Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 9 O'Fallon

 By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois high school season kicks off on March 13, the first day for regular season games.

Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, 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 have been sending out our annual Preseason Questionnaire to coaches all across the state and as the responses flood in we will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team.

Team: O'Fallon
Preseason Rank: 9
2016 Record: 33-6
Conference: Southwestern Conference
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
Jason Portz
Playoff Run:
Lost in Sectional Final
2016 Final Rank:
Returning Starters:
Returning Pitchers:


Top Players

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Hayden Juenger IL
2018 RHP/INF

Hayden Schaefer IL O'Fallon 2017 OF
Josh Gibson IL O'Fallon 2019 INF
Missouri State
Jared Dalonzo IL O'Fallon 2018 INF

Logan Boente IL O'Fallon 2018 RHP

Chase Hackstadt IL O'Fallon 2017 C

Joe Guitheus IL O'Fallon 2017 INF
Brayden Arnold IL O'Fallon 2018 RHP/1B
Justin Dye IL O'Fallon 2017 RHP
 Rock Valley JC
Jordan Richardson IL O'Fallon 2017 UTIL
Heath Zuber IL O'Fallon 2017 RHP  
Christian Koechner IL O'Fallon 2017 OF  

Brad Harrison
, OF/1B/LHP, 2016 (Southern Illinois)
Cam Bauer
, SS, 2016 (Alabama)
Bradley Snyder
, 1B, 2016
Dillon Weiss
, OF, 2016 (Truman State)

1B/RHP Brayden Arnold. On the mound, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound, junior has seen his velocity jump over the winter, reportedly now running his fastball into the upper 80’s. If Arnold is able to step into a conference starter role it give the Panthers two arms with upper 80’s velocity. Arnold is also starting to come into his own with the bat. In limited at-bats in 2016 Arnold hit .354 with eight doubles and three home-runs. Arnold is expected to hit in the middle of the order in 2017. The two-way talent adds yet another dynamic player to the Panther roster.

RHP/INF Hayden Juenger (2018) transferred to O’Fallon at the start of the school year from Collinsville. Juenger, who is one of the top uncommitted 2018 arms in Illinois, gives O’Fallon a potential ace to replace 2016 graduate and PBR First Team All-State selection LHP Bradley Harrison. Juenger, has the makeup, stuff and pitchability to jump right into the ace role. At the Preseason All-State this February he sat 86-88 mph, touched 89 and had feel for three. Juenger is also expected to start somewhere on the infield when not toeing the rubber.

Hayden Juenger (2.19.17)


CF Hayden Schaefer (2017), a McKendree recruit, is the top returning hitter for the Panthers. Schaefer hit .452 with three home runs last season. Schaefer, who converted from the infield to center field is a dynamic, impact player who should be penciled into the three hole this spring.

The Panthers should be in line for yet another 30 + win season in 2017. They bring back six position players, four pitchers and welcome in transfer Hayden Juenger along with plenty of young talent. The strength of the team should be a balanced, deep offensive lineup as well as a stout defense. Senior CF Hayden Schaefer has the ability to hit for power and average and will hit somewhere in the middle of the order. INF Josh Gibson is a talented sophomore who started every game for O’Fallon last season and hit .324. Gibson will likely will be the catalyst at the top of the order. Junior's Jared Dalonzo, Hayden Juenger and Brayden Arnold should be mainstays in the lineup throughout the spring. Coach Portz will have the option to dive deep into his roster as senior’s Chase Hackstadt, Jordan Richardson, Joe Guithues, Christian Koechner and Dominic Smiley all have a chance to contribute. On the mound, the graduation of LHP Bradley Harrison, who in 2016 went 12-0 on the season with a 0.55 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 89.2 innings, will certainly hurt but Junior RHP Hayden Juenger should be ready to step up. Junior RHP Logan Boente will be right alongside as he has valuable varsity experience. Boente was part of the rotation as a sophomore last season and posted a 7-1 record with a 2.31 ERA in 56 innings. Other key arms that will contribute for the Panthers are junior RHP Brayden Arnold, senior RHP Justin Dye and senior RHP Heath Zuber. Arnold has been a revelation on the mound this winter and could develop into another high-level arm for the Panthers. 6-foot-3 RHP Luke Gasser is a sophomore right-hander who has grown five inches over the past year and will have an opportunity to get innings at some point this spring.

O’Fallon, a perennial top 25 team, is coming off a 33-win season and seems to have all the pieces for yet another successful season. The Panthers have the depth and high-end talent to win the tough Southwestern conference and make a run to Joliet.

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

preseason countdown