Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 18 Freeburg

By: Diego Solares
Associate Scout, Staff Writer

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 14, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2022 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down through the official PBR Illinois Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2022 preseason coverage begins today.

Team: Freeburg
Preseason Rank: No. 18
2021 Record: 36-3
Conference: Cahokia
IHSA Class: 2A
Head Coach: Drew Gerick


Eli Hill
2022 Eastern Illinois
Eli Hoerner
2022 Iowa Western CC
Kamden Casey
2022 McKendree
Lane Otten
RHP 2023 -
Carson Ott
RHP 2023 -
Luke Isaacs
INF/RHP 2023 -


+ 1B/RHP Colin Brueggemann (2021; Johnson County CC)


+ RHP Carson Ott (2023) and INF/RHP Luke Isaacs (2023): On a team that returns a lot from last year’s state championship squad, both Ott and Isaacs are expected to contribute in their first season at the varsity level. Ott will likely see more time on the mound, though he’ll play the field as well, with Isaacs expected to hit somewhere towards the top of this lineup and log innings in a relief role. Regardless, these two fresh faces on head coach Drew Gerick’s squad will be key pieces to a team looking to defend their 2A state title.


Freeburg’s historic 2021 campaign should be remembered as one of the most dominant in recent memory. The Midgets were flat-out overpowering all spring, winning 36 games and battling their way to the 2A state championship. Now, with that level of success under their belt, Freeburg has high expectations and their eyes on a championship repeat with the season less than a week away.

What bodes well for Freeburg is how many players they’ll return from last year’s championship squad – 11 position players and six pitchers. They will, however, miss 1B/RHP Colin Brueggemann (2021) as their two-way superstar has since graduated. Now at Johnson County CC, Brueggemann slashed .478/.521/.910 with 12 home runs and 60 RBIs for this team last spring, all while posting a 9-0 record and 2.12 ERA on the mound. Even with a multitude of returners, Brueggemann’s impact on both sides of the ball will be a tall task to fill throughout the spring season.

With all that being said, this Freeburg team is littered with talented and experienced players at key positions. Their strength appears to be inside the pitching staff – it's a deep group that returns over 137 innings on the mound in the expected starting rotation alone. Headlining this group are its two top arms from 2021: RHP Kamden Casey (2022; McKendree commit) and RHP Lane Otten (2023). Casey overwhelmed opposition each time he toed the rubber last season, posting an 8-0 record with a 0.60 ERA and 51 strikeouts across 46 ⅓ innings pitched. His most impactful outing came in the state championship game where he hurled a complete game shutout to secure the 2A title for Freeburg. There, the McKendree commit's fastball sat 82-84 mph and he showed advanced feel to spin his slider, too. Casey led Freeburg in nearly every single statistical category on the mound, but Otten was also dominant each time he got the starting nod. As a sophomore, Otten posted an 8-0 record like his counterpart and he punched out 33 batters across 44 ⅓ innings with a 1.58 ERA and .99 WHIP. He’s an impressive athlete at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds and he relies on a hard-sinking fastball that was measured up to 89.7 mph this winter, and a high-70s sinking changeup with out-pitch potential.

Lane Otten (2/21/22)

There’s depth and experience in this rotation behind Casey and Otten, too. Senior RHP Austin York will look to build off a successful season last year while shouldering a heavier workload, where he made six starts and posted a 1.88 ERA over 22 ⅓ innings. Another senior, RHP Aidan Lougeay (Illinois College), will log innings for this squad, serving as a swing starter and key reliever. Lougeay did some of that last season, as he made eight appearances in total and started three games, hurling 24 ⅔ innings pitched with a 1.42 ERA. RHP Tino Borja (2022) and the aforementioned duo of Isaacs and Ott are each names expected to get work on the mound this spring as well.

Plenty of experience returns offensively for Freeburg, including MIF Eli Hill (2022; Eastern Illinois) and MIF Eli Hoerner (2022; Iowa Western). Both of them had standout offensive performances last season and their defensive experience up the middle should provide a stable cushion for this Freeburg pitching staff. Hill slashed .448/.543/.705 with 19 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs, and he swiped 23 bags as well. Hoerner wasn’t too far behind his infield companion, putting together a slash line of .448/.500/.595 with 18 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs, and he went was an immaculate 45-for-45 in stolen base attempts. With these two penciled in as everyday middle-of-the-order contributors, Freeburg’s offense should have little issue wreaking havoc on opposing staffs. Otten, who we highlighted earlier for his mound prowess, put together a strong offensive season in 2021 with a .396/.464/.595 slash line and he homered three times. The aforementioned Casey is another name-to-know nestled inside the middle of this lineup. This group, paired with the additions of both Isaacs and Ott, will be turned to on a game-to-game basis to pace this Freeburg offense.


Head coach Drew Gerick’s squad is positioned nicely to make a run at the 2A state title again in 2022, but they’ll need to find a way to replace the offensive production left behind by 1B/RHP Colin Brueggemann (2021). Still, a deep and experienced bunch is more than capable of anchoring this staff as the season progresses. Pair the amount of pieces they return on offense with their senior leadership up the middle and it’s not hard to envision another successful season for Freeburg this year. 

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2022 season.

Find more information on the 2022 Midgets below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter