Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 21 Sycamore

By Josh Fields
Illinois & Wisconsin 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: Sycamore
Preseason Rank: No. 21
2022 Record: 28-7
Conference: Northern Illinois Big 12
IHSA Class: 3A
Head Coach: Jason Cavanaugh


Tommy Townsend 1B/LHP Sycamore 2023 Butler
Jimmy Amptmann RHP Sycamore 2023 Heartland CC
Owen Piazza 3B/RHP Sycamore 2023 Aurora
Lucas Winburn RHP Sycamore 2023 Kaskaskia JC
Conner Williar OF/RHP Sycamore 2023 Rock Valley JC
Kiefer Tarnoki OF/LHP Sycamore 2023 Lake Land JC
Ryan Polly RHP Sycamore 2023 Ohio Northern
Hunter Britz 2B/C Sycamore 2023 Oakland City
Joey Puleo UTL Sycamore 2023 Augustana (IL; football)
Kyle Hartmann C Sycamore 2024 -
Teague Hallahan RHP Sycamore 2024 -
Matthew Rosado INF/RHP Sycamore 2024 -
Collin Severson OF Sycamore 2024 -
Kyle Prebil INF Sycamore 2025 -


+ Ethan Storm (2022; Rock Valley JC)
+ Byron Blaise (2022; Rock Valley JC)
+ Griffin Hallahan (2022; Southeastern JC)


+ INF Kyle Prebil (2025): While it is unclear what type of role Prebil will play as a sophomore, he has shown a propensity for hard, loud contact at the plate. He has a physical frame, stays direct to the ball and makes hard lifted to both gaps. Prebil should be a name to watch in this Sycamore program over the next few years.

Kyle Prebil (6/16/22)


+  OF/1B Tommy Townsend (2023; Butler commit), who is the No. 84-ranked senior in the state, will provide a big bat in the middle of the lineup and will be leaned on again to be a big run producer for this Spartans squad. The Butler commit slashed .434/.525/.828 good for a team best 1.353 OPS with 20 extra-base hits, including nine home runs, and 40 RBIs with almost as many walks (15) as strikeouts (19). In addition to Townsend’s role on offense, he will also pitch out of the bullpen this spring, a familiar role for him having been the teams closer during the 2022 season and collecting seven saves and 34 strikeouts to go along with a 0.61 ERA.

Tommy Townsend (2/26/22)


The Spartans are coming off a successful season where they won 28 games, a conference, Regional and Sectional championship before ultimately falling to Washington Community in the Super-Sectional. Heading into 2023, there are some holes to fill but the pieces are there on paper. 

Offensively the Spartans return a large group of seniors from last year's squad. These seniors will have the lion's share of the responsibility in replacing Ethan Storm, Byron Blaise, and Griffin Hallahan, who were impact contributors on all sides of the ball last season. 

Headlining this group of senior bats is OF Kiefer Tarnoki (2023; Lake Land JC commit), INF Owen Piazza (2023; Aurora University commit), and the aforementioned OF/1B Tommy Townsend (2023; Butler commit).

Tarnoki is coming off a strong 2022 campaign in which he hit .448 in 96 at-bats with a .533 OBP and a .667 SLG, good for a 1.188 OPS. He also collected 15 extra base hits including 10 doubles and 4 triples with more walks (12) than strikeouts (6). Piazza was also an impact bat hitting .388 in a team leading 103 at-bats. He registered a .453 OBP, .602 SLG and 1.055 OPS, with 5 home runs and 28 RBI’s. Townsend will anchor the lineup thanks to his .434 average, 10 home runs and 40 RBIs returning from last year. 

Other impactful seniors include Joey Puleo (2023), Conner Williar (2023), Jimmy Amptmann (2023; Heartland CC commit). Puleo, who is heading to Augustana for football, hit .320 and scored 20 runs last season. Williar hit .370 in 46 at-bats and Amptmann delivered three home runs in 97 at-bats.

One junior who looks ready to break out this spring in an expanded role could be C/INF Kyle Hartmann (Sycamore). Hartmann showed well recently at the Preseason All-State: Upperclass and has swung the bat with authority in a number of looks during the summer at PBR at The Rock tournaments, among others. Here is what we had to say on the versatile defender from the event:

"Despite his 5-foot-10, 175-pound, athletic, wiry stature, Hartmann creates all kinds of bat speed and bat strength in his swing. Hartmann has violence and intent in the box, while staying flat, long through the zone and on the barrel with loud, lifted, hard contact. The right-handed hitter led the event with a 96.7 mph average exit velocity, peak of 101.1 mph and a 100% hard-hit percentage. He also stood out behind the plate playing quick out of the crouch with a plus arm that topped at 84 mph (up 4 mph) with a low pop-time of 1.94 seconds."

A quartet of other position players looking to fill in some holes are Matthew Rosado (2024), Will Baumgartner (2023), Hunter Britz (2023; Oakland City commit) and Addison Peck (2023).

The rotation looks to be the biggest area of concern as they lost their top two arms in Ethan Storm and Griffin Hallahan. One senior who looks poised to fill that void and features a big fastball with swing and miss stuff is Jimmy Amptmann. The Heartland CC commit struck out 67 in 36.2 innings pitched, tallying a 6-2 record and 2.84 ERA on the season. His maturation process and ability to handle additional innings and big games should play a big role in the success of the staff as a whole.

Townsend, who will be relied on heavily offensively, should also be asked to take the ball quite a bit as well. Last year, serving as the main closer, the talented southpaw gave up two earned runs in 23 innings, collecting seven saves in the process. 

Lucas Winburn returns after he struck out 19 and gave up three earned runs in 14.1 innings pitched last season.  Others who should be asked to help fill out the staff and innings on the mound should be Owen Piazza, Conner Williar, Teague Hallahan, and Matthew Rosado. Additionally Tarnoki, Harmann, Puleo and Ryan Polly may get called on out of the bullpen.


The Spartans boast a deep lineup that returned a lot of contributors from the 2022 season. If the pitching staff can step up to make an immediate impact they should enjoy a successful season in 2023 and another deep playoff run in Class 3A.

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

Find more information on the 2023 Spartans below:

+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter