Prep Baseball Report

IHSA Playoffs: 3A State Preview

By Taylor Castro
Illinois Staff

On Thursday, the IHSA 3A semifinals and championship game will take place at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg. Prairie Ridge and Washington will play in the first game of the day at 10 a.m., then St. Laurence and Springfield will face off in the second semifinal at 1 p.m. The championship game will be played at 7 p.m. and the third place match up will take place at 4 p.m.

Three of the final four teams in the 3A field wrapped up successful regular seasons that earned them a No. 1 seed within their Sectional: Washington Community, Springfield, and St. Laurence. The fourth team headed to state, Prairie Ridge, is a No. 5 seed though it’s a program familiar with lengthy postseason runs, representing a conference that frequently churns them out, the Fox Valley.

Of the No. 1 seeds, St. Laurence and Springfield were the two to earn spots on the final edition of the PBR Illinois Power 25 Rankings, ranked at Nos. 20 and 21, respectively.

Here’s a breakdown of each team’s path to Schaumburg:

Prairie Ridge Wolves (18-13)

As a No. 5 seed inside the St. Viator Sectional, the Wolves will be the lone non-No. 1 seed in Schaumburg on Thursday. However, they are not to be overlooked. Prairie Ridge comes from the Fox Valley Conference, producing a difficult schedule that’s generated a handful of state contenders in recent memory. Within their Sectional, Prairie Ridge downed top-ranked Grayslake Central in the semifinal, 5-4, that tee’d up another one-run victory over Sectional hosts St. Viator in the championship. In fact, the Wolves won each of their Sectional semifinal, Sectional final, and Super-Sectional games by just one run.

This program has earned a reputation as one of the state’s most fundamentally sound, led by head coach Glen Pecoraro, who owns a 477-253 career record in his 21 years at the helm of the Wolves. He last took Prairie Ridge to state in 2014, where they finished fourth, though lost both ballgames by just a run, including their opener against the eventual champs, Providence Catholic.

The team has a strong showing of senior players both on the mound and at the plate, and LHP/OF Matt Porter (2021; Lake Land JC commit) does both. Porter is batting .385 and boasts a 2.58 ERA, and he leads the team with 74 strike outs. OF Will Komar (2021), SS Alex Milone (Milwaukee Area Tech JC) and RHP/INF Dylan Bremer (2021) have also had consistent bats for Prairie Ridge this season. They play alongside junior 1B Jack Tobin (2022), who has three home runs this year. C Brock Owen (2021) is yet another experienced and productive senior on this roster who has extended the depth of this lineup. He’s hitting .345 this spring and he leads the team with 28 RBIs.

At 43.1 IP, Porter has the second-most innings pitched after senior RHP Parker Swanson (Milwaukee Area Technical JC). Swanson’s 2.02 ERA over 45 innings has been a key to Prairie Ridge’s success this season. LHP Nathan Koteras (2021) has made the most of his 23.1 innings as well, limiting opponents offensively that’s helped him maintain an ERA of 1.80.

Road to State:


  • Vernon Hills: 13-2
  • Carmel: 13-3


  • Grayslake Central: 5-4
  • St. Viator: 3-2


  • St. Francis: 5-4

Washington Panthers (24-6)

The Panthers are headed back to the state finals for the first time since their 2007 trip where they placed third. Since a 6-4 start to their regular season, Washington has gone 18-2 and are in the midst of an 11-game win streak, including the postseason. Washington has an experienced roster consisting of all upperclassmen.

RHP Kizer Teague (Kaskaskia JC) has only a 1.09 ERA this season, with 60 Ks in 45 innings pitched. He makes up one half of a terrific starting pitching duo, alongside junior RHP/INF Easton Harris. Harris has seen the most action on the mound for the Panthers and has a 1.27 ERA, and his live arm has K’d 83 batters in 55 innings. The junior is among the top-ranked uncommitted players in the state’s ‘22 class, and his two-way abilities have shined through for his high school in 2021. He’s hitting .351 this spring with four home runs and 20 RBIs. Seniors INF/RHP Devon Vanderheydt (2021) and INF/LHP Ethan Uftring (2021) have reinforced the excellent work that Teague and Harris have recorded, solidifying additional options the Panthers can lean on at state.

Scoring isn’t a problem for the Panthers either. A handful of players on Washington’s roster are batting above .300. OF/LHP Gus Lucas (2022; Bradley) is back in the lineup to boost what’s already been a strength for the team. Seniors INF/RHP Kaleb Gauf and C Josh Heyder also bring strength to the lineup, as the two have been Washington’s most productive hitters, outside of Harris. Heyder leads the team with six home runs, while Gauf has a team-high 28 RBIs.

Road to State:


  • Metamora: 6-2
  • Ottawa: 3-1


  • East Peoria: 6-2
  • Morton: 11-5


  • Geneseo: 7-2

St. Laurence Vikings (26-8)

Even amidst the lost 2020 season, St. Laurence has remained a powerhouse within the 3A class and is back at state to redeem themselves after their runner-up finish at the 3A state finals in 2019. They were also at state in 2017, where they finished third inside the 4A class. Head coach Pete Lotus is back, again, at state with an experienced group behind him.

The Vikings have a solid lineup that has been effective this season, consistently putting up runs in double digits. Both their regional championship and sectional semifinal games ended early as a result of scoring. Senior 2B Jimmy Gurgone (Illinois Wesleyan) is batting .411 after playing in all 34 games. Starters Kevin McCormick, Mike Laudando, Johnny Wendling, Mike Gentile, Jason Krol and Angelo Luna have also been able to get things done at the plate this season.

Laudando, who is batting .375 for the Vikings, also boasts a 1.76 ERA. The senior leads the team with 59.2 innings pitched, and he’s been the team’s go-to option all spring. RHP Dennis Helwig (2023) and RHP Osvaldo Ballesteros (2022) round out the St. Laurence pitchers who have seen the most action this season.

Road to State:


  • Marmion: 10-0 (6 inn.)


  • Benet: 14-2 (5 inn.)
  • Nazareth: 4-1


  • Marian: 5-2

Springfield Senators (29-5)

In his 34th season in charge of Springfield, head coach Jim Steinwart is headed back to the state finals. He made his first state tournament back in 2016 where he finished runner-up to Lemont, and it didn’t take him long to get the Senators back. This time around, Springfield’s roster is stacked with seniors whose experience has shown throughout the season.

Seniors UTL/RHP Luke Flesner (2021) and INF/RHP Adam Passmore (2021) are both batting over .400, sitting at .474 and .422, respectively. Senior Heartland CC recruit, C Ben Hartl (2021), leads the team in extra-base hits with 16, including 12 doubles and three homers. Sophomore 1B/LHP Ryne Crum (2023) leads the team with six homers and 33 RBIs. 

More fellow seniors like RHP/INF Joseph Crum, 1B/RHP Dalen Banks, RHP/OF Kaleb Rodgers round out a roster that has shown as one of the best in state, as they’ve pushed their way onto the state’s Power 25 through the season.

Also effective on the mound, Passmore has a 1.75 ERA and is 5-0 this season. Marc Black and Joseph Crum also are 5-0 for the Senators, with a 2.20 and 2.84 ERA, respectively. Springfield’s depth and senior leadership will be some of their strengths heading into Thursday.

Road to State:


  • Lanphier: 16-1
  • Jacksonville: 15-5


  • Mahomet-Seymour: 7-3
  • Chatham: 13-12 (9 inn.)


  • Charleston: 7-5

More information about the IHSA State Finals can be found on the official tournament webpage.