Prep Baseball Report

Final Illinois Power 25 Team Rankings

By Drew Locascio
 Illinois Scouting Director

With the conclusion of this past weekend’s Class 3A and 4A State Tournament, we’ve compiled our Illinois Power 25 Final Team Rankings. It’s important to note that our rankings are not necessarily a final reflection of what happened during the playoffs, but rather take in to account the entire season, including conference races.

That being said, winning a state title can take precedence. Once again, No. 1 Providence Catholic ran the table in the postseason and won their third consecutive 4A championship on Saturday, a feat that had never been accomplished in Illinois high school baseball.

All of the teams who finished in the Top 10 at the end of the season were preseason Top 20 Teams. Below we take a look at the Top 10 teams in Illinois come season’s end.

+ No. 1: Providence Catholic (33-9) – Our Preseason No. 4 went 33-9 on the year and as we alluded to at the top of the story, won their third consecutive state title. It was somewhat of an up and down year for the Celtics. They dealt with a few key injuries, including one to Miami (OH) recruit, Tom Kelley, who missed out on most of the year, only to return just before the postseason and deliver quite possibly the throw of the year (a throw that made SportsCenter’s Top 10 list) from right field in the seventh inning of the championship game. Coach Mark Smith worked his magic once again this year as the Celtics defeated No. 4 Mundelein, No. 6 Plainfield North, No. 9 Lincoln-Way North and No. 20 Plainfield South on their way to the state title.

+ No. 2: Brother Rice (35-4) – Our Preseason No. 8, was ranked No. 1 for five straight weeks at one point during the season. The Crusaders also won 30 consecutive games at one point and went undefeated in the Catholic League Blue Division. Brother Rice was faced with one of the toughest Sectional’s in the state of Illinois. Brother Rice, No. 7 St. Laurence, No. 10 St. Rita and No. 11 Mount Carmel all found themsleves in the St. Rita Sectional. After getting by St. Rita 4-3 on a walk-off single by Indiana State recruit, Jack Guzek, the Crusaders were upended by St. Laurence 4-3, ending their memorable season. Brother Rice was led throughout the year by junior, Illinois recruit and two-way threat Ryan Kutt, who put up big numbers on both sides of the ball. Kutt made a strong case this year for PBR First Team All-State, which will be decided in the next few weeks.

+ No. 3: Lemont (30-9) – Won their second 3A state title in the last three years. The Indians saved their best baseball for late in the year and defeated Springfield 10-0 (six innings) in the State Championship game. The Indians outscored their final four opponents 41-7 in route to the 3A title. Lemont was led by senior two-way player Garrett Acton, a St. Louis commit, all year long. Acton, known for his power right-arm on the mound, twirled a complete-game shutout in the Championship Game. He also broke out with the bat this year and earned Porsche Player of the Week when he went 11-for-12 with a home run, five doubles, nine RBI and five runs scored in a week span.

+ No. 4: Mundelein (31-10) – After starting the year 8-6, the Mustangs capped a remarkable turn-around to their season with a second place finish in Class 4A, losing to Providence Catholic in the title game. LHP/1B, Brendan Murphy, an Arizona State recruit was the ace of the staff and the leading hitter for the Mustangs. Murphy struck out seven batters in the Mustangs 10-4 semifinal victory over St. Charles North. Mundelein punched their ticket to Joliet by shutting out their two sectional opponents, Huntley and Warren.

+ No. 5: St. Charles North (33-7) – Despite losing two-way threat Tyler Mettetal, a South Carolina commit, early on in the season due to injury, the North Stars finished third in the Class 4A playoffs. St. Charles North, our preseason No. 6 team, was never ranked outside of our Top 10 throughout the year. The North Stars won three straight one run games to punch their ticket to Joliet. LHP Jack Lambert, a Parkland JC commit, turned into the ace of the staff as he struck out over 100 batters on the year and came into Joliet with a 12-1 record.

+ No. 6: Plainfield North (33-5) – Pitching led the way for the fourth place finisher in class 4A this year. Behind the two-headed monster of senior Josh Garner, a St. Louis commit and junior Brady Corrigan, an Arizona State commit, the Tigers shut out their opponents 10 times on the year and twice in the playoffs. The Tigers also won 28 out of 29 games during one stretch of the regular season.

+ No. 7: St. Laurence (31-9) – The Vikings made it out of the 4A St. Rita Sectional, which as mentioned earlier was one of the toughest in state, by defeating No. 11 Mount Carmel 9-5 and No. 2 Brother Rice 4-3. The Vikings made it one game away from Joliet, losing in the Super-Sectional 2-0 to No. 6 Plainfield North. Look for St. Laurence to be back at it again next year as they return two-way threat Jimmy Burnette, an Austin Peay recruit, first baseman Tom Farrell, a UIC recruit and freshman standout C/3B Matt McCormick.

+ No. 8: O’Fallon (33-6) – O’Fallon had their sights set on Joliet, as they were ranked in the Top 3 for the final five weeks of the season. Unfortunately, a 13-3 loss to Plainfield South in the Sectional final ended the Panthers season earlier than expected. O’Fallon was led by one of the best two-way players in the state Bradley Harrison, a Southern Illinois recruit. Harrison, a left-handed pitcher and outfielder went 12-0 with two saves on the mound. In 89.2 innings pitched he struck out 124 batters and gave up seven earned runs, good for a 0.55 ERA. At the plate, Harrison hit .381 with 12 doubles and seven home runs.

+ No. 9: Lincoln-Way North (31-6) – After a slow 4-3 start, Lincoln-Way North found their stride winning 20 games in a row pushing their record to 24-3 at the time. The Phoenix eventually were knocked out of the playoffs by Class 4A Champions Providence Catholic. Lincoln-Way North had one of the best defensive middle infields in the state with senior shortstop Ben Troike, an Illinois commit and second-baseman Tom Szczasny, a Northern Illinois recruit.

+ No. 10: St. Rita (29-9) – The Mustangs were our preseason No. 3 team in the state and never found themselves outside of the Top 10. St. Rita held down the No. 1 spot for two weeks in a row at one point in the season. In the Sectional Semifinal the Mustangs fell victim to No. 2 Brother Rice 4-3 walk-off victory which ended their season. Coach Mike Zunica will have one more season to capture the elusive state title, as he has stated that the 2017 season will be his final season as head coach of the Mustangs.

Click Here to View the Illinois Power 25 Final Team Rankings