Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 15 Janesville Craig

By Andy Sroka
Illinois & Wisconsin Assistant Director

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: Janesville Craig
Preseason Rank: No. 15
2022 Record: 18-6
Conference: Big Eight
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Josh Shere


Jackson Adams UTL Janesville Craig 2023 Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Connor Dillon C Janesville Craig 2023 -
Devin Gudenschwager OF Janesville Craig
2023 College of Lake County JC
Denver Hughes RHP/OF Janesville Craig  2023 -
Jake Schaffner SS Janesville Craig
2023 North Dakota State
Aiden Schenk 1B/LHP Janesville Craig
2023 North Dakota State
Dylan Snyder RHP Janesville Craig
2023 Saint Mary's (MN)
Joseph Stried MIF Janesville Craig  2023 -
Charlie Claas 3B/INF Janesville Craig
2024 -
David DiStefano CIF Janesville Craig
2024 -


+ RHP/INF Brent Klukas (2022)
+ RHP/OF Jack Ryan (2022; Wisconsin-Whitewater)
+ OF/RHP Patrick Schork (2022; Saint Mary’s, MN)


Aiden Schenk (7/12/22)

+ 1B/LHP Aidan Schenk (2023; North Dakota State commit) returns as the key two-way piece for this Cougars squad. Last season, Schenk earned a first team all-conference selection after earning six wins on the mound for Craig, but his bat is what has ranked as one of the top left-handed hitters in the state’s senior class. If there was one primary area of weakness for the Cougars looking ahead to this spring, it’s that they are missing around half the innings they accounted for last year, so Schenk’s output from the mound is crucial for their 2023 chances within the Big Eight and beyond. The North Dakota State does also return a productive .414 batting average while churning out extra-base production, which will help generate a lot of this team’s offense again this season.


It’s a new era for the Craig Cougars, as Josh Shere enters his fifth season as a member of the historic program, but it’s his first as the team’s head coach, overtaking WIAA legend Vic Herbst who accomplished much over his 19 years at the helm of the team, finishing with exactly 300 wins and one Division 1 state title, which came back in 2015, which kicked off a stretch of time that saw Craig win four Big Eight titles in five seasons, their most recent of which came in 2019. Their our odds-on favorite to win the Big Eight in 2023, even with such a noteworthy coaching change, considering the Big Eight’s landscape will look a lot different this year, as Sun Prairie’s historic program also saw another WIAA legend retire, Rob Hamilton, and the school was split into two, Sun Prairie East and Sun Prairie West, dividing the talent into two new-look programs.

Elsewhere in the Big Eight, Madison Memorial is featuring another new head coach, Verona owns the most coaching experience, but they’re returning less than the likes of Craig, which is similar to Middleton and Madison West.

So, this historically competitive conference is facing a lot more uncertainty than it’s used to, and that might help Craig take back control of it in 2023.

Schenk’s senior classmate SS Jake Schaffner (2023) will join him at North Dakota State in the fall, and they’ll combine to generate the majority of the team’s offense again this spring. Schaffner returns a .500 batting average and he was similarly productive last summer, finishing the year ranked inside the state’s top-25 overall prospects in its 2023 class. He has a high-upside left-handed swing and he’s especially athletic as a 6-foot-2, 185-pound middle infielder, returning as the team’s starting shortstop this season.

Jake Schaffner (7/12/22)

More seniors competitively fill out some other key places on this roster, like outfielders Jackson Adams (2023; Wisconsin-Stevens Point) and Devin Gudenschwager (2023; College of Lake County JC). Adams is an athletic, glove-first outfielder who swings a loose and simple left-handed swing that we’re optimistic will find more barrels in 2023. Gudenschwager is a sub-7.00 runner with a loose, direct left-handed swing, and he brings back a .338 average in his senior spring. Another committed senior occupies an up-the-middle spot on defense, 2B Joseph Streid (2023; William & Mary), who brings back a .386 average himself. OF/RHP Denver Hughes (2023) and C Connor Dillon (2023) are a couple more seniors to include here, reinforcing a stout, experienced roster.

Devin Gudenschwager (9/22/22)

Additionally, the Cougars should be boosted by some depth inside its junior class, like by 3B Charlie Claas (2024), who was a factor as a sophomore last year. 1B David DiStefano (2024) is a big presence in the right-handed batter’s box, as a 6-foot-4, 210-pound hitter who can grow into a role as a potential power threat this spring.

While somewhat light on the mound, Craig has two-way players to help eat innings, like Schenk, Hughes, and Gudenschwager, and senior RHP Dylan Snyder (2023; Saint Mary’s, MN) is also back. He’s saw some time on the mound as a junior, but the 6-foot-4 righty could really help Craig’s chances this spring by authoring a break-out season by becoming a go-to option on this staff.


With a conference for the taking, Craig’s senior-heavy roster looks primed to win its first Big Eight title as a unit, since no one other than their new head coach was on the team that claimed the conference outright in 2019. Its North Dakota State-bound duo should be capable of doing the heavy lifting offensively, though if they’re able to find the right combo of arms to feature come the postseason, the Cougars might just find themselves back competing in Appleton at the Division 1 state tourney once again.

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

Find more information on the 2023 Cougars below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule