Prep Baseball Report

2A IHSA State Finals Preview

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

The field is set for the 2A IHSA state playoffs, held this Friday and Saturday at Dozer Park in Peoria, Illinois.

This year’s ‘Final Four’ is an extremely talented one, with DePaul College Prep, Columbia, Joliet Catholic, and Quincy Notre Dame traveling to Peoria for a shot at high school baseball’s most coveted honor.

It all starts on Friday at 3:00 PM, with DePaul College Prep squaring off against Columbia, followed by Joliet Catholic and Quincy Notre Dame at around 5:00 PM. Saturday’s third-place game will take place at approximately 3:00 PM, with the championship set for 5:30 PM.

We’ll have extensive coverage of these games, as well as the 1A playoffs happening simultaneously, this weekend on our Twitter, @PBRIllinois.

Below, you’ll learn more about this field of teams that’ll be battling it out for the 2023 2A state championship this upcoming weekend.


The Rams are here in the 2A state playoffs for the first time in head coach Sam Colon’s inaugural season at the helm, propelled to Peoria by a talented bunch that essentially ran through their postseason opposition. Their closest game was a 7-3 victory over Timothy Christian in the Sectional championship but, other than that, the Rams handed it to their opponents, and they scored more than 11 runs in three of their five playoff games.

DePaul College Prep’s offense is a collective unit, with pieces up and down the lineup that can produce in any given at-bat. Sophomore Vance Kurokowa (2025) led the team in batting average this spring, hitting .345 over 119 at-bats with nine doubles and three triples. Two seniors, AJ Garcia (2023; Michigan) and Oliver Vigerust (2023), enjoyed success at the plate in their final seasons. A dynamic athlete, Garcia served as the table-setter for the Rams, batting .333 with 11 doubles, three triples, and a home run. Vigerust led this group with five home runs and he drove in 31 runs as well, posting a .327 batting average in total. Kevin O’Connor (2024) tied Vigerust for the team lead in RBIs with 31 of his own, and he launched four home runs, doubling eight times while batting .302. Beni Espinosa (2025), Addison Latko (2026; Illinois), and Cam Klein (2024) are other names swinging it well for the Rams.

A pair of seniors lead the Rams on the mound in Dylan Kaminski (2023; Michigan State) and Robert Rivera (2023; Triton JC). Kaminski’s 2.89 ERA is the lowest on the staff, pitching to a 6-0 record over 46 innings of work, while striking out 67. Rivera punched out 75 over his 55 frames, and the aforementioned O’Connor has produced in spurts for the Rams, striking out 35 in 28 innings of work. Garcia, Davis Ruder (2024), Gavin Variano (2025), and Luke Oblen (2024; Missouri) are other arms to note for this group.


Back-to-back years that we’ll see the Eagles in Peoria, as Columbia captured their second consecutive Super-Sectional championship with a 4-1 win over Nashville. To get here, the Eagles defeated a handful of tough teams at the 2A level in Breese Central, Newton, and top-ranked Father McGivney. They’re 33-4 on the year with some impressive wins on their resume and own a roster more than capable of returning to southern Illinois with a state championship.

Leading the Eagles is star Dominic Voegele (2023; Kansas), who may have been the top player in the classification this spring and will look to put the finishing touches on a historic career with a state title. Offensively, Voegele’s slashing .504/.604/1.000 with 12 home runs, 50 RBIs, 19 doubles, and 23 stolen bases. He’s walked (29) more than four times as much as he’s struck out (7), and he’s also fanned 102 batters in 60 ⅓ innings on the hill, pitching to a 9-0 record and a 1.16 ERA.

The Eagles have plenty of offense behind Voegele, too. Jack Steckler (2023) is the spark plug of this group, slashing .372/.450/.504 with 11 doubles and 25 RBIs of his own. Alex Schreckenberg (2023; McKendree) is dynamic on the basepaths, stealing 31 bags without getting caught once to go along with a .389/.484/.504 triple-slash. Seniors Tyler Rosecrans (2023), Aidan Gaither (2023), and Reed Drabant (2023; Vincennes JC) are all batting over .320, and they all have OPS above .800, with Rosecrans leading the way at .972. One other name to note is freshman Brody Landgraf (2026), who’s enjoying plenty of success in his first year at the varsity level, slashing .355/.429/.538 from the left side with 31 RBIs and 10 extra-base hits.

Aside from Voegele, the Eagles have a handful of arms that have continuously performed for them throughout the year. Lucas Riebeling (2024) has been excellent, pitching to a 1.18 ERA in 47 ⅓ innings of work, fanning 44 while only walking 11. Brady Mathews (2024) closed out the Sectional championship and tossed a complete game in the Super, lowering his ERA to 1.73 in 32 ⅓ innings of work. Porter Fike (2023; Missouri Valley) and Chase Schrader (2023) have each logged 20+ innings on the mound this spring.


The reigning state champions find themselves back in Peoria ready to defend their crown this weekend. Battle tested after a tough regular season schedule, JCA enters these state playoffs with a 24-8-1 record with an ESCC league trophy under their belts. Like they did last year, the Hilltoppers dominated their way to Dozer Park, outscoring their opposition 43-to-8, and they’re led by legendary coach Jared Voss, who has three state championships under his belt at the helm of this program.

Offensively, the Hilltoppers have a handful of bats that can do damage scattered throughout their lineup. Jake Troyner (2024) leads the way with a .442 batting average over 86 at-bats, driving in 27 runs with 11 doubles on the year. Trey Swiderski (2023; Louisville) served as this team’s main run producer, leading JCA with 34 RBIs, hitting .371 and totaling 13 extra-base knocks. Vinny Spotofora (2023; College of DuPage), Thomas Kemp (2023), Brett Hulbert (2023), and Graham Roesel (2024) are four upperclassmen that are all batting above .330 this year.

Returning to anchor this rotation is staff ace TJ Schlageter (2023; Louisville), who dominated on the Dozer Park mound in last year’s state semi-final game. He’s been just as good this year, fanning 61 over 45 innings of work with a 1.24 ERA and a perfect 6-0 record. Michael Tuman (2023; College of DuPage) is another arm that’s been excellent for the Hilltoppers, pitching to a 1.86 ERA in 49 innings on the hill, punching out 56 while walking only 13. Nate Ciemny (2023; Wisconsin-Parkside) and Jacob Gimbel (2024) each have 30+ innings under their belt and have experience pitching in the playoffs, especially Gimbel, who started last year’s state championship game as a sophomore.


Quincy Notre Dame returns to the state playoffs for the first time since 2004 in head coach Rich Polak’s first season at the helm. They’re putting together arguably the most successful campaign in their program’s history, entering Peoria on Friday with a 35-1 record and the 12th spot on the PBR Illinois’ Power 25.

The Raiders are a senior heavy group that has turned to their talented 2023 class for a large chunk of their production on both sides of the ball this spring. Dalton Miller (2023; State Fair CC) has been a force for Quincy Notre Dame, batting .505 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, and 60 RBIs. Jake Schisler (2023; Missouri S&T) sets the table from the top of this lineup, bringing a .455 batting average and 33 stolen bases to Dozer Park on Friday. He’s also doubled 12 times and swatted five home runs, bringing 38 runs home as well. Jack Linenfelser (2023; Southeastern CC), Brady Kindhart (2023; Maryville), and Michael Stupavsky (2023; Illinois-Wesleyan) are all batting over .360 on the year. Stupavsky’s homered four times, while Kindhart and junior Nolan Robb (2024) have each left the yard six times. Colin Kurk (2023) is another senior bat that deepens this lineup even further.

Tyler Dance (2023; John Wood CC) has been excellent for the Raiders on the mound all season, but especially in these playoffs. He threw a complete game shutout against Shelbyville in the sectional semi-final, lowering his ERA to 0.79 on the year in 53 ⅓ innings of work to go along with 67 punchouts. The aforementioned Schisler has been an asset on the hill too, pitching to a 1.07 ERA over 45 ⅔ innings of work while striking out 52 and walking only 13. Evan Kenning (2024) and Jackson Connoyer (2026) are two more arms with 20+ innings of work under their belt this spring.