Diamond Notes: Week 1


By: Peter Hamot
Area Scout

Each week, IHSA coaches around the state submit to us their nominations for the PBR Illinois Player of the Week honor. On Wednesday, we awarded the Week 1 POTW honor to INF Cole Crafton (Lincoln-Way West, 2024; Louisville commit) after he went 8-10 with three home runs, a triple, double and seven RBIs to help the Warriors get off to a 3-0 start. 

There were a number of other impressive performances that were in the mix for the award and deserve recognition. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.

week 1 diamond notes:

Blake Wolters RHP / OF / Mahomet Seymour, IL / 2023

Wolters, a Purdue commit, had a stellar week on both sides of the ball to open up the season. In his first game, Wolters tossed four innings with eight strikeouts and just one hit - while going 3-4 at the plate with a home run, double and two RBIs. In game two, he added two more doubles to finish 2-3 on the day with an RBI and three runs scored - bringing his weekend total to 5-7 with a home run, three doubles, three RBIs and five runs scored.

Tony Pluta RHP / C / St. Viator, IL / 2022

Pluta is a talented two-way prospect that should serve as a cornerstone in St. Viator's overall success this season. The Arizona commit was absolutely dominant over the first couple of games leading Viator to a current 5-0 record. Some of Pluta's best work did take place this current week, which will put him in the running for the POTW award next week. Those stats include a line in which Pluta went 9-for-10 with three home runs, three doubles and nine RBIs.

Noah Caceres C / 3B / Reavis , IL / 2023

Cacaeres, an uncommitted junior, got his season off to a hot start over the first week of games, going 10-for-14 at the plate with two doubles, a triple, home run and eight RBIs.

Brady Coon RHP / SS / Triad, IL / 2024

The Triad sophomore got his season off to a fast start, putting up impressive numbers on both sides of the ball. The right-hander tossed nine total innings with one earned run and eight strikeouts against Naperville Central and Collinsville over the first week. While at the plate, Coon went a combined 6-14 on the week with five doubles to his name.

Here is a report we had on Coon during the Kickoff Classic: 
"6-foot-1, 160-pound, athletically-built, two-way prospect. In an extra-innings battle against Naperville Central, came out of the bullpen for Triad and gave up one earned run in three pressure-packed innings while striking out three. Made a number of big pitches in big spots to keep the Knights in the game. Arm works short and clean from a high ¾ slot. Compact, repeatable delivery and above-average mound presence for his age. Fastball sat around 83 mph early in his outing. Early on he showed advanced feel for his slider which worked out of the same window as his fastball. Slider had tight, short action with late bite off a 10/4 plane at 73-75 mph with 2230 rpm. Has a chance to be a swing-and-miss offering down the road. Also, showed well at the plate, delivering a game-tying two-run double in extra innings. Finished the game 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs, a walk and two runs scored."

Luke Yolich 2B / SS / Whitney Young, IL / 2025

As just a freshman, Yolich put up upperclass numbers in his first week of play, going 8-for-12 with two doubles, five RBIs and four stolen bases over three games.

William Millard C / SS / O'Fallon, IL / 2023

The uncommitted junior boasts a talented right-handed bat, and is off to a strong start in his 2022 campaign; going 4-for-9 with three doubles, two walks and four RBIs in his first week of play.

Here is a report we had on Coon during the Kickoff Classic: 
5-foot-11, 190-pound, uncommitted, right-handed hitting catcher. Continues to impress on each look. Sound receiver; soft hands, flexible hips, presents pitches well and steady leader from behind the plate. Offensively, bat stays through the hitting zone a long time with natural lift. Has an above-average feel to hit and gap-to-gap approach, does not try to do too much. Was on the barrel in his three at-bats. Finished 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and a walk.

Hayden Brazelton OF / LHP / St. Joseph-Ogden , IL / 2022

The Kaskaskia commit was firing on all cylinders in his team's first week of play, putting up respectable numbers on both sides of the ball. Over four games, Brazelton went a combined 9-for-14 at the plate with a .722 OBP, two doubles, triple, five RBIs, 11 runs scored, three stolen bases and four walks - all while not striking out a single time. He also saw two innings of relief work against Father McGivney, where he racked up four strikeouts.

Here is a report we had on Coon during the Kickoff Classic: 
Kaskaskia commit. 5-foot-10, 160-pound, left/left prospect hit out of the leadoff spot throughout the week. Had one of the more impressive offensive performances at the Kickoff Classic. Went 7-for-9 with two doubles, a triple and six runs scored in two games on Thursday. Followed up with a 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Athletic, confident look in the box. Minimal wasted movement, stays short and quick to the ball with above-average bat to ball skills and polished approach. Uses the whole field, was consistently on time and worked gap-to-gap. Fluid actions to all parts of his game. Left a strong impression with his performance at the Kickoff Classic.

Dylan Mannino 3B / RHP / Belleville East, IL / 2023

The Belleville East junior put together one of the more dominant pitching performances of the week; tossing four innings en route to the win with no runs allowed, 10 strikeouts and two walks. Mannino was one of the biggest risers coming out of the 2022 Kickoff Classic.

Here is a report we had on Coon during the Kickoff Classic:
Uncommitted junior emerged as a high-follow arm with his outing at the Kickoff Classic. 6-foot-3, 165-pound, high-waisted, projectable build. Came out of the bullpen and showed swing-and-miss stuff, striking out 10 and not allowing a hit in four innings of work. Fluid delivery, slight drop and drive, directional down the mound, lands front-toe closed. Long, loose, quick arm out of a ¾ slot. Pitches with intent and goes right-after hitters. Was fastball heavy throughout his outing getting a number of swings and misses in the zone. Fastball jumps out of the hand at 89-90 mph, touching 91 with late hop through the zone and showed control. Went to his breaking ball sparingly. Gets around and underneath the breaking ball at times but showed tight spin off an 11/5 plane at 71-73 mph (2381 rpm). Given his slot, a hard slider could be in his future. Mannino has seen a 13 mph jump in his fastball over the past year. Back in February of 2021 Mannino attended the Aurora Preseason ID and topped at 78 mph. Seems to just be tapping into his high-ceiling. Uncommitted arm to follow closely moving forward. Should make a big splash in the soon to be updated 2023 Illinois rankings

Hayden Christiansen C / 1B / Richmond-Burton, IL / 2022

The Xavier commit is far and away one of the best players in the 2022 class, and proved so over his first week of play, helping the Rockets to a 3-0 start. Christiansen went 5-for-8 over the course of the week while collecting two home runs, a double, six RBIs and three walks. Both of his home runs came against a talented Marian Catholic club, followed by a bases loaded single to give Richmond-Burton the lead in the seventh inning.

Ivan Dahlberg C / 3B / Minooka, IL / 2022

The Illinois-Springfield commit may not have won Player of the Week, but he definitely put together easily the most dominant single inning of the week; collecting two home runs in the same inning against Coal City. Dahlberg finished the week hitting .667 with two home runs and seven RBIs in just six at-bats.

Danny Mack RHP / OF / O'Fallon, IL / 2022

Senior right-hander Danny Mack strung together a couple quality outings to get his season off to a strong start. The Southwestern Illinois JC commit made one start and one relief appearance on the week, collecting a win with seven total innings, just three hits allowed, 10 strikeouts and no runs allowed. 

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