Illinois State Games: Takeaways, 2026s
August 22, 2023
On Aug. 8 and 9, PBR Illinois hosted the second annual Illinois State Games at Rantoul Family Sports Complex in Rantoul, competing in an event featuring the top players in the state, spanning grad classes 2024 through 2027.
Shortly after the event, our staff published a full data dive at this event, where we analyzed several standouts from Tuesday's workout day, as well as the arms who took the mound in Rantoul. You can find both of those here: Position Players | Pitchers.
Last week, our staff highlighted over 70 players from the 2024 class that stood out at the event, which you can find by clicking HERE. We then dove into the 2025 class, shining light on 60 more standout juniors from the event, which you can find HERE.
Today we turn our attention to the 2026 class, which featured another loaded crop of prospects who impressed over this two-day event. Below you’ll find scout notes and videos on an abundance of sophomores from the event, broken down by the teams they were assigned.
TEAM 1 - ROYAL BLUE
+ LHP Braydon McKendrick (Brother Rice, 2026) showed future promise on the mound over his brief stint at the Illinois State Games. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound southpaw pitched in the low-80s with his fastball, spinning it at 2300 RPM on average, while peaking at 2436 RPM. For his secondaries, McKendrick spun a sweeping slider (18.4” HM) at 67-70 mph, averaging 2367 RPM, and he turned over a firm changeup at 76-79 mph, too.
TEAM 2 - WHITE
+ RHP Drew Clark (Stevenson, 2026) boasts one of the higher ceilings in the state’s ‘26 class. Clark stands at a lean 6-foot-4, 155-pound frame with long levers, and moves well on the mound for his size. His fastball played in the low-80s, T84.4 mph with considerable spin (2444 RPM) and showed occasional run. Off his heater, Clark tunnels a low-70s curveball with 11/5 shape and short bite (2565 RPM), and he’s still developing feel for a mid-70s changeup with gradual fade, too. Clark has plenty more to come within the frame and will continue to move better as he grows more comfortable into his body.
+ A premier prospect in the Midwest’s 2026 class that made the trip to Rantoul: CIF/OF TJ McQuillan (Mt. Carmel, 2026; Louisville commit). McQuillan’s sheer physicality rivals that of anyone in the state, regardless of age, and the 6-foot-1, 210-pound left-handed slugger showed noticeable raw power in BP. McQuillan’s firmest ball jumped off his ball at 100.5 mph, averaging 92.7 mph per batted ball, and he did so while routinely elevating the baseball (330 ft. avg), swatting his furthest an estimated 392 feet, per TrackMan. On top of that, McQuillan ran a 7.01 60-yard dash and was 83 mph across the infield.
+ OF Nolan Ramoley (Brother Rice, 2026) looks the part as a potential top prospect in the state for the 2026 class, standing in at 6-foot, 185-pounds with present strength throughout. The RHH found consistent barrels in gameplay, and showed tools on both sides of the ball. Ramoley was a big winner during the workout portion of the event as well; running a 6.54 60-yard dash, displaying a strong arm (89 mph) from the outfield, and posting a max exit velocity of 94 mph during batting practice.
TEAM 3 - VEGAS GOLD
+ RHP Andrew Dawson (Tremont, 2026) showed well once again on our summer circuit, opening some eyes with his ability to dominate older competition. Listed at 5-foot-11, 170-pounds, strong lower-half with room still left to add on strength. Controlled tempo on the mound, drop/drive lower-half that works in-line. Medium arm circle out of the glove, transitions into a high ¾ slot. Dawson cruised with his fastball in the 83-86 mph range, topping out at 86.8 mph with an average IVB of 15.4 (T17.8). Showed feel to spin both his breaking balls, a 10/4 71 slider at 73-78 mph (2100-2300 RPM) and an 11/5 curveball at 71 mph. Flashed a fading changeup at 75-76 mph. Finished his outing with three innings pitched, no hits, no runs allowed, one walk and two strikeouts.
+ SS/OF Zach Rubin (Antoch, 2026) is an exciting young prospect that paired an impressive workout with a strong in-game performance. Broad shouldered 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete that ran a 6.86 in the 60 yard dash. All over the barrel during BP (90% sweet spot) with a max exit velocity of 91.2 mph and a peak distance of 339 feet. Nearly left the yard during gameplay, sending one of the bottom of the left-centerfield fence. Solid actions on the dirt, with the ability to play in the outfield as well.
+ RHP Cullen Schwigen (Rockridge, 2027) is an incoming freshman that has shown to be one of the top pitchers in his class. Previously shining at the PBR Junior Future Games, Schwigen carried that momentum into the Illinois State Games. Broad shouldered 6-foot-2, 165-pound lean frame. Short, over the top arm action that plays loose and whippy. Advanced arsenal for his age, playing against much older competition. Fastball played in the 82-84 range, topping 85 mph. Fastball showed carry through the zone (2323 RPM), with a max IVB of 17.5 inches. Also played with occasional run (17.7 HM). Deceptive breaking-ball that was thrown at the same arm speed and slot as the fastball. Flashed 12/6 shape with gradual break, will continue to develop more break with added strength. Athletic arm with long-levers that will continue to get better throughout his prep career.
+ RHP John Strzechowski (St. Laurence, 2026) caught some eyes with his above-average pitchability, especially for his age. Listed at a projectable 5-foot-11, 150-pounds with room to add on strength as he matures. The right-hander pounded the zone with all three of his pitches, striking out two against no walks in two innings of work. His fastball cruised at 78-80 mph, topping out at 80.9 mph with slight running action. Showed the ability to keep his curveball down and miss barrels, 67-71 mph with 11/5 shape. Confident in a heavy fading changeup that he could land for strikes in any count, 71-73 mph.
TEAM 4 - LIGHT BLUE
+ OF/INF Patrick Connors (Hinsdale Central, 2026) impressed at this event last year, and the right-handed hitting utility man continues to look the part as an advanced right-handed bat in the state’s sophomore group. In BP, Connors swung a clean, controlled barrel with a loose, easy all-around operation that consistently stayed on the barrel. He translated that knack for hitting to the gameplay portion, where Connors totaled four hits, and he didn’t strikeout, either. Defensively, Connors is a free-flowing mover in the outfield with confident, athletic actions to pair.
TEAM 5 - MAROON
+ Coming off a successful spring where he found time on Deerfield’s varsity roster, as a freshman INF/OF Easton Newman (Deerfield) is an athletic multi-positional follow in the 2026 class. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound prospect posted a 6.94 60 time before demonstrating soft, athletic hands defensively from the infield with a strong arm to pair across the diamond (84 mph). With similar actions from the outfield, he posted an 86 mph bullet on his best throw to home. Offensively, Newman swings a quick, direct right-handed barrel with an aggressive approach and stable bat-to-ball skills to pair.
TEAM 7 - BLACK
+ RHP Owen Novak (Lincoln-Way Central, 2026) stands at a strong, well-proportioned 6-foot-3, 185-pounds with room to add more mass, too. Novak’s fastball played in the low-80s and he paired it with a low-70s curveball, as well as a low-70s changeup, too.
TEAM 8 - BROWN
+ INF Jory Crocker (Willowbrook, 2026) has considerable upside on a lanky, long-limbed 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame. A 6.88 runner, Crocker controlled his levers more in this look than we’d seen previously, staying inside the baseball more consistently while keeping his barrel through the zone on a flat plane. He’s an apt defender on the dirt too, with long strides, soft hands, and an 85 mph arm across the diamond.
+ C Addison Latko (DePaul College Prep, 2026) continued to show why he is one of the top ranked players in Illinois’ 2026 class. A confident player and vocal leader, Latko impressed all-around during his time in Rantoul. He has clear athleticism and strength in his 5-foot-8, 157-pound build. He posted a max exit velocity of 92.8 mph and a max distance of 363 ft while consistently working on the barrel to the pull-side from a fast, intentful right-handed swing. Defensively, his athleticism played well where he produced his quickest pop time of 2.02 with his best throw being recorded at 78 mph. He continued to stand out in gameplay as his power was on full display. He barreled the baseball to all parts of the field, working mostly gap-to-gap. From the crouch, Latko showed soft hands with an ease to block the baseball, and a strong arm as he threw out multiple runners trying to steal second. The Illinois commit has all the makings of a high-end prospect in the state’s sophomore class.
+ A name-to-know southpaw with athleticism and upside on the bump at 5-foot-11, 155-pounds: LHP Ian Tosi (Mount Carmel, 2026). A clean, polished mover downhill with a short, quick arm action, Tosi pitched in the low-80s with his fastball, generating both rise (19.1 IVB) and run (15.8 HM) at peak. He landed a short wrinkle mid-to-high-60s curveball for strikes and he naturally faded a 67-71 mph changeup that mirrored his fastball’s plane, too. In three innings of work, Tosi didn’t allow an earned run on 44 pitches, punching out six.
+ 1B Isaac Wendler (Father McGivney, 2026) is a name that’s been trending up for our staff throughout this past calendar year, showing well during the IHSA season, as well as in Rantoul and at Creekside. He’s a physically mature athlete for his age, bringing a barrel-chested 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame with strength throughout. In BP, Wendler worked gap-to-gap from a long, more uphill right-handed swing, and he showed above-average raw power for his age after sending his furthest batted ball 358 feet, per TrackMan. In game, Wendler found the barrel consistently and finished with three hits, including a double and three RBIs.
TEAM 9 - RED
+ MIF Hunter Baugh (Edwardsville, 2026) is an intriguing prospect up the middle that has plenty of upside to dream on. Baugh stands at a lean, wiry 5-foot-10, 140-pound frame with room for added strength. Despite a developing frame, Baugh posted one of the highest infield velocities among ‘26 grads at the event (85 mph). During gameplay, Baugh impressed at the plate, showing off advanced bat-to-ball skills against older competition. Also featured an all-fields approach that translated to an opposite field triple among many other hits. Baugh is a prospect to watch as he physically matures throughout his prep career.
+ 3B/OF Daniel Coyle (St. Laurence, 2026) is yet another 2026 prospect whose performance in gameplay warrants attention. Coyle is athletically built at 5-foot-9, 150-pounds with broad shoulders and sneaky strength; still more to come in the frame. The right-handed hitter impressed with a polished approach at the plate, taking several quality at-bats with most ending in hard contact. His ability to backspin the baseball off the barrel is impressive and the minimal swing-and-miss, coupled with an all-fields feel, gives Coyle future top-of-the-order potential. Aside from his offense, Coyle is also a confident defender with a true arm across the infield.
+ Another top prospect in the state’s 2026 class on this red squad: C Max Heineman (Normal University). The 5-foot-10, 170-pound backstop looks every bit the part of a premier right-handed hitter and he took one of, if not the, best BP rounds on the workout day. Heineman confidently stayed on his barrel (80%) while working gap-to-gap, averaging nearly 90 mph per batted ball with a 95.9 mph high. His furthest ball traveled 363 feet, which was one of the furthest marks of any 2026 in attendance. Defensively, Heineman owns above-average arm strength for his age from the chute, peaking at 76 mph on his firmest bullet while popping in the 2.00-to-2.09 range.
+ 3B/RHP Joe Kelly (Loyola Academy, 2026) is a to-be sophomore that showed intriguing two-way potential throughout the event. Kelly stands at a sturdy 6-foot, 175-pound frame and exhibited some power at the plate. It started with a loud round of BP in which he had a peak exit velocity of 93.5 mph and a max distance of 337 feet. Kelly would translate that loud contact into gameplay, launching a no-doubt home run along with multiple barrels against older competition. He also gave an upside look on the mound, topping at 83 mph parlayed with a sharp breaker that spun in the 2400 RPM range.
TEAM 10 - NAVY
+ RHP Chase Lockwood (Libertyville, 2026) offers present polish and future upside on the rubber with a lean, projectable 6-foot-1, 155-pound frame to pair. Lockwood threw his fastball for strikes and spun two breaking balls, a curveball and slider, that peaked at 2500+ RPM, respectively.
+ RHP Brandon Pelz (Bartlett, 2026) showed off some of the best arm-strength from the 2026 class in the event. Listed at 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, athletic with room for added strength. The right-hander’s fastball explodes out of the hand from a lower release, cruising at 83-86 mph and topping out at 87 mph with arm-side run and some finish through the zone. Creates above-average spin on the breaking ball (2250-2300+ RPM), playing with 11/5 shape at 73-75 mph. Showed to have some feel for his heavy fading changeup, landing it for strikes 50% of the time, sitting at 77-80 mph with over 20” of run at times.
TEAM 11 - GREY
+ Left-handed hitting OF Dominic Battista (Oswego East, 2026) has shown well to our staff across multiple spots this year and he wrapped up his summer with another strong look at the Illinois State Games. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound sophomore has above-average bat speed from a short, direct swing that produced line drive contact throughout his BP round. Battista continued to prove he’s an advanced pure hitter for his age, picking up a few hits in the gameplay portion of this event, including a double. He looks the part of a quality defender in the outfield too with fluid, athletic footwork and a strong arm that topped at 87 mph in his workout.
+ MIF/RHP Alec Novotney (Marquette, 2026) is slowly trending up after having a successful spring where he started at shortstop and led off for the Crusaders. The right-handed hitting middle infielder stands at 5-foot-10, 150-pounds and looks to have grown since our last look during the 2023 IHSA season. An athletic prospect all around, he has an easy and simple swing at the plate with an accurate barrel. His athleticism played well in the infield with his smooth hands and ability to move to both sides. During gameplay, Novotney made a tough back-hand play and threw a runner out at first while moving on the run. On the mound, Novotney displayed an impressive four-pitch arsenal. The two-way prospect paired a low-80s fastball with a high-spin curveball (T2592 RPM) to navigate through a lineup of much older competition. Novotney also showed feel for a wipeout slider (T2423 RPM) and a changeup with 14.1 inches of horizontal movement. An intriguing two way prospect to watch moving forward.
+ One of three 2027 grads in attendance, 3B/RHP Kaden Wasniewski (McHenry) held his own against a talented and older crop of competition. The 6-foot, 155-pound right-hander pitched in the low-80s with his fastball (T2327 RPM) from a long, clean, and loose arm draw. Off that, Wasniewski spun a tight 70-72 mph slider for strikes and mixed in a changeup at 71-75 mph, too.
TEAM 12 - PURPLE
+ OF Josh Colaizzi (Bartlett, 2026) had a big workout day where he put up some of the top numbers across the board when it comes to a 2026 prospect. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound, strong, right-handed hitter swings with controlled aggression and leverage throughout; recorded a max exit velocity of 96 mph and showed off advanced arm strength in the outfield, topping at 88 mph. He also ran a 6.73 60, one of the top times of the event.
+ Another high-end prospect from the 2026 class that was in Rantoul for this event: MIF Joey Ireland (Mount Carmel; Illinois commit). The 6-foot-1, 155-pound sophomore has one of the higher athletic ceilings in the class, and he ran a 6.66 60 at this event while reaching 21.1 mph at peak. In BP, Ireland showed a flat right-handed swing with some barrel length, elevating his furthest ball 340 feet, per TrackMan. Defensively, Ireland showed a fast, loose arm, peaking at 85 mph across the infield.
+ INF Jailen Veliz (Yorkville, 2026) was an intriguing athlete up the middle for Team 12. Veliz measured in at an athletic 5-foot-8, 144-pounds with room to fill out. The right-handed bat displays a quick, direct path that allows for barrels pull-side/middle. Defensively, Veliz shows athletic, fluid footwork with a two-hand gather out front.
TEAM 13 - YELLOW
+ One of the top prospects in attendance regardless of class, INF Ethan Bass (Glenbrook North, 2026; Illinois commit) once again rose his stock with one of the better showings of the week. Currently ranked No. 2 in Illinois and No. 31 in the country. Bass is listed at a lean 6-foot-2, 160-pounds with plenty of room to add on strength. Bass started his workout on the right foot, cruising to a 6.87 in the 60-yard dash, with speed that easily translates to the middle of the infield and on the basepaths. The right-handed hitter had one of the better rounds of BP in the entire event, averaging 90.5 mph for his exit velocity with a max EV of 101.3 mph (T363’). Bass has quick/direct hands to the ball, working on the barrel with easy pop and controlled aggression. His BLAST metrics were some of the highest in-event, averaging 22.4 mph for his hand-speed (T28.4 mph) and 72.2 mph for his bat-speed (T81.2 mph). In-game, Bass showed to have no trouble facing above-average velocity, sending a ringing double to the right-center gap on the first day of gameplay. Advanced defender up the middle; quick/soft hands with a quick transfer, moves well laterally with feel for the position, ability to make accurate throws on the move with easy life across the diamond (T90 mph).
+ RHP Tre Cole (Champaign Central, 2026) is an upside right-handed-pitcher with long and loose levers, standing at 6-foot-1, 150-pounds. Cole came out of the ‘pen during the nightcap on Wednesday and provided a highly intriguing look, pitching in the low-80s with his fastball while flashing noticeable carry (22.8” IVB) at times. Cole also showed a curveball at 67-68 mph and he turned over a low spin, low lift 68-73 mph changeup, too.
+ OF Cole Latimer (Dekalb, 2026) is a name-to-know moving forward in the state. Physical, 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame with some maturity, still has room to add on strength. The right-handed hitter showed a knack for the barrel throughout BP, averaging 86.4 mph and reaching up to 95.7 mph for his max exit velocity (T358’). Athletic, quick hands at the plate, averaging 22.8 mph according to BLAST for his hand-speed (T24.3 mph) and 72.3 mph for his bat-speed (T78.8 mph). Showed to have no issues handling velocity, shooting a ball up the middle for a single on the first night of gameplay. Athletic defender with a quick first step, plays the game hard and fearlessly, tracking down a fly ball and diving into the fence, nearly making the catch but missing by inches. Reached up to 85 mph from a crow hop during workouts. Multi-sport, QB1 to watch as he continues to progress.
+ RHP Jackson Stahl (Hononegah, 2026) opened some eyes with his strong showing on Tuesday night. Listed at an athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pounds with room to add on strength. The right-hander has a simple and repeatable delivery with a slight preload in the back leg before stride, works in-line down the mound with easy effort. Stahl worked his fastball in the 80-84 mph range with some finish through the zone and up to 16” of run at times. Showed to have some feel for a downer 11/5 curveball at 71-73 mph, landing it for strikes and also kept mostly down. Flashed a straight changeup at 73-74 mph to finish off his arsenal.
TEAM 14 - PINK
+ Just like his two older brothers, MIF Sammy Atkinson (Providence Catholic, 2026) carries a natural feel to hit and top of the order upside down the road. A 6.90 runner, Atkinson sprayed line drives throughout his round of BP from a short, simple, and hitterish right-handed swing. Atkinson showed more juice than we’d seen from him in the past, barreling his hardest ball up at 94.1 mph, and his furthest traveled 331 feet, too. Defensively, he’s a quick mover with sure-handed actions and steady glovework that should stick somewhere on the infield dirt moving forward.
+ OF Omar Avalos (Father McGivney, 2027) has quickly made a name for himself this summer, capping off the circuit with performances at the PBR Junior Future Games and the Illinois State Games. Playing against older competition, Avalos didn’t let the moment get too big and showed that he belonged during his time in Rantoul. A 6.92 runner, the 5-foot-7, 150-pound left/left prospect has loads of athleticism and shows noticeable strength in his frame. Avalos has a knack for bat-to-barrel contact as he’s consistently been a tough out for pitchers. He can track the ball down in the outfield, too, and uses his speed to move efficiently. As he matures and gets stronger, Avalos’ metrics will likely increase, and he has positioned himself as one of Illinois’ premier 2027 prospects.
+ INF Nehemiah Torres (Glenbrook North) was one of the top 2026 infielders during the workout on the first day. Torres has long, loose limbs and moves around the diamond with ease while playing with soft hands, natural actions and smooth release.
+ RHP Paddy Roth (St. Patrick, 2026; Illinois commit) was arguably the top performer on the mound at the Illinois State Games. Roth, who stands at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, threw three innings, struck out seven, walked one, allowed no earned runs, and two hits. He features a loose arm with acceleration out front and athletic actions down the mound. Roth’s fastball sat in the mid-80s, topping out at 88.7 mph. Sitting in the upper-70s, his changeup had an average of 16.4 in. of horizontal movement, and he showed the ability to use it effectively and land it for strikes. He rounded out his arsenal with a slider that sat 69-72 mph. Roth looks every bit the part of a high-end follow on the hill in the 2026 class.