2015 PBR Second Team All-State



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

As we said yesterday, the line between a first team All-State nominee and a second teamer was an extremely thin one, as evidence by the type of talent and statistics you’ll see from our 2015 PBR Second Team All-State members.

What’s most impressive is the physicality of the arms on the mound: 6-foot-6 Drake Fellows, 6-foot-6 Steven Skolarz, and 6-foot-4 Chris Holba, who all had banner years. The second-team also features some of the best players from a few of the state’s highest ranked team’s throughout the 2015 campaign, like Edwardsville’s Jordan Hovey, Metamora’s Trent Johnson, and St. Rita’s Marty Bechina.

Enough talking about it, let’s take a look at the 2015 PBR Second Team All-State roster:

Pitcher

Drake Fellows, Joliet Catholic, 2016
Fellows has long been one of the top prospects in the 2016 class, as evidenced by his No. 2 ranking in the state, and selection to the Tournament of the Stars, the qualifier for making Team USA’s 18U National Team. After a dominant sophomore campaign, Joliet Catholic’s ace righthander did more of the same in 2015, going 9-1 with one save, and a 0.58 ERA. He allowed only 44 hits in 73 innings pitched, with a 98:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His only loss on the year came in the regional finals to Lemont, a 2-1 nine-inning affair where he allowed only one earned run in an outstanding complete game effort. For his efforts Fellows was named the 2015 ESCC Pitcher of the Year. Known for his low 90’s fastball, late breaking slider, and impeccable command, the Vanderbilt-bound Fellows may have a tough decision to make in one year when the 2016 MLB Draft comes around.

Steven Skolarz, Lincoln-Way West, 2015
After an up-and-down junior campaign, the physically imposing righthander came out with something to prove in 2015, and did just that, going 8-1 with a 0.28 ERA, striking out 87 batters in 49 innings pitched, while only allowing 11 walks. Opponents hit .105 off Skolarz in 2015, and he allowed only three runs (two earned) on the entire year). His 87-90 mph fastball returned to form in 2015, and at times he threw as many as five pitches over the plate for strikes, an arsenal that also featured a slider, curveball, changeup, and splitter. Ranked No. 26 in Illinois, Skolarz remains the top uncommitted 2015 in Illinois, and perhaps the entire country.

Chris Holba, O’Fallon, 2015
O’Fallon’s ace righthander led the Panthers to the Super-Sectional against Providence, where they dropped a hard fought 4-3 contest to the eventual state champion Celtics. Holba was lights out during 2015, going 9-2 with one save, and a 0.95 ERA. In 88.1 innings pitched the East Carolina-bound Holba allowed only 51 hits, with 106 strikeouts and 26 walks, good for a 0.87 WHIP. Holba’s upper 80’s to low 90’s fastball, coupled with a hard breaking slider was one of the nastiest combinations seen in Illinois this spring.

Catcher

Mike Schalasky, Brother Rice, 2015
Brother Rice’s senior leader did it all this spring, on the mound, behind the plate, and with the bat, turning himself into one of the state’s top power hitting prospects. The University of Indianapolis-bound two-way threat hit .448 with 24 extra base hits (12 doubles, two triples, and ten home runs), while driving in a team leading 45 runs, posting a 0.866 slugging percentage, and a 0.521 on base percentage. Schalasky also put up those numbers playing in the Catholic League Blue, and routinely saw some of the state’s best pitchers during Brother Rice’s tough non-conference schedule. Behind the plate, Schalasky allowed only four passed balls on the season, and threw out nine of a potential 17 baserunners, cutting down runners at a phenomenal 53% clip. If that wasn’t enough, the hard-throwing righty, who’s future very well may be on the mound, went 6-1 with a 3.20 ERA, hurling two complete games, and allowing only 38 hits in 46 innings pitched. He struck out 42 and walked 23 on the year.

First Base

Trent Johnson, Metamora, 2015
Recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2014, the hulking 6-foot-5, 245-pound Johnson wasn’t able to toe the mound this spring, but he made his presence well known in the middle of the lineup for the Redbirds. Johnson hit .392 on the year, with 28 extra base hits (17 doubles and nine home runs). The power-hitting first baseman formed one of the state’s top 1-2 punches with PBR First Team All-State honoree Ethan Skender. Johnson also posted a team leading 48 RBI, scored 37 runs, walked 17 times, and struck out only eight times (impressive for a power hitter). He posted a .461 on base percentage, a .758 slugging percentage, and a 1.219 OPS. He’ll take his power arm and power bat to the University of Arizona next spring.

Middle Infield

Jordan Hovey, Edwardsville, 2015
The best player on what was the state’s best team for a majority of the season, Hovey hit .382 with 26 extra base hits this spring. He registered 12 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 32 RBI, and 46 runs scored, while also showing uncommon plate discipline with 30 walks on the year, posting an out of this world .676 on base percentage. He also was a perfect 15-for-15 in stolen bases. In 37 games he made only nine errors from his shortstop position, seven double plays with senior Mitchell Krebs. Hovey will now play his college baseball at Missouri State.

Marty Bechina, St. Rita, 2015
The Chicago Catholic League Lawless Award Winner (given to the CCL player of the year), Bechina led the Mustangs to a No. 1 ranking for a majority of the year, highlighted by a 25-game winning streak to begin the season. Bechina hit .394 with 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 28 RBI, 35 runs scored. He also registered 20 walks, good for a .500 on base percentage, while posting a .636 SLG and a 1.136 OPS. He stole nine bases, and displayed his usual stellar defense at shortstop. The Michigan State signee led the Mustangs to a 31-7 overall record, losing to eventual Class 4A State Runner-Up and CCL Blue nemesis Mount Carmel in the playoffs.

Third Base

Joe Aeilts, Champaign Central, 2016
Aeilts hit .458 with nine doubles, five triples, one home run, and 29 RBI. The athletic third baseman went 32-for-33 in stolen bases, leading the Maroons to a 32-5 record and a No. 21 final ranking in the PBR Power 25. He also went 2-0 with two saves and a 1.33 ERA on the mound, striking out 27 in 21 innings pitched, allowing only 4 earned runs and 14 hits on the season. The Illinois State-commit was named first team Champaign News-Gazette All-Area, after being named their Player of the Year in 2014, when he hit .512 with 12 doubles and 10 triples a year ago. He is quickly rewriting the record books at Central, with one year of eligibility left remaining for coach John Staab.

Outfield

Dan Bolt, Morton, 2016
Bolt put together an impressive spring campaign for the Potters, setting single-season school records for RBI (48) and runs scored (40). He hit an impressive .510 while playing in one of Central Illinois’ toughest conferences, the Mid-Illini. The left-handed hitting middle of the order threat also posted 24 extra-base hits (13 doubles, six triples, and five home runs, good for a .600 OBP, .894 slugging percentage, and 1.479 OPS. He also added 10 stolen bases. Bolt impressed in the outfield as well, with one error in 60 total chances, good for a .983 fielding percentage. Bolt is currently uncommitted, and led Morton to a school record for wins going 31-5, dropping an extra-inning heart breaker to Washington 3-2 in the regional semi-final.

Cristian Sanchez, Minooka, 2015
Sanchez only played 24 games this season due to religious reasons, but he made them count when he did, hitting .500 with eight doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, 25 runs scored, 10 walks, and only four strikeouts in 76 at bats. Sanchez was at his best in big games, including the regional semi-final against Joliet West where he went 4-for-5 with a home run, triple, two singles, and five RBI, while also closing out the game on the mound. He made one error in the outfield in centerfield, showcasing his all-around athleticism. The Georgetown-signee also went 3-1 with one save and a 1.934 ERA, in 25 innings pitched, posting a 1.1 WHIP. Sanchez was most impressive during the Indians sectional-finals run, where they lost to O’Fallon. Minooka ended the year winning 20 of 24 after starting out 3-10.

Anthony Forte, Conant, 2015
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound left-handed power hitter set a school record for home runs (10) and tied the school record for stolen bases (27). During a one week stretch ending May 11, Forte went 8-for-9 at the plate with 13 RBI, five home runs, and a pair of doubles to be named the MaxPreps USA Baseball Player of the Week for the Great Lakes Region. Forte hit .358 with 36 RBI, 38 runs scored, a .500 on base percentage, and posted a 1.000 fielding percentage, showing off a cannon for an arm from the outfield. Forte was pitched around for a majority of the spring, but drew praise from several area high school coaches as one of the top players in the Chicago-land area. Forte will play his collegiate baseball at Tulane.

Utility

Reid Birlingmair, Normal West, 2015
The UIC-bound Birlingmair did it all on the mound and at shortstop for the 26-10 Wildcats, leading them to the sectional semi-finals in the process. He hit .438 with six doubles, five triples, two home runs, 29 RBI, 30 runs, a .516 OBP, and also went 14-for-17 in stolen bases. Birlingmair did his real damage on the mound, where he was named the 2015 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year going 10-2 with a 1.02 ERA, striking out 90 in 68 innings pitched. He allowed only 10 earned runs all season, walked 25, and posted a 1.103 WHIP. He won his last seven starts to close the year, and allowed only three earned runs in his two losses to University School (TN) and Chatham Glenwood.

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