Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 13 Lincoln-Way East

By: Diego Solares
Associate Scout, Staff Writer

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on April 12, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, leading into a countdown 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 2021 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Lincoln-Way East
Preseason Rank: No. 13
2021 Record: 27-3
Conference: Southwest Suburban
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Eric Brauer


Alex Stanwich
2022 Tennessee
Randy Seymour
2022 Michigan State
Ryan Ball
2022 -
Jake Petak
2022 Black Hawk JC
Andrew Bollman
2022 North Central College
Jack Hoh
2022 -
Dominic Owens
2022 Concordia-Chicago
Zachary Kwasny
3B/RHP 2023 -
Blake Binkowski
2023 -
Tyler Bell
2024 Pittsburgh


+ RHP Landen Looper (2021; Miami (OH))
+ LHP Joseph Boland (2021; Joliet JC)
+ INF Maxton Polad (2021; Southeastern CC)
+ 1B Matthew Michaels (2021; McHenry County JC)
+ LHP Daniel Hiemer (2021; Loras College) 


844%: The winning-percentage that head coach Eric Brauer has in his tenure as the Lincoln-Way East head coach since he took over in the 2017-2018 season. He turned the Griffins’ into a perennially successful program and amassed the school record in wins during his first season at the helm. With Brauer leading them, Lincoln-Way East stacks up well against any opposition. 


Randy Seymour (3/20/21)

SS/RHP Randy Seymour (2022; Michigan State): Seymour popped late into last year’s summer circuit, committing to the Spartans in early November. He led the Griffins in batting average last season (.385), homered four times, and finished the year with the team’s lowest strikeout-percentage (11.6%), too. Seymour also pitched 12 ⅔ innings, posting a 1.66 ERA with 18 strikeouts while working exclusively in relief. He’ll almost certainly garner more of a workload this spring and be elevated to a starter’s role, handling top-of-the-rotation duties for the Griffins. Because of what he does on both sides of the ball, including the fact that he’ll be this team’s starting shortstop, how Seymour performs this spring could play a major role in the success of Lincoln-Way East. 


Tyler Bell (8/22/21)

MIF Tyler Bell (2024; Pittsburgh): A switch-hitter, Bell first popped to our scouts at the Chicagoland Open in August where he, one of the younger prospects in attendance, was arguably the best player there. He then impressed us again at the Underclass Preseason All-State event, where our scouts had this to say about him: “ another impressive infielder with the tools to stay on the left side of the diamond for the long haul. The 6-foot, 170-pound Bell ran a 7.13, was 88 mph across the infield, and he made the infield defensive portion of the event look easy with clean and efficient actions and minimal effort. He looks equally as potent from both sides of the plate with an easy, loose swing with some strength through contact. Impressive 2024 infielder.”

Now, in his first taste of varsity action, the Griffins are expecting to get plenty of positive contributions from their standout sophomore. He’ll be thrown right into the mix, hitting towards the top of a quality lineup and playing on the infield in an everyday role. 


Last year’s Lincoln-Way East team was really good - they won 27 games, took home the Southwest Suburban conference title, and also won a regional championship. They did so with a highly productive group of seniors that left a positive mark on the program and it certainly won’t be easy to replace what they got from their 2021 class.

Nonetheless, the Griffins enter this spring with high aspirations and a roster talented enough to put them in a positive position for success. It’s a group that may not have as much experience as others, they only return three position players from last year’s team, but has plenty of talent from top to bottom and will certainly be well-coached with Eric Brauer at the helm.

Perhaps the most notable name on this roster is OF Alex Stanwich (2022; Tennessee), who returns as a middle-of-the-order piece for the Griffins and is one of the conference’s best players. We’ve known Stanwich to be one of the state’s top 2022 grads since his middle school days and now the 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior is ready to put the finishing touches on his high school career. Stanwich had a successful offensive season for the Griffins last year, slashing .323/.454/.531 with five home runs, 22 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases as well. He saw time on the mound in a relief role last season, something he’s expected to do this year as well, and turned in a 2.80 ERA across 20 innings, striking out 33 batters.

Alex Stanwich (2/6/22)

Joining Stanwich in the outfield are OF Jake Petak (2022; Black Hawk JC-Moline) and RHP/UTL Andrew Bollman (2022; North Central College). Petak was a key piece for Lincoln-Way East last season as a junior, slashing .343/.456/.486 in 70 at-bats with two home runs and 21 RBIs. He’ll be slotted directly into the heart of this order and be counted on as more of a run producer in his senior season with several talented players hitting around him in this lineup. Bollman is set to serve as a utility type for this team, seeing time on the mound while also getting some time in the field. Expect junior OF Jack Cosich (2023) to roam the outfield too, as an athletic right-handed hitter with above-average speed.

Jake Petak (2/17/21)

The Griffins’ talent extends to the infield, too. With the aforementioned Seymour and Bell locking up shortstop and second base, respectively, C Jack Hoh (2022) completes this up-the-middle trio for the Griffins as he’ll captain this team from behind the dish. Look for another senior, C Dominic Owens (2022; Concordia-Chicago) to see time back there and C Aiden Knipper (2023) is batting for innings behind the plate as well.

On the corners for Lincoln-Way East are two players whose talents extend to the mound as well as the infield: 3B/RHP Zachary Kwasny (2023) and 1B/RHP Ryan Ball (2022). Kwasny, who’s built at an ultra-physical 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, is one of the state’s top uncommitted juniors and received nearly everyday playing time on varsity last season as a sophomore. He slashed .316/.411/.405 with 15 RBIs and also struckout 24 batters across 18 ⅓ innings pitched. His role on the mound, in particular, could be a major deciding factor in the success of this Griffins’ team, as Kwasny is expected to shoulder a heavier workload in that regard than he did last spring. A majority of Ball’s contributions this season will come on the mound, where the 6-foot-3, 215-pound uncommitted senior saw success last season, albeit in limited fashion. He made eight relief appearances, covering nine innings and striking out 15 batters with a 1.56 ERA. That workload is expected to increase this spring and if Ball can consistently provide them with quality production, Lincoln Way East will have a formidable trio of arms at the top of their rotation. It’s worth mentioning 1B/OF Blake Binkowski (2023), who’s a physical 6-foot-3, 225-pound left-handed hitter with advanced raw power attached to his barrel that’ll get at-bats in some capacity this spring. 


The Griffins have consistently found a way to win over the years under Brauer and we expect them to continue doing so this spring. They have potency across the board, an athletic team that can really run, and talent scattered across the field. It’ll be a tall task to replace the production left behind by an impressive 2021 class, but this team is capable of making a deep run into the IHSA playoffs if they can successfully do so.

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

Find more information on the 2022 Griffins below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter