Preseason Countdown No. 37 Erie

By PBR Staff

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage. The Top 50 teams are picked from all classifications, and are not divided up by class level. To see the entire list click here   

Team: Erie
Preseason Rank: 37
2016 Record: 16-9
Conference: Tri Valley
CHSAA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Harold Simmons
Playoff Run: Lost to Valor 6-3 in the 4A State Semi Finals
2016 Final Rank: 32
Returning Starters: 4
Returning Pitchers: 2

Zach Elliston, OF/RHP, 2017
Hunter Nelson, 1B, 2017
Ruben Portillo, RHP/INF, 2017
Ryley Deckert, OF, 2017

Seth Lutgens, RHP, 2017
Matt Kelly, 2018

Josh Crites
Victor Villa
Clint Allen

STAT RAT:  Last year as a staff the Tigers used  a 3.21 ERA with 134 K's to make a run at the 4A crown.

BOTTOM LINE:  The Tigers made their second consecutive Final 8 appearance in 2016 and saw their run come to and end in the semi finals losing to eventual champion Valor Christian.  In order to compete this year and make another run, they will need to find a way to replace pitching and in particular 134 strike outs.  Ruben Portillo who went 7-1 in 14 appearances last year will be the ace of this years staff.  At the plate look for Hunter Nelson .358 with 7 doubles and Zach Elliston who collected 18 hits and scored 22 runs will be called upon to spark the Tiger's offense.  RHP, Seth Lutgens, OF Ryley Deckert and Matt Kelly who gained experience in 2016 will be ask to help lead in 2017 if the Tigers are to add a third consecutive Final 8 appearance this spring.