Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 3 St. Laurence

By Josh Schoenberg
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: St. Laurence
Preseason Rank: No. 3
2022 Record: 30-9
Conference: Chicago Catholic League
IHSA Class: 3A
Head Coach: Pete Lotus


DJ Helwig RHP
St. Laurence 2023 Notre Dame
Rodney Lester  LHP St. Laurence 2023 Saint Xavier
Evan Martinez LHP St. Laurence 2023 Morton JC
Luke Geary RHP St. Laurence 2023 Loras
Richard Gomez RHP St. Laurence 2023 Concordia-Chicago
Luke Stulga OF St. Laurence 2023 Illinois State
Johnny Wendling C St. Laurence 2023 Illinois-Springfield
Michael Carrano 1B St. Laurence 2023 Parkland JC
Jesse Contreras INF St. Laurence 2023 Heartland CC
Jameson Martin INF St. Laurence 2024 Minnesota
Jimmy Sloan RHP/OF St. Laurence 2024 -
Kannen Mosher RHP St. Laurence 2024 -
Ryan Seddon LHP/OF St. Laurence 2024 -
Joe Olson  LHP St. Laurence 2025 Louisville
Daniel Coyle UTIL St. Laurence 2026 -


+ Angelo Luna (2022; Illinois-Springfield)
+ Mike Gentile (2022; Upper Iowa)
+ Jake Merda (2022)
+ Max Montgomery (2022)


+ (30): The Vikings return all 30 wins on the mound from last season’s Regional championship club. The experience that this rotation has will most definitely be relied upon if St. Laurence wants to make a deep playoff run this upcoming spring. 


Daniel Coyle (6/11/22)

+ UTL Daniel Coyle (2026) is expected to compete for a role on varsity, despite being just a freshman. The 5-foot-9, 150-pound right-handed hitter put his versatility on display on the PBR Tournament circuit last summer, showing quality looks in the infield, outfield, and on the mound. He repeatedly showed a compact and level swing in-game, and recently put together one of the day’s more impressive rounds of defense during his workout at our Preseason All-State event. While the time he’ll see this spring is unknown, there is no doubt that he has the talent to be a contributing member of the Vikings lineup in the years to come. 


+ LHP Joe Olson (2025; Louisville commit) had a big freshman campaign for the Vikings, punching out 53 hitters in 39 innings of work en route to a 2.33 ERA. He is poised for an even better sophomore season this year with previous varsity experience now under his belt. One of the Midwest’s premium southpaw prospects, Olson has repeatedly impressed our staff both in event and in game. He put together one of the more polished ‘pens at our Preseason All-State event earlier this month, earning praise from our scouts:

“[Olson] is up 25 pounds (6-foot-1, 210-pounds) since this event last year, and looks like he’s gained most of it through the squat rack this winter. Olson looks as sturdy and durable as ever, while controlling the mound like a veteran starter. He showed some of the best fastball command, peppering the bottom of the zone at 85-87 mph. Olson brings similar feel to his curveball at the bottom of the zone and a fading changeup that can expand off the plate from right handed hitters.”

Joe Olson (9/25/22)


As previously mentioned, the Vikings return each and every one of their 30 wins on the bump from last year. The rotation will be headlined by DJ Helwig (2023; Notre Dame commit) and the aforementioned Joe Olson. During his junior campaign, Helwig led the team in innings pitched (59.0), strikeouts (69), and wins (9) and will likely be towards the top of those categories this year as well. At 6-foot-6, 175-pounds, the 2020 PBR Future Games participant has all sorts of projection on the bump. He’s ran his fastball up to 90 mph in our previous looks, adding a changeup with heavy arm side fade and a sweeping breaking ball to keep opposing hitters off balance. 

DJ Helwig (4/25/22)

The rotation will have plenty of depth between RHP Kannen Mosher (2024), LHP Rodney Lester (2023; Saint Xavier commit), and LHP/OF Ryan Seddon (2024). The first two were both key contributors on the mound last spring, and they will be sure to take on similar roles this spring. Mosher tossed 35.1 innings, accumulating a 2.58 ERA to pair with a 1.19 WHIP - while Lester impressed as well, adding 25.1 innings and leading the team in ERA (1.38) and WHIP (0.99). Seddon did not see a whole lot of opportunities during his sophomore spring, but is primed to compete for a spot in the rotation and in the outfield. 

The Vikings ‘pen will feature a pair of newcomers in LHP Evan Martinez (2023; Morton JC commit), and RHP/OF Jimmy Sloan (2024), who will also compete for a spot in the outfield. Despite the general lack of bullpen experience, Coach Lotus will be able to call upon RHP Luke Geary (2023; Loras College commit) and RHP Richard Gomez (2023; Concordia-Chicago commit) as two relievers who have previous varsity experience. 

The Vikings return plenty of key positional players, led by OF Luke Stulga (2023; Illinois State commit). At a physical and athletic 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, he offers a unique combination of speed (6.54 runner) and power (84.3 mph max bat speed). As a junior, Stulga put together an impressive .403/.472/.689 slash line - leading the club with seven home runs and ranking second on the team with 45 RBIs. Take a look at what our staff had to say after a performance of his last spring: 

“[Stulga] impressed with numerous barrels throughout the day and finished 3-for-4 with a double. The right-handed hitter uses very little wasted movement throughout his swing; working with a minimal stride into a flat path through the zone, hands working quick to the ball with an uphill path, flat at times. He displayed easy bat-strength with a double to the opposite field, as well as numerous barrels throughout batting practice; scorching balls straight into the wind and using the whole field.”

Luke Stulga (2/1/23) 

Returning to the heart of the order alongside Stulga will be C Johnny Wendling (2023; Illinois-Springfield commit). A 2021 PBR Future Games participant, Wendling put together a successful junior campaign in which he posted an OPS of 1.058. The 6-foot, 215-pound backstop has continually impressed with his bat strength, averaging an exit velocity of 90.6 mph at our Illinois State Games last August. 

Luke Wendling (8/9/22) 

Despite seeing limited plate appearances, 1B Michael Carrano (2023; Parkland JC commit) impressed last spring, with nearly half of his hits going for extra bases. With more of a clear path to a starting role, he is poised to be a run producer during his senior campaign. Carrano is a physical 6-foot-2, 215-pound left-handed hitter that has flashed pull-side power with mid-to-high 90s exit velocities in-event in the past. 

St. Laurence will also be returning their double-play duo up the middle, with MIF Jesse Contreras (2023; Heartland commit) and MIF Jameson Martin (2024; Minnesota commit). Each strung together productive seasons last spring, and will be mainstays throughout the Vikings lineup this spring. Contreras displayed the skillset of a typical top-of-the-order bat, with a .510 on-base percentage while keeping his strikeouts at a minimum. Martin has been trending upwards for the last year after slashing .320/.416/.515 during his sophomore campaign. He attended our Preseason All-State event earlier this month, receiving kind words from our staff:

“[Martin] is a quality, smooth defender and recently committed to Minnesota. Defensively, his athletic actions and footwork (ran a 7.08 60) will keep him up the middle moving forward and he topped at 84 mph across the diamond. Offensively, he took one of the more polished bat-to-ball rounds of any right-handed hitter in attendance. Martin averaged 91.3 mph off the bat which was only three mph off his peak of 94.7 mph. He stays direct, through the zone a long time and strong through impact with a mature whole field approach. High-quality round of BP that should play against velocity moving forward.”

Jameson Martin (6/8/22)


The Vikings roster is loaded with athleticism and experience from last year’s Regional championship club. St. Laurence will depend on a variety of upperclassmen with previous varsity experience, including the return of the entire rotation, if the team wants to make a deep playoff run.

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

Find more information on the 2023 Vikings below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter