions early and often for DeForest. Behind the dish, C Kase Reierson is expected to handle this pitching staff as their everyday backstop and he’ll play a key role on offense, too. INF Ryan Buschmann showed intriguing offensive upside at the Kenosha Preseason I.D. in February and his left-handed stroke provides some versatility to this Norskies’ lineup. INF Gabe Kennedy, OF Nolan Hawk, and OF Tyler Ebel are a few more names from this junior class that are set to see consistent innings throughout the spring. 

BOTTOM LINE 

On offense, DeForest has a chance to be one of the state’s tougher units and consistently put pressure on opposing teams with an experienced unit from top to bottom. Establishing pitching depth beyond their top three starters will ultimately be the deciding factor between how far the Norskies’ season extends, but they’re the odds-on favorites to claim the Badger North title as things stand right now. 

Make sure to follow @PBRWisconsin on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2021 season.

Find more information on the 2021 Norskies below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN