Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 11 Providence Catholic

By: Gavin Smith
Illinois Staff

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: Providence Catholic
Preseason Rank: No. 11
2022 Record: 22-16
Conference: CCL Blue
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Mark Smith


Ryan Hussey RHP
Providence Catholic 2023 Ohio State
Drew Zemaitis RHP Providence Catholic 2023 Xavier
Gavin Gomez OF/LHP Providence Catholic
2023 -
Will Withers OF/C Providence Catholic
2023 Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Pierre Danet INF/OF Providence Catholic
2023 -
Jude Allen INF Providence Catholic
2023 Wisconsin-Parkside
AJ Vinci LHP Providence Catholic
2023 Saint Louis
Aidan Duggan RHP Providence Catholic
2023 Cameron
Jack Zlogar RHP/3B Providence Catholic
2023 -
Jackson Smith INF Providence Catholic
2024 -
Edward Konow RHP/OF Providence Catholic
2024 -
Michael Roberson C/1B Providence Catholic
2024 -
Nolan Galla  INF Providence Catholic
2025 Xavier
Enzo Infelise C/RHP Providence Catholic
2025 -
Nate O'Donnell INF/RHP Providence Catholic
2025 -
Cooper Eggert RHP/OF/C Providence Catholic 2025 -
Sammy Atkinson INF Providence Catholic
2026 -


+ RHP Jack Wajda (Chipola JC)
+ RHP Alex Alberico (Kent State)
+ INF/RHP Tyler Young
+ OF Ryan Mrozek


+ INF Nolan Galla (2025; Xavier) was an early commit in the 2025 class and from our brief looks has upside to all parts of his game, including his wiry 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame. If things go according to plan, Galla has a chance to lock down the shortstop position this spring. With no varsity experience, Galla will be a name to follow this spring and his ability to play a sound shortstop could go a long way in stabilizing this defensive unit. 


+ Two big names that will be needed to help replace the losses of Jack Wajda and Alex Alberico (two of the Celtics top arms the last two years) are RHP Ryan Hussey (2023; Ohio State) and RHP Drew Zemaitis (2023; Xavier). If the Celtics want to make a deep run in the state playoffs, these two will most likely need to provide quality innings each time they take the mound. Both pitchers feature a four-pitch mix with a fastball that has been up to 91 mph in the past. If they can stay healthy and turn into top-of-the-rotation arms, it will go a long way for the Celtics who are looking to improve on their 2022 Sectional Semi-final run.


Last season, the Celtics won yet another regional title, but fell short in the sectional semi-final. With six returning starters and seven pitchers coming back with mound experience, this Providence Catholic team looks like they should have the ingredients to make a deep run in the class 4A state playoffs. 

The top returning bat this season for the Celtics is OF/LHP Gavin Gomez (2023). Gomez led the way last season as a junior hitting .412 avg with 6 HRs, 43 RBIs, and 9 extra base hits. He also found time on the mound, and in 27.2 innings of work he was 1-1 with 44 strikeouts and a 3.54 earned run average. Our staff was able to see him pitch against St. Laurence last April. Read below to hear what we had to say about his performance:

“Uncommitted, ranked No. 154 in the state. 5-foot-10, 180-pound, strong, compact build. Previously mentioned in our Week 3 Scout Blog for his offense work. The southpaw got the start for Providence Catholic, striking out 13 batters in 5.2 innings of work, allowing one earned run on three hits and walked three. Gomez threw 17 first pitch strikes to 24 batters faced. Worked mainly out of the stretch with easy effort, strong at balance point, shoulders stay level and in line with home, soft at foot strike, lands squared to home with an athletic finish. Gomez uses a two pitch mix from a short arm action, 3/4 slot. Four seam fastball, occasional arm side run, consistently around the zone, held 83-86 mph throughout the outing. Went to his curveball as his main secondary offering, confidence to throw it in any count, 1/7 plane with tight spin, thrown down in the zone, held 68-69 mph.” 

INF Jackson Smith (2024) is another name on this roster who provided a lot of offensive production as a sophomore on varsity last season. As a sophomore Smith hit .371 avg with 16 RBIs, and eight extra base hits in 111 plate appearances. He also tied for the team lead with 11 stolen bases. Potentially hitting towards the top of the order and playing second, Smith is due for a big year after his breakout performance last season as a sophomore. 

Two other young impactful bats with varsity experience last season are freshmen C/1B/RHP Enzo Infelise (2025) and INF/RHP Nate O’Donnell (2025). By the end of the spring, both were in the everyday lineup while Infelise looks like one of the top 2025 right-handed bats in the state. Infelise walked (11) more than he struck out (10) in his 64 at-bats. He also hit three doubles, 14 RBIs with a .313 BA and .413 OBP. Despite being only a sophomore he should be a force in the middle of the lineup. Here is what we had on Infelise’s most recent showing at the Preseason All-State: Underclass in late February:

“C Enzo Infelise (Providence Catholic, 2025) was one of two 2025 position players on last year’s Team Illinois Future Games squad and he continues to wield one of the top right-handed bats in the state. Infelise, who takes mature in-game at-bats with all kinds of confidence and presence in the box, continues to elevate his power profile, leading the event with a 385’ max batted ball with a T101.5 mph exit velocity and 91.6 mph average. On top of that, Infelise showed off a well-rounded game, looking the part behind the plate with quick, clean glove-to-hand release behind the plate while topping at 82 mph from out of the crouch, three mph harder than our last look. Yet another highly-impressive look at the uncommitted 2025.”

(Enzo Infelise, 8/9/22) 

O’Donnell is another sophomore with all kinds of upside. O’Donnell played a steady third base and hit .333 in his limited at-bats (21). He finished with two doubles, a home run and a .333 BA, .391 OBP. On top of his ability with the bat, he may be able to help on the mound too.

(Nathan O'Donnell, 6/2/22)

Other bats to note are 2025 INF Galla, mentioned above as a 'Newcomer to Watch,' OF/C Will Withers (2023; Wisconsin-Oshkosh), INF/OF Pierre Danet (2023), and INF Jude Allen (2023; Wisconsin-Parkside). Withers could be slated in one of the outfield spots, and last year as a junior he hit .353 avg, 10 RBIs, and four doubles in 85 plate appearances. In 75 plate appearances, Danet hit .34 with 14 RBIs, and three extra base hits. Allen is another potential run producer in the lineup and last year he hit .284 with two home runs, 28 RBIs and eight doubles. We last saw Allen at the Illinois State Games where he showed power in BP with a 96 mph peak exit velocity, and a max batted ball distance of 350 feet. And two-way sophomore Cooper Eggert (2025) should be mentioned here as well as a versatile member of the roster who can do a little bit of everything for the Celtics – with the potential to earn some innings on the mound, as well as positionally in the outfield and at catcher.

There is also all kinds of potential other options for Head Coach Mark Smith as he features plenty of depth, including the likes of a talented freshman, Sammy Atkinson. It remains to be seen what kind of role Atkinson can carve out but he has shown an impactful right-handed bat with above-average foot speed in our limited looks. 

The biggest question for the Celtics this season is whether their returning pitchers can replace the innings and success that Wajda and Alberico accounted for (8-4 record, 89.3 innings, combined). Hussey, Zemaitis, and Gomez were all mentioned above and will be relied on off the top. 

Some other names that can help fill the gaps are LHP AJ Vinci (2023; St. Louis) and RHP Aidan Duggan (2023; Cameron). Vinci is a potential starter this season for the Celtics; last year in 15.2 innings of work he had 22 strikeouts. Duggan could be an important arm out of the ‘pen, and last year he had a 3.50 earned run average with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings of work.

Another arm that emerged this winter, who could impact this club in a big way on the mound is Nathan O’Donnell, mentioned above as a sophomore bat. O’Donnell came away from the PBR All-State: Underclass a winner on the mound. Here is what we had on him from the event.

From Feb. 25, 2023: "... was yet another right-handed arm who should not put the bat down anytime soon. On the mound he worked with a different kind of pace and intent to deliver an upper 80’s fastball at 86-88 mph. O’Donnel threw his curveball with similar conviction at 75-67 mph with 11/5 shape. The bulldog approach to his ‘pen was apparent and if carried over into the season, will impact his game performance even more than his stuff already does.”

Two other arms to note are 2024 RHP Edward Konow and 2023 RHP Jack Zlogar. Zlogar is a 6-foot, 175-pound, wiry unsigned senior who was up to 85.5 mph at the Lockport Preseason ID this winter. 

From Feb. 20, 2023: “An uncommitted senior to know is RHP Jack Zlogar (Providence Catholic, 2023). The 6-foot, 175-pound right-hander still has plenty of room to fill out in his frame. Zlogar showed well above average feel for three pitches and flashed a plus spinning breaking ball at times, pairing off a fastball that sits in the 83-84 mph range (+2,300 RPM) and heavy running changeup at 75-78 mph.”


This Providence Catholic roster has the makings of a team that can make a run at the 4A state championship. There is a steady mix of experience, youth and depth throughout this club. Head Coach Mark Smith should have plenty of opportunities to figure out the right pieces and make this club as formidable as they have been in the last few years. If a few arms can step up and help round out the staff, they will be as hard as anyone to “out” come playoff time. 

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

Find more information on the 2023 Celtics below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter