Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 10 Belleville East

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 13, 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 2023 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 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Belleville East
Preseason Rank: No. 10
2022 Record: 27-9
Conference: Southwestern
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Ryan Wiggs


Zander Mueth
Belleville East
2023 Ole Miss
Dylan Mannino
RHP Belleville East
2023 Western Kentucky
Owen Kelly
Belleville East
2023 Saint Louis
Ean DiPasquale
Belleville East
2023 Minnesota State-Mankato
Patrick Mendiola
Belleville East
2023 Saint Louis
Joseph Mendiola
INF Belleville East
2023 St. Charles CC
Nolan Seneczyn INF Belleville East 2023 -
Caleb Guthrie
Belleville East
2023 -
Ty Reaka
Belleville East
2024 -
Quenton Briscoe OF Belleville East 2024 -
Tommy Kramkowski
Belleville East
2025 -


+ LHP/OF Kannon Walker (2022; Lake Land JC)
+ INF Micah Georgian (2022)


Zander Mueth, RHP, 2023, Mississippi signee: Long known as a premier pitching prospect on a national scale, Mueth enters his final high school season as the headliner of the most talented team Belleville East’s had since the 2002-to-2003 season. Mueth’s a unicorn of a prospect in some sense - he’s a 6-foot-5, 190-pound long-limbed athlete who controls himself down the mound and pumps a low-to-mid-90s fastball from a tough ¾ arm slot, ripping a sweeping slider with occasional late bite from the same window as his heater. Over 27 innings last spring, Mueth pitched to a 2.33 ERA and allowed just one extra-base hit, striking out 47 and walking 14. He’ll likely see an increased workload this season and the Lancers will benefit as a result, having a chance to win each game their star toes the rubber. Set to draw plenty of professional scouts to the field in each of his starts, Mueth is primed for a big spring and is on our early shortlist of ‘Player of the Year’ candidates entering 2023.

Zander Mueth


Tommy Kramowski, INF/RHP, 2025: Kramkowski saw a brief cup of coffee at the varsity level last season and succeeded, but the 6-foot, 160-pound sophomore will step into a much greater role in 2023, especially with the departure of INF Micah Georgian (2022). He’s expected to start on the infield for Belleville East and slot in towards the top of their order, while also logging innings on the mound throughout the spring.


2.22 - Senior RHP Dylan Mannino’s (2023; Western Kentucky) era in 2022, the lowest mark amongst returning players. He struck out 59 batters over 41 innings of work, posting a 5-1 record and tossing two complete games. Mannino pitched in some big moments for the Lancers down the stretch, most noticeably against Collinsville in the regional semi-final, where he entered the game in a jam and left unscathed, eventually leading to a Belleville East victory. The 6-foot-3, 165-pound right-hander has a dynamic two-pitch mix, working his fastball into the upper-80s, touching the low-90s, from a fast, loose arm, and spinning a sharp swing-and-miss breaking ball off it. He’s undoubtedly a huge part of arguably the state’s deepest rotation and is primed for an even bigger year in 2023 than before. 

Dylan Mannino


Belleville East had their most successful season under head coach Ryan Wiggs last spring, winning 27 games, finishing second in the Southwestern Conference, and capturing their second regional title in his tenure. With an absolute force of a rotation and a handful of key offensive pieces returning, the Lancers enter 2023 with higher expectations than before.

We touched on Mueth and Mannino above, but two more power arms that’ll touch the rubber for Belleville East this spring are RHP Owen Kelly (2023; Saint Louis) and RHP/1B Ean DiPasquale (2023; Minnesota State - Mankato). Kelly is a hyper competitive 6-foot-4, 195-pound athlete with a three-pitch mix that includes a mid-to-upper-80s fastball and sharp sweeping slider. He’s a name we’ve become increasingly familiar with over the past calendar year and has always impressed, backing up that success throughout last spring with a 2.49 ERA and 6-0 record over 45 innings, striking out 62. DiPasquale boasts a physical 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame with strength throughout that should contribute on both sides of the ball for Belleville East. He struck out 50 batters over 40 innings last spring while also slashing .311/.470/.489 with 11 extra-base hits. This pair of seniors adds even more talent, experience, and depth to this Lancers team.

Owen Kelly

Two huge pieces from last year’s offense are back: C Patrick Mendiola (2023; Saint Louis) and INF Joseph Mendiola (2023; St. Charles CC). Patrick batted .337 over 101 at-bats with a 1.032 OPS and 15 extra-base hits. His role behind the plate is more important than his offense, however, as his comfort and experience catching all four of these power arms obviously bodes well for Belleville East. Joseph was one of the more productive hitters in southern Illinois last season, slashing .450/.512/.667. He led the Lancers in total hits (50), extra-base hits (17), RBIs (36), and OPS (1.179).

Joseph Mendiola

OF/LHP Ty Reaka (2024) and OF Caleb Guthrie (2023) are two left-handed bats in this lineup that also return. As a sophomore last spring, Reaka made the jump to varsity down the stretch and batted .310 with a .459 OBP in a limited sample. While he’ll be a contributor offensively, the 6-foot-3, 178-pound southpaw is a name we’ve heard positive things about on the mound this off-season, and he’ll carve a role out for himself in that regard too on this loaded Belleville East staff. Guthrie, a senior, saw 88 plate appearances in 2022, batting .386 with a .957 OPS, drawing nearly as many walks (15) as strikeouts (18) with seven stolen bases.

Ty Reaka


With four power-armed seniors, led by the state’s top pitching prospect, Belleville East enters the spring with higher expectations than ever. It’s a special crop of arms that head coach Ryan Wiggs has at his disposal, and they supplement that group with multiple returning offensive pieces, including one of the Southwestern Conference’s most proven and productive right-handed bats. Getting to Joliet won’t be easy given their regional and sectional, but the Lancers have the talent to find themselves playing for a state title in early June. 

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2023 season.

Find more information on the 2023 Lancers below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter