Prep Baseball Report

WIAA Playoffs: South Milwaukee Sectional Preview

By: Maddox Durst
Staff Writer

The WIAA playoffs are coming down to the wire in the Badger State, as Regional play has come to a conclusion after an eventful week. Many of the top seeds survived their first couple of rounds of action—emerging as Sectional contenders come Tuesday, June 4.

With the talent that has evolved and will be showcased on Tuesday, the Prep Baseball Wisconsin staff will be rolling out preview pieces beforehand.

After pulling off an upset in the second round of action, South Milwaukee will get to host Sectionals in 2024—welcoming in fellow southeast Wisconsin programs in No. 2 Oak Creek, Kenosha Indian Trail and Kenosha Tremper.

OAK CREEK (24-3)

The Knights have once again eclipsed the 20-win mark as a program and wrapped up a Southeast Conference championship in the 2024 season, as they now set their sights on booking a trip to Appleton by Tuesday’s conclusion.

While there are many high-level contributors on this team, none hold more importance than RHP/INF Payten Jibben (2024; Illinois-Chicago commit), a two-way star who is enjoying another stellar season on the varsity stage. Jibben will take on important innings for Oak Creek on Tuesday, as he has been dominant all season long against his opponents. Additionally, he will be a powerful bat in the middle of the order—making a difference in all aspects of the game.

INF CJ Trask (2024; Bradley), OF Cade Palkowski (2024; Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and C Nathan Hanel (2024; Wisconsin-Parkside) summarize the top of the lineup for the Knights, who will need consistent production to continue their winning ways. All three prospects play above average defense, and will be tough outs at the plate throughout the entirety of a game.

The Knights’ order has continued to showcase its depth during the season, as they have received positive contributions from all classes between OF Nate Schopf (2025), CIF Mack Endres (2026) and INF Gavin Zastrow (2027), who can clutch up at any moment, and have done so in a 24-3 season so far.

Nate Schopf [5/25/24]

The pitching staff after Jibben will be vital to how far this Oak Creek squad can go in the playoffs, as names such as RHP’s Brady Rickert (2024; Heartland CC) and Ryan Buchta (2025) will be forced to rise to the occasion on Tuesday, and possibly beyond in this run.

Oak Creek kicks things off against their conference foe in Kenosha Tremper, a team they defeated three straight times a couple of weeks ago, at 10:00 a.m. from South Milwaukee.


After going about their business in an under-the-radar fashion, the Trojans find themselves playing for a Sectional Championship on Tuesday, led by a plethora of upperclassmen who have continued to perform at a high level.

INF/RHP Ethan Bauerschmidt (2025; Penn State) has been a staple toward the top of the lineup for Kenosha Tremper—dominating at the plate, for the most part. Bauerschmidt will be in line to throw on Tuesday, as he has shown well in prior looks throughout the spring. The right-hander shut out a strong Greendale team for six innings in their most recent playoff win—finishing with four strikeouts. His presence in the lineup and on the mound has made the Trojans a better team, as his performances will be vital for their success against Oak Creek.

Ethan Bauerschmidt [3/3/24]

OF/RHP Rory Dutton (2024; Bryant & Stratton (WI)) has been the unsung hero of this unit, doing it all for Kenosha Tremper from a two-way perspective. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI in their win over the Panthers. OF Christopher McMahon (2024), OF Chase Maika (2025) and INF Chuck Preble (2024; Viterbo University) all hold valuable positions on the playing field for the Trojans—looking to make a difference in the end for the No. 4 seed.


The Rockets are the lowest seed in the remaining teams of the Sectional, but will have the privilege of playing on their home field all day on Tuesday.

It starts with the production of RHP Austin Olla (2024; Wisconsin-La Crosse) on the mound for South Milwaukee, as the senior carried them to a win over Franklin in the Regional Final. His prowess on the mound as their ace all season long will be key if they look to continue this run in the playoffs.

Austin Olla [7/11/23]

As for the lineup, OF Max Johnson (2024; Wisconsin-Parkside) has been on a tear since the summer of 2023—continuing to excel at the plate in his senior season. He finished with two hits from the leadoff spot against the Sabers in the upset victory—scoring two out of their three runs. He is joined by Olla in the middle of that order, in addition to RHP/INF Adam Finn (2024). Finn is a multi-sport athlete who has shown well in prior looks on the diamond, and may be the arm to go to if the Rockets make it past the first game of action.

It’ll come down to the wire starting on Tuesday, as South Milwaukee will take on a stingy Kenosha Indian Trail team at 1:00 p.m. on their home diamond.


The Hawks enjoyed a strong season in the Southeast Conference—looking to get high-level production from some of their star players to pull off two wins on Tuesday.

INF/RHP Jack Zeller (2025) has been great in all aspects of the game for this Kenosha Indian Trail squad—getting the job done on the mound and at the plate. In numerous looks from our staff, Zeller has been on the barrel and a run-producer for the Hawks. Additionally, he has stepped up on the mound for Kenosha Indian Trail and taken on a starting role—tossing multiple complete games throughout the year in a long conference slate, paired with competitive non-conference matchups.

Jack Zeller [4/23/24]

RHP Sam Callow (2025), a winner from the winter, continued to shine throughout the spring as a starting pitcher for the Hawks. The right-hander throws strikes and keeps hitters off balance with a strong arsenal, despite not having overpowering stuff. He was one of two pitchers in the conference to take down Oak Creek—proving that this Hawks’ team can hang with anyone in the state.

INF Seth Koci (2024; Grand Valley State), OF/LHP Conner Foster (2024) and OF Brad Bomkamp (2024; Central College) make up a middle of the lineup that can get hot at any point for Kenosha Indian Trail, as they will bee a tough out in this South Milwaukee Sectional.

The championship game takes place at 4:00 p.m. with storylines all throughout the four programs that will be participating in events on Tuesday.