Wisconsin Power 25: Week 5


By: Andy Sroka & Diego Solares
PBR Wisconsin Staff

The PBR Wisconsin staff updated the Power 25 rankings for the first time on April 25, and we’re publishing the second update of the spring today – featuring two newcomers to the board after Week 5 play.

Once again, the week was cut in length by rain across much of the state on Friday and Saturday, preventing us from rearranging the board too drastically with limited results to go off of. Three combined losses among last week’s top-10-ranked programs resulted in some movement near the top of the board.

Let’s break down how things shook out after a rain-shortened Week 5.

TOP OF THE BOARD

+ There’s not too much to remark on here, as No. 1 Whitefish Bay (11-0) continues to play like the program deserving of its place at the top of the WIAA food chain. The Blue Dukes have been receiving one quality pitching performance after another, especially from senior RHP/OF D.J. Kojis (2022; Wisconsin-Milwaukee commit) as of late. Kojis had long been an intriguing position player prospect, but he’s developed an intriguing mix on the mound, and it has seamlessly transitioned into success this spring for Whitefish Bay. Meanwhile, seniors 3B/RHP Mitch Voit (2022; Michigan) and OF Michael Lippe (2022; Louisville) have stayed hot offensively; star sophomore SS J.D. Dix (2024; Alabama) connected for his third homer of the spring in last week’s win 14-4 win over Slinger – the same game Kojis struck out nine batters and tallied three hits himself.

+ While poor weather has particularly affected No. 2 Arrowhead’s (7-0) spring, they’ve made the most of their inconsistent gamedays by stringing together convincing wins when they are able to fit in a ballgame. Warhawks pitching has allowed just 14 runs this spring, and just one in the three games they’ve played since April 23. They swept conference opponents Waukesha South in their only two games last week, 7-0 and 9-1, led by more evidence of their excellent pitching depth. Senior RHP/3B J.J. Vargas (2022; Upper Iowa) K’d 10 in five frames last Tuesday, junior RHP Arik Egerbrecht (2023) relieved him and struck out five more in two innings. Then on Thursday, brothers RHP Mason Buss (2022; Kansas State) and RHP Nolan Buss (2024) combined to punch out another 12 batters. Star junior SS Ethan Hindle (2023; Kentucky) notched extra-base hits in both games.

TOP-10 MOVEMENT

+ No. 3 Franklin’s (7-1) three-game sweep of Racine Horlick – a team that’s proven to be pretty scrappy this spring inside the Southeast – helped the Sabers climb a spot in this update, back to where they were situated in the preseason. Senior OF Dylan Mass’ (2022; St. Leo) clutch double led to a walk-off walk in the bottom of the seventh of game one, and Franklin went on to win the next two games in much more convincing fashion. Each Franklin starter showed well – game one’s RHP/SS Evan Iwinski (2022; Madison JC) K’d seven without allowing an earned run, junior RHP Noah Musolf (2023) struck out 10 in five dominant innings, and senior RHP Jaxson Easterlin (2022; Oakland) kept up his own momentum without another four scoreless innings, and six more Ks. Senior OF Max Semancik (2022; Rock Valley JC) recorded at least one hit and one RBI in each of those three games from the top of the order.

+ Some outstanding individual performances propelled No. 4 Kimberly (7-1) to a 3-0 week that bumped them up one spot on the Power 25. Senior INF Colin Obermann (2022; Madison JC) launched a three-run homer in the team’s big win over then-ranked Hortonville, and just a couple days before he led them offensively in a win over Appleton East. The ‘Makers needed every one of those runs, as they fended off the Polar Bears’ late rally to win it 3-2 final. In that game, uncommitted RHP Brayden Deering (2023) punched out 15 batters and his brother and freshman RHP Sawyer Deering (2025) came on to get the final out to clinch the important victory. Sawyer earned his first win of his high school career against Oshkosh West later in the week, a game in which Obermann added another couple hits. Combine the Deerings with senior ace RHP Al Leitner (2022; Madison JC) and the Papermakers look like they’ve got the depth on staff and enough offensive firepower to march their way back to the state tournament.

+ Up to No. 5 in the state, Hudson (9-1) earned two narrow wins over rivals River Falls, recording 21 hits in the two games combined. They worked Falls’ ace Keenan Mork (2023) hard, mitigating his mostly dominant five innings of work, allowing them to get to the bullpen where they really got to work offensively. Some errors in game two made life more difficult, but pitchers LHP Ben Berkof (2023) and RHP Logan Von Berge (2022; Augustana, SD) combined to strike out 14, limiting the damage. 3B Wylie Baumer (2022) set the table for the offense, with five hits in the two wins; C Kyler Hove (2022; McKendree) doubled in game one and homered in game two. INF Braden Ducharme (2022) had four big hits for Hudson in the key series as well. The Raiders have a two-game set with New Richmond this week, and a trip to DC Everest this weekend.

+ No. 6 Janesville Craig (9-1) has been the benefactor of a big spring thus far from uncommitted junior 1B/LHP Aiden Schenk (2023). Last week, Schenk’s six-plus shutout innings allowed them to overpower Verona Area, 4-0, and then he went on to slug his third homer of the spring in the team’s two-game sweep of Janesville Parker, by a combined score of 21-1. Junior INF Jake Schaffner (2023) recorded a pair of hits in both Parker wins, as did C Connor Dillon (2023). Senior RHP Jack Ryan (2022; Wisconsin-Whitewater) K’d eight in five shutout innings in game two.

+ No. 7 Eau Claire North (8-1) was able to fit in five games last week and the Huskies won each, including two-game sets against Big Rivers opponents Chippewa Falls and Marshfield. They opened the week with a revenge win over New Richmond, too, the only team to have beaten them this spring so far. Four walks and a hit by pitch yanked them back into the lead in the top of the seventh in Tuesday’s matchup with Chippewa Falls – C Jonah Hanson (2022) and INF Cole Bakkum (2022) accounted for run-scoring hits to help churn the rally. They rallied back again in game two, down 3-0 early, as a three-run homer by Bakkum tied it in the fourth and Hanson’s base hit scored the walk-off run. They combined to defeat Marshfield 23-3 in their two wins last week, led by five more Bakkum hits and four more RBIs; senior 3B Gabe Richardson (Minnesota-Duluth) drove in five combined in those two Marshfield wins. North and Hudson have their critical two-game series in a couple of weeks.

+ It was an eventful week for No. 9 Oak Creek (9-1). It began with a wild come-from-behind victory on Monday against Pius XI, one that required a nine-run rally in the final two frames, capped by a walk-off base hit by 1B Ryan Santi (2022; Madison JC). That performance appeared to spark them as a unit, as the Knights swept Racine Case in three games recording three consecutive shutouts, scoring a combined 56 runs in the process. Freshman Nathan Schopf (2025) has cracked a deep lineup to earn everyday at-bats as the team’s designated hitter or left fielder, swinging a loud bat that’s been productive for Oak Creek early. Fellow underclassmen OF/RHP Payten Jibben (2024) and C Nathan Hanel (2024) has made the most of their early season opportunities, and especially last week, leading the way offensively alongside top-ranked classmate OF/LHP Cade Palkowski (2024), as expected.

+ After an uneven start to the spring, Pewaukee (11-3) is back inside the top-10 of the Power 25 at No. 10 overall. The Pirates have won eight straight, including three last week, two of which in a two-game set against the competitive New Berlin West. Senior OF Carson Hansen (2022; Wisconsin-Milwaukee) recorded five hits in the team’s three wins last week; C Jack Sandvik (2022; Wisconsin-Eau Claire) tallied six hits, including a clutch homer against South Milwaukee on Friday. OF Nick Doubek (2022; Wisconsin-Oshkosh) was pivotal in the series against NBW, and he, too, added six hits last week.

CLIMBING

+ Rising up two spots in this update is No. 13 Beloit Turner (10-1), with the Trojans joining Pewaukee as the only D2 teams in the top-15 of our Power 25. They’ve won five straight games since dropping their lone contest of the year to conference foe Edgerton, sweeping Evansville last week and outscoring them 23-5 in the two game set. With LHP Jackson Burk (2022; Western Illinois) anchoring this rotation and key contributors like OF/LHP Connor Hughes (2023), INF/RHP Konner Giddley (2023), and C/RHP Cal Ries (2022) all having strong springs thus far, the Trojans are in prime position to repeat as Rock Valley conference champions. 

+ Three wins last week, including a sweep of Southern Lakes’ rival Burlington, has No. 14 Westosha Central (11-1) up three spots in this week’s update. They defeated the Demons on Monday in walk-off fashion, thanks to a two-run single from INF Joseph Pflug (2023) in the bottom half of the seventh. They went to extra-innings with Burlington in game two and took the lead in the eighth on an RBI double from RHP/OF Scotty Schulz (2023), who also hurled three scoreless innings of relief to keep the Falcons alive. Westosha capped the week off with a victory over Delavan-Darien on Friday, backed by a strong outing from RHP Dakota Veium (2022) on the mound and timely offensive production. The Falcons have now won six straight games and have an important week ahead of them, squaring up against Union Grove twice in a key Southern Lakes series.

+ No. 15 Brookfield Central (9-2) won both of their games last week and, in doing so, are up five spots in the Power 25. They exploded offensively against Saint John’s NW to start the week, picking up a 19-0 win and parlaying that momentum into an incredibly important conference matchup with Marquette. The Lancers pushed the Hilltoppers to extra-innings, where INF Charlie DiPiazza (2023) delivered the final blow - an RBI single to left field for a walk-off win. RHP Luke Langjahr (2022; Milwaukee School of Engineering) twirled an absolute gem and handed the ball over to RHP/SS Noah Dreier (2023), who quieted the Marquette offense to set up the Lancers’ victory. Pair those two up with LHP/1B Matthew Mueller (2022; Gonzaga), RHP/OF Luke Wenzel (2022; Iowa Western CC), CIF Aren Robinson (2024), and INF/RHP Jaxon Clayton (2025) and it’s not hard to see why the Lancers have a talented team that’s trending in the right direction. They’ll play three Greater Metro Conference games this week against Sussex Hamilton, Wauwatosa East, and Menomonee Falls. 

+ The Blugolds are absolutely rolling right now, as they’re winners of 14 straight games to start the spring and they scored 36 runs in three victories last week. No. 19 La Crosse Aquinas (14-0) climbs three spots in this update and they’re the lone representative for the D3 classification featured on this list. INF Eddie Peters (2024), Kole Keppel, Kyle Keppel, and Calvin Hargrove paced the Aquinas’ offense throughout the week, while Pierson Feehan, Nolan Hargrove, and RHP Kahler Key (2022; Rock Valley JC) anchored this staff on the mound. The Blugolds do have a tough week ahead of them, as they’ll host Holmen today and travel to rival La Crosse Central on Thursday.

+ A scrappy, well-coached bunch, No. 20 Greendale (9-3) slots up four spots on our board after a 3-0 week. Late rallies in both games helped them sweep conference opponent New Berlin Eisenhower and they finished things off on Friday with a 5-1 win over Whitnall. MIF/RHP Tristan Ellis (2022; Minnesota) continues to lead the Panthers on both sides of the ball, while MIF/RHP Jack Bauer, C Will Vaile (2022; Wisconsin-Whitewater football), 1B/RHP EJ Kuster (2023), and INF Luke Mattes (2025) all provided valuable production across the board for the Panthers in their three wins. An integral Woodland West bout with New Berlin West awaits the Panthers this week, and they’ll need at least a split to keep up with Pewaukee in the conference standings. 

WELCOME…

+ No. 21 Edgerton (9-1): The Crimson Tide debuted in the Power 25 at No. 21, sitting behind only Pewaukee and Beloit Turner in regards to D2 teams. They’re winners of four straight games, including a series sweep of McFarland last week and a tight-knit victory over East Troy. OF/RHP Peyton Lee (2022; Winona State) has been the headliner for Edgerton, leading them on both sides of the ball thus far into the spring, while RHP Steven Olson and LHP/1B Carson Dupuis (2023) are two more names to know on this club. The Crimson Tide have three more important Rock Valley conference games this week, as they’ll play Jefferson twice to start the week and host Clinton on Friday. 

+ No. 25 Middleton (10-2): RHP Easton Zempel (2022; Winona State) has been critical to the Cardinals’ spring success so far, highlighted by a complete game shutout over then-No. 3 Milton that came last Monday. Zempel K’d nine in that outing, and allowed just four hits to a team that’s otherwise thrived offensively this season. They relinquished a late lead the following day to Verona but got them back a couple days later to even the series – and we were on site for their 14-7 win over Madison Memorial, in which Zempel tallied three hits and seven Ks in a sloppy game that Middleton trudged through and ultimately won.

FALLING

+ No. 8 Milton (10-1): The Red Hawks fell five spots in this update following a 5-0 loss to newly ranked No. 25 Middleton. The loss came at a time in which the teams directly behind them scored some key wins, pushing them a little further down the board than we initially expected it to. Regardless, Milton still looks like it’s boasting one of the state’s top offenses, and they’ve been spotless outside of this shutout last week, authored by Middleton senior Zempel, mentioned above. The Red Hawks don’t have a ton of notable wins to stand on – just one of their opponents has been ranked at any point this spring, outside of Middleton now – but their schedule is about to get tougher, with a No. 6 Janesville Craig matchup today, undefeated Edgewood on Wednesday, and No. 13 Beloit Turner hosting them on Friday.

+ No. 11 Marquette University (9-2): The ‘Toppers’ two losses last week to conference opponents Tosa West and No. 15 Brookfield Central pushed them down the board five spots, closing the gap between them and their Greater Metro rival Lancers. Still, those two losses were their first of the spring, and it came following a week in which they were only able to play one game, so there may have been some rust there to shake off. They rallied back with a 7-1 win over Brookfield East on Friday, so they’re headed into May looking to restart another lengthy win streak, starting Monday with Wisconsin Lutheran.

+ No. 22 Waterford Union (5-4): The Southern Lakes Conference is a grindhouse, and we still like what we’ve seen out of the Wolverines, even despite their two losses last week to Elkhorn and Burlington. Waterford was bested by Elkhorn ace RHP Brayden Marks (2022; Bradley), and Burlington has been a tough out this spring, as per usual. Some poorly timed injuries, etc., still has us high on the Wolverines’ upside, but they’ll have to turn around their back-to-back losses right away.

+ No. 23 De Pere (5-2): The Redbirds went 2-2 in their first week as members of the Power 25, dropping games opposite two tough arms in Ashwaubenon’s RHP Mack Crowley (2022; Minnesota State) and RHP/SS Noah Wech (2024) from Manitowoc Lincoln. De Pere’s two wins came against Appleton West and Sheboygan North, and we still like how the Redbirds have some talented depth spread up and down its roster, and we think that’ll win out in a Fox River Classic Conference that’s totally up for grabs.

DROPPED OUT

+ Union Grove (7-3)
+ Hortonville (3-4)

ON THE BUBBLE

+ University School of Milwaukee (12-1): A hot start to the spring pushed USM onto the Power 25 inside of our first update to the rankings, but their first loss of the year – to conference rivals Brookfield Academy – knocked them off shortly after. Yet, the D2 Wildcats look poised to crack the top-25 again following five straight wins since, including their latest over D1 Germantown, 1-0. 

+ Appleton North (8-1): The Lightning are a well-rounded ballclub riding a four-game win streak and on the verge of landing a top-25 ranking. They scored some early season wins that have since aged well, and their lone loss so far came at the hands of top-ranked junior RHP Thomas Burns (2023; Arizona State) and Hortonville. They have a huge Fox Valley Association matchup against No. 4 Kimberly on Tuesday that would help them make the leap onto the Power 25 next week, should they win.

+ Bay Port (7-4)
+ Kenosha St. Joseph (5-0)
+ Edgewood (7-0)
+ Kenosha Tremper (8-1)
+ Wautoma (8-1)
+ Jefferson (12-3)
+ Catholic Memorial (7-6)
+ Mosinee (8-2)
+ Amherst (10-0)
+ Coleman (14-0)
+ Altoona (8-0)
+ Green Bay Preble (7-2)
+ Saint Croix Falls (7-0)
+ Solon Springs (7-1)
+ Eau Claire Regis (8-0)

**Click here to view the PBR Wisconsin Power 25 board in full.**


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