Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 4 Plainfield North


By Andy Sroka & Drew Locascio

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: Plainfield North
Preseason Rank: 4
2017 Record: 28-10
Conference: Suburban Prairie
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: John Darlington
Playoff Run: Sectional finals appearance
2017 Final Rank: 15
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 5

KEY PLAYERS LOST

Brady Corrigan, RHP (Arizona State)
Connor Peplow, RHP (Illinois State)
Anthony Fumagalli, SS (Central College)
Alex Steinbach, 3B (Parkland JC)
Dylan Diorio, INF (Rose-Hulman)

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Brady Miller
IL Plainfield North 2018 RHP/1B Western Michigan
Gavin Doyle IL Plainfield North 2018 SS/RHP Western Michigan
Keegan Bates IL Plainfield North 2018 LHP Valparaiso
Chris Miller
IL Plainfield North 2018 RHP/DH  
Nick Cerrato
IL Plainfield North 2018 RHP Wisconsin-Platteville
Ryan Summers
IL Plainfield North 2018 2B  
Greg Budig
IL  Plainfield North 2019  C  
Cameron Kissel
IL  Plainfield North 2019  OF  
Jacob Goss
IL Plainfield North 2019 LHP Illinois-Springfield
Nate Curtis
IL Plainfield North 2019 RHP/OF/3B
Dylan Szajkovics
IL Plainfield North 2019 RHP  

NEWCOMERs TO WATCH

The Tigers lost two exceptional righties to graduation last season, two top-of-the-rotation arms on just about any staff: Brady Corrigan (Arizona State) and Connor Peplow (Illinois State). Unfortunately, they didn’t get to unleash the duo much in the postseason in 2017 due to an injury Corrigan sustained, but Peplow was able to carry them to the sectional final.

Fortunately, the loss of the Peplow-Corrigan combo isn’t as substantial when you realize just how many talented junior arms are going to get introduced to the competition of the Suburban Prairie. RHPs Nate Curtis, Cameron Kissel, Dylan Szajkovics have strong arms for their ages. The three all hit the upper-80s on repeat this winter -- Kissel has topped 91 mph in the past. LHP Jacob Goss (Illinois-Springfield) may not throw as hard, but what he lacks in velocity he makes up for in pitchability. The 6-foot-1, lefty should get an opportunity to prove himself and could be vying for a shot in the rotation, too.

In addition to the four names above (as if the group wasn’t impressive enough), those juniors are joined by classmates RHPs Harrison Pfeifer, Cody Harrison, Josh Fleming, Brandon Hutson, and Eric Mickenbecker, who all may contribute to what’s becoming one of the deepest pitching staffs in the state.

Nate Curtis (2.11.18)

X-FACTOR

Though, as deep and skillful as Plainfield North’s pitching staff is, the graduation of their two aces leave the No. 1 slot in the rotation empty. That’s where senior RHP Brady Miller (Western Michigan) is going to have to be if the Tigers are real state contenders come May. Miller sits in the mid-80s but has touched 88 mph in the past, with a curveball and changeup that both play. What separates Miller from the rest of the group is his frame and athleticism. Miller is also the football team’s starting quarterback and you’ll notice his 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame fills those pads nicely. He’s a great candidate to have a breakout year in his final high school season which would in turn give the Tigers the ace they are looking for to guide them through the playoffs.

Brady Miller (2.19.17)

OUTLOOK

When Plainfield North fell in the sectional finals last year, 5-3, their season ended glass half full. Tigers head coach John Darlington started only three seniors in his lineup for the team’s biggest game of the season, meaning a large contingent of last year’s 28-win squad will return. That group will be led by seniors Miller and SS/RHP Gavin Doyle, who are both committed to play at Western Michigan University, and LHP Keegan Bates, a Valparaiso commit.

The since-graduated righties Corrigan and Peplow leave a crater in the Tigers’ pitching rotation, but Plainfield North is fortunate enough to have arguably the most pitching depth in the state to patch that hole more than effectively, thanks to their returning senior class. The team is also welcoming a robust band of juniors to this season’s roster, in addition to its set of juniors who have already debuted at the varsity level, including standout OF/RHP Kissel and C Greg Budig.

Kissel, specifically, is one of the top-ranked juniors in the state. The two-way threat was a big contributor to last year’s regional championship team and will be more heavily leaned upon this year, both offensively and on the mound. Budig not only quarterbacks the infield, but he also plays quarterback for the Plainfield North football team, too, and started for the sophomore team. He’s an athletic defender and primarily hit in the two-hole as a sophomore last season.

The Tigers are going to test the quality of their staff as run suppressors. It’s a little uncertain how much they’re going to be able to score this spring. Doyle and Miller will supplant the middle of the order much like they did last year. Doyle will man shortstop when he is not on the mound. Kissel will provide some punch around the Doyle/Miller combination. 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior Chris Miller should also have a chance to impact the lineup with his bat. He may be yet another arm Coach Darlington could call on as well. The biggest question will be who will play 3B and replace Alex Steinbach. Other than that, there are not a lot of holes on this club.


BOTTOM LINE

This year’s version of the Plainfield North Tigers can beat you in a multitude of ways, but its strength lies in its pitching depth. The team has a healthy merry-go-round of arms that are all talented enough to quell any lineup. Currently, its pitching staff is led by a couple of seniors but the group would be glad to see one of the many juniors take the reigns.

The prospects of a challenge for a state trophy this year and/or the next look as a good for Plainfield North as they do for any school in the Suburban Prairie -- maybe even the state.

Find more information on the 2018 Tigers below:

+ Full Schedule
Team Website
+ Gamechanger
Twitter

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

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN