Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 22 Marist

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois high school season kicks off on March 12th, the first day for regular season games.

Leading up to the opening week of games we will be rolling out team previews of high school teams all across the state and across all classifications, eventually launching our Preseason Power 25.

We will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team.

Team: Marist
Preseason Rank: 22
2017 Record: 15-21
Conference: East Suburban Catholic
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Kevin Sefcik
Playoff Run: Lost in Regional Semi-Final
2017 Final Rank: NR
Returning Starters: 4
Returning Pitchers: 6


Matthew Donahue, SS (Roosevelt)
Elijah Hynes, OF (Concordia-Chicago)
Colin Pfotenhauer, SS (Taylor)
Joseph Stack, LHP (Carthage)
Nate Stiegal, C, (Lewis)


Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Jack Anderson IL Marist 2018 OF Kenyon College
Jason Trbovic IL Marist 2018 LHP
Jack Brannigan IL Marist 2019 UTIL Notre Dame
Kendal Ewell  IL Marist 2019 OF/1B Eastern Kentucky
Jason Hodges IL Marist 2019 OF Arkansas
Justin Janas IL Marist 2019 1B Illinois
Kyle Jennings IL  Marist 2019  RHP   
Max Malley IL  Marist 2019  C/INF  Evansville
Colin Bohanek IL  Marist 2020  3B   
Caden Carr IL  Marist 2020  RHP   
Johnny Kubin IL Marist 2020 RHP  
Dane Thomas IL Marist 2020 OF  
Noah Smith IL Marist 2021 SS Louisville


6. Six is the number of current Division I commits on the Marist roster, with more likely to come. Five of the commits are juniors while one is only a freshman.

+ 2019 OF Jason Hodges (Arkansas)
+ 2019 1B Justin Janas (Illinois)
+ 2019 OF/1B Kendal Ewell (Eastern Kentucky)
+ 2019 UTIL Jack Brannigan (Notre Dame)
+ 2019 C/INF Max Malley (Evansville)
+ 2021 SS Noah Smith (Louisville)

Don’t be shocked if sophomore’s RHP Johnny Kubin and CF Dane Thomas are future Division I commits as well.  


OF/1B Kendal Ewell. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound, Eastern Kentucky commit has always possessed an enormous amount of upside and talent. Last year the results were not there in a limited number of games. If Ewell can put together consistent, competitive at-bats and continue to improve in the outfield he could be an incredibly dangerous weapon added to the talent-laden Redhawk lineup. The potential for a big year from Ewell is there…..lets see if the results can match the potential in 2018.

Kendal Ewell (2.11.18)


UTIL Jack Brannigan. The Notre Dame commit is one of the tooliest 2019s in the state and will be asked to do a number of things this season for Marist. Brannigan may start the year off at shortstop but if freshman phenom Noah Smith shows he can handle the shortstop position at the varsity level, it will allow Brannigan to shift to centerfield. That would allow Brannigan to utilize his 6.68 speed and get comfortable in what will most likely be his best position at the next level. Brannigan may also be asked to step up as this season’s closer, which makes perfect sense given the fact that he has been up to 91 mph from the outfield. If the arm strength translates to the mound, that could give the Redhawks the shutdown arm they are looking for at the end of games.


The 2017 squad was full of underclassmen and there were plenty of bumps in the road on the way to a below .500 season. The good news for Marist is all of those underclassmen return with experience and they also welcome one of the top freshman in the state, SS Noah Smith (Louisville), into the fold. Smith is an advanced defender who could likely impact the varsity roster sooner rather than later. The strength of Coach Sefcik’s club will be the strong crop of position players; six are already committed to Division I programs while senior OF Jack Anderson (Kenyon) will be relied upon as well. When looking at the lineup they have a jmpressive combination of speed, power and guys who can handle the bat. Junior’s Jack Brannigan (Notre Dame) and Max Malley (Evansville) can put pressure on the defense with their speed, with Brannigan possessing sneaky pop as well. Jason Hodges (Arkansas) and Kendal Ewell (Eastern Kentucky) have some of the best raw power in the state and can leave the yard at any time. Justin Janas (Illinois) is a professional-type left-handed hitter with good feel for the barrel and uses the whole field. Sophomore OF Dane Thomas is another left-handed hitter to throw into the mix and is a well-above average runner. Another sophomore with potential to impact the lineup in some way is 3B Colin Bohanek. Defensively, they will be led by Max Malley behind the plate. Malley is a dynamic defender who has advanced catch and throw skills and plays the game the right way.

The biggest question for Marist will be the same one as last year, the pitching staff. Like the position players, a number of underclassmen gained experience last season and received plenty of innings. They will look for sophomore Johnny Kubin and junior Kyle Jennings to take the next step and lead the staff, as well as senior left-hander Jason Trbovic (Loras). Some other pieces to keep an eye on this spring will be 6-foot-2, 154-pound, sophomore RHP Caden Carr and junior Jack Brannigan, the potential closer. If the pieces come together on the mound for Marist a deep run in the playoffs is possible.


There is no shortage of talent on the Marist roster. Yes, they are still young but they should be able to hit, defend and will be coached as well as any team in the state. How far of a run can they make in the playoffs? The arms shall tell the answer.

Find more information on the 2018 Redhawks below:

+ Full Schedule
Team Website
+ Gamechanger

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