2013 First-Team All-State Team is Announced



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

From Lisle winning the Class 2A championship to Libertyville taking runner-up in 4A, the 2013 high school season was filled with many surprises. And not just on the team side. Many individuals enjoyed breakout seasons, emerging from seemingly nowhere to earn Prep Baseball Report first-team All-State honors.

In a crowded field of pitchers, in fact, no one foresaw St. Charles East RHP Matt Starai and Lake Park RHP Christian Taugner would put up some of the most statistically impressive years while leading their respective teams to surprisingly successful seasons.

The first-team All-State team also features several two-time selections, headlined by Player of the Year Ryne Roper from Harrisburg HS. Without question, the most loaded position was catcher, where one of several backstops could’ve qualified for first-team status. However, Libertyville left-handed hitting junior Evan Skoug edged the pack with his consistent contributions with his bat and defensive prowess.

Skoug is one of two juniors to earn first-team status, along with St. Laurence INF/RHP Mike Kornacker. Metamora 1B/RHP Trent Johnson is the only sophomore to make the list. Second- and Third-Team selections will be posted later.

A look at the 2013 first-team All-State selections:

Pitchers

Matthew James, RHP, Normal West HS, Class of 2013
James has been a two-way standout since his freshman year, and has helped elevate Normal West into one of the state’s most consistent programs. The University of Illinois recruit finished his stellar career in impressive fashion, amassing a 10-1 record with two saves. In 67.2 innings, he racked up 106 strikeouts to 20 walks.  He finished with a 1.34 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. The left-handing hitting James also delivered at the plate, batting .411 with 10 doubles, four triples, three homers and 38 RBI. The 6-foot-2 James, who earned PBR second-team All-State honors as a sophomore, completed his illustrious career with 28 career wins and 288 strikeouts, both school records.

Matt Starai, RHP, St. Charles East HS, Class of 2013
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Starai was the spring’s biggest revelation, rising from unknown prospect to one of the state’s most dominant pitchers. Starai threw one shutout after another until he had led the surprising Saints to  the Class 4A state semifinals, where they finished third. In the end, Starai went 11-1 with a 0.54 ERA, including four victories in the playoffs. In 83 innings, he racked up 88 strikeouts to only 17 walks behind a consistent 87-89 mph fastball and sharp upper-70s slider. 

Christian Taugner, RHP, Lake Park HS, Class of 2013
From his first start of the season, the 6-foot-4 right-hander established himself as a dominant ace, despite not having that distinction heading into his senior year. In early May, Taugner earned Porsche Exchange Player of the Week honors after he pitched a no-hitter in his school record-breaking 20th victory. In the process, he broke the school’s single-game strikeout record – a record he owned – punching out 15 batters. Signed at Brown University, Taugner struck out 108 batters to only seven walks in 70 innings. He finished with a 10-2 record – both losses were to fellow first-team All-State pitcher Matt Starai – and a 0.80 ERA. He threw seven shutouts, including one no-hitter, and opponents batted .160 against him.

Catcher

Evan Skoug, C, Libertyville HS, Class of 2014
The left-handed hitting Skoug powered Libertyville to a surprising runner-up finish in Class 4A. A top-level defensive catcher, few challenged Skoug’s arm, but he regularly back-picked runners. While his defense was exemplary, it was the powerful left-handed bat that landed the 5-foot-11, 205-pounder on the first team in a crowded catching class. Skoug finished with eight homers, 13 doubles, three triples, 45 RBI and 51 hits. He also was walked 27 times and had a .545 on-base percentage. And on the state’s biggest stage, Skoug showed his immense abilities by hammering a grand slam that left Silver Cross Field in right field. The blast propelled Libertyville into the championship game. For the tournament, Skoug went 3-for-5 with four RBI. The junior is verbally committed to Texas Christian University.

First Base

Trent Johnson, 1B/RHP, Metamora HS, Class of 2015
The only sophomore to make the All-State teams, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Johnson could’ve easily been a candidate on the mound as well this spring. The two-way standout did it all for Metamora, helping the Class 3A Central Illinois school win 30-plus games and stick in the statewide Top 25 rankings for most of the season. Never mind that Johnson is verbally committed to the University of Arizona as a pitcher, the right-handed hitter established himself as a premier offensive threat this spring, finishing with 10 home runs, 10 doubles and 43 RBI. He batted .462, had a .558 on-base percentage and an .830 slugging percentage. He was equally dominant on the mound, going 9-1 with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. In 70 innings, he tallied 97 strikeouts and walked only 15.

Middle Infield

Ryne Roper, SS/RHP, Harrisburg HS, Class of 2013
PBR Player of the Year, Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year and two-time All-State recipient. There’s not much this two-way standout hasn’t accomplished in his decorated four-year career at Harrisburg. This season, the University of Illinois recruit dominated in every facet of the game. On the mound, Roper went 11-0, which included seven shutouts, one perfect game and one no-hitter. He also notched two saves, 106 strikeouts to only eight walks and a 0.41 ERA. Offensively, he batted .468 with 10 homers, 11 doubles, four triples, 39 RBI, 46 runs, 25 walks, 12 stolen bases and struck out only five times. CLICK HERE to read Roper’s Player of the Year story.

Mike Kornacker, 2B/RHP, St. Laurence HS, Class of 2014
As one of the top junior two-way players in the state, the 6-foot-4 Kornacker helped the Vikings to a Chicago Catholic Blue championship and another top 10 season. The three-year varsity impact performer batted .421 with 11 doubles, five homers, two triples, 37 RBI and 39 runs scored. He also earned Porsche Exchange Player of the Week honors in late April. On the mound, the right-hander posted a 7-1 record, which included two perfect games. He had a 0.97 ERA, and struck out 51 and walked nine in 50.1 innings. Verbally committed to Purdue University.

Third Base

Jake Haberer, 3B/RHP, Highland HS, Class of 2013
Haberer follows in the footsteps of former PBR 2008 Player of the Year Jake Odorizzi, who’s now pitching in the big leagues, as a first-team All-State two-way standout from Highland. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-handed hitter batted .522 with 60 hits, which included 13 doubles, eight home runs and three triples. He finished with 49 RBI, 52 runs, 27 stolen bases and slugged at an .896 clip. The Eastern Illinois recruit also possesses an upper-80s fastball on the mound, which he used to go 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA.

Outfield

Jake Ring, OF, Grant HS, Class of 2013
The ultimate leadoff man, the speedy left-handed hitter capped his decorated three-year varsity career by batting .519 with 41 hits, 12 doubles, four triples, two homers and 25 RBI. He swiped 21 bases and had a .630 on-base percentage. Ring, who’s heading to Missouri, is also a top-level defensive outfielder, one who features a strong arm, natural instincts and the speed to cover plenty of ground. As a junior, Ring earned third-team All-State honors after batting .455 while leading Grant to a third-place finish in Class 4A. In three seasons, Ring stole 89 bases.

Mike Hermosillo, OF, Ottawa HS, Class of 2013
A two-time All-State honoree, Hermosillo was drafted in the 28th round by the Angels and signed, foregoing his football and baseball scholarship to the University of Illinois. The remarkably athletic right-handed hitting Hermosillo has all the eye-opening tools: speed, arm strength and power potential. He finished his senior year with a .485 batting average, 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 30 RBI, 36 runs, 19 walks, and swiped 22 of 23 bases. He had a .587 on-base percentage. As a junior, Hermosillo earned second team-All-State honors after he finished with a .512 batting average, 17 extra-base hits and 30 RBI.

Drew Curtis, OF, Edwardsville HS, Class of 2013
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound athlete was one of the most feared sluggers in the St. Louis-metro area this spring. Curtis had a tendency to belt homers in bunches, and finished the year with 10 round-trippers, 10 doubles, 46 RBI and 37 runs scored. Signed at St. Louis University, Curtis batted .396 with a .511 on-base percentage. As a junior, he tallied 12 doubles, six homers and 35 RBI.

Utility

Kevin Smith, 3B/RHP, Lincoln-Way North HS, Class of 2013
Smith earned his second All-State selection with his second school. As a junior, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound two-way standout was named second-team All-State after earning Chicago Public League Player of the Year honors at St. Laurence. After the season, he transferred to Lincoln-Way North and continued to make the same two-way impact, leading the Phoenix atop the state rankings for much of the season. On the mound, Smith went 8-1 with a 1.46 ERA. In 52.2 innings, he struck out 58 batters. Offensively, he finished with 15 doubles, three home runs, 37 RBI and 22 runs while playing an exemplary third base. Signed at Creighton University.

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