Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 17 Eau Claire Memorial


By Andy Sroka & 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: Eau Claire Memorial
Preseason Rank: No. 17
2019 Record: 13-12
Conference: Big Rivers
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Dan Roehl

TOP PLAYERS

NAME POS CLASS COMMITMENT
Grant Gerber OF/RHP 2021 St. Thomas (MN; football)
Campbell Kapanke OF 2021 Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Connor Lysy 1B 2021 -
Vincent Trapani RHP 2021 Arkansas
Austin Baker RHP/INF 2022 -
Luke Erickson OF 2022 -
Dylan O'Connell INF/RHP 2022 -
Peyton Platter INF/RHP 2022 -
Bjorn Pressler INF 2022 -
Carson Windeshausen 1B/OF 2022 -
Jake Becker C 2023 -
Roman Trapani RHP/INF 2023 -

OUTLOOK

It’s not often we see a pitcher of RHP Vincent Trapani’s caliber come through the Badger State, but the Old Abes are fortunate enough to call the state’s top pitching prospect their unquestioned ace. Trapani’s talented enough that he’ll be luring pro scouts his way each and every start, and Memorial can and should win each one of ‘em. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound righty features an impressive arsenal, including a fastball that’s been up to 95 mph and increasing feel to land an above-average breaking ball and changeup for strikes. No opposing team would want to square off against Trapani and the Old Abes in an elimination setting, which raises Memorial’s 2021 expectations and hopes.

Vincent Trapani (7/7/21)

There are question marks on this pitching staff after Trapani’s place, though they do have a handful of intriguing options. Penciled in as their leadoff hitter and starting second baseman, Dylan O’Connell impressed at our Madison event. last month, and he’s a prime candidate to take over the number two spot in this rotation. He bumped his fastball up to 85 mph and landed a potential swing-and-miss splitter for strikes beneath the zone. And while O’Connell has evident arm talent, his aggressive right-handed bat is probably his best trait and it’ll arguably be even more important to Memorial’s chances this season.

Dylan O'Connell (3/14/21)

INF/RHP Austin Baker is expected to start at shortstop for the Old Abes, but he’s another talented two-way player who we’ve seen stand out from the mound in the past. All of a sudden, that three-man staff is looking pretty formidable. And like O’Connell, Baker should be pretty useful within the daily lineup, too. Senior OF/RHP Grant Gerber is a physical right/right athlete who’s committed to St. Thomas (MN) for football, but he contributes to this lineup and rotation as a capable depth piece as well.

Because it’s a senior-heavy lineup, the Old Abes should be able to muster plenty of offense, even if those same seniors aren’t accustomed to the varsity level, because of the lost 2020 season.

Senior OF Campbell Kapanke is an experienced prospect situated near the top of this lineup who is poised to have a strong spring offensively. He’ll set the table for several of the aforementioned players, in addition to 1B Connor Lysy and C Jake Becker. Juniors INF/RHP Peyton Platter, OF Luke Erickson, and INF Bjorn Pressler continue to round out an increasingly deep and competitive lineup that might push them to the top of the Big Rivers for the first time since 2016.

Platter’s a lanky left-handed-hitting athlete with bat speed who should pull his weight near the middle or top of the order. We’ve also seen Pressler’s twitchy hand and bat speed in person from the right side, and we’re eager to see it again in 2021. Erickson will more than likely be the team’s starting center fielder, too.

Peyton Platter (3/14/21)

Additionally, watch out for Trapani’s sophomore brother, Roman, who should be able to contribute in some form on varsity this spring. He has a loose right arm and low-80s velocity, and his breaking ball has been trending in the right direction. Roman’s right-handed bat is a worthwhile follow, and may be his best tool, ultimately, and he’s an above-average third base-type.

BOTTOM LINE

The Old Abes do have question marks surrounding their rosters but with arguably the most dominant pitcher in the state in their back pocket and a lineup full of upperclassmen, Eau Claire Memorial has a shot at making some noise this spring.

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

Find more information on the 2021 Old Abes below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN