Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 24 Grayslake Central

By Andy Sroka
Illinois & Wisconsin Assistant Director

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: Grayslake Central
Preseason Rank: No. 24
2022 Record: 30-8
Conference: North Lake County
IHSA Class: 3A
Head Coach: Troy Whalen


Chris Rogers LHP/1B Grayslake Central 2023 Lindenwood
Will Schufreider RHP Grayslake Central
2023 College of Lake County JC
Ralph DeLeon 2B Grayslake Central
2023 College of Lake County JC
Jack Gerbasi OF Grayslake Central
2023 -
Sam Cooper SS Grayslake Central
2023 -
Adam Fitzgerald OF/1B Grayslake Central 2023 -
Garrett Guenther UTL/RHP Grayslake Central 2023 Central College
Max Woll RHP Grayslake Central 2023 College of Lake County JC
Cameron Marson C Grayslake Central 2023 Loras College
Jordon Dumas OF Grayslake Central 2024 -


+ There’s two key numbers to bring up here that underscore Grayslake Central’s 2023 season: 200 and 30. This Rams pitching staff returns 200 innings on the bump led by three senior arms who have been pitching on varsity since their sophomore year. That core group is also used to winning, as they’ve won 30 games in back to back seasons, which is up there among the most in the state these past two springs.


Chris Rogers (8/21/22)

+ LHP/1B Chris Rogers (2023; Lindenwood commit) will juice this team’s middle of the order while also being its No. 1 starter on the mound. While he might be a better prospect on the mound, Rogers’ offensive output in his senior spring will be especially critical for the Rams’ success in 2023. Having graduated its top two hitters, Rogers is the most productive run-producer who returns to this daily lineup, bringing back an OPS above 1.013 with 13 extra-base hits, four homers, and 27 RBIs. On the mound, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior southpaw sat in the 86-87 mph range (87.5 max) at one of our August showcases, and the fastball plays up given its steep angle to home and the carry he gets through the zone, so it’s a pitch that’ll earn whiffs and weak contact all on its own, and he’s also bringing with him a tight breaking ball and a solid changeup that makes him that much tougher of a match-up for opposing hitters.

In 2022, Rogers owned a 2.78 ERA and he punched out 65 batters in 40.1 innings, though his 24 walks over that span contributed to the 16 earned runs he allowed as a junior. An improvement in control over the last year or so could evolve Rogers into a genuine ace and one of the top arms in northern Illinois come playoff time.


As one of the winningest programs in northern Illinois, especially over the last decade, the Rams are looking to return to state for the first time since 2014, when they earned a second consecutive trip to the tournament, finished third and then fourth, respectively, at the 3A level. Entering his 20th campaign at the helm of Grayslake Central’s dugout, head coach Troy Whalen chartered back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in his tenure, in which he’s secured 461 total wins since he initiated the program when the school first opened in the fall of 2002.

Central hasn’t lost more than nine games in a single season since 2016, and the depth they have on the mound should hoist them through another winning spring – held together by a senior core accustomed to winning.

While the ‘X-Factor’ two-way Chris Rogers should be among the team’s leader in most of the Rams’ key stat categories by season’s end, and on both sides of the ball, he’ll be backed by several others on the pitching staff that should help Grayslake Central get close to, or even surpass, the 30-win mark once again.

Fellow seniors RHP Will Schufreider (College of Lake County JC), LHP Colin Kornit, and RHP Nolan Mussay bring back over 100 innings among them. It was Schufreider who actually led the team in several categories on the mound, including ERA (0.89) and innings pitched (47.0), and he tied Rogers with 65 punch-outs overall, and he walked only 15. Kornit K’d 42 batters in his 30-plus innings; Mussay had 21 Ks and a 2.03 ERA over 20.2 frames of work. It’s a stout pitching staff that should be seen as the team’s strength once again in 2023.

Offensively, the Rams will spend the early parts of their season seeking contributors to fill at least some of the holes left behind by the Class of 2022 graduates C Charlie Marisca (Parkland JC) and RHP/1B Brendan Whalen (Lake Land JC), who were their best bats from a season ago. After Rogers, the most important hitter in this daily lineup might be senior OF Jack Gerbasi, corner outfielder-type who showed some barrel feel and right-handed bat strength at a PBR Wisconsin event in 2022. Across just 69 at-bats as a junior, Gerbasi hit .420 and recorded an OPS over 1.100, so there’s a chance he’ll be able to keep up what was a strong 25-game sample of his offensive capabilities – and he stole a team-high 17 bases as well.

Up the middle of the infield, seniors 2B Ralph DeLeon (College of Lake County JC) and SS Sam Cooper are back as dependable defenders. DeLeon is table-setter offensively, returning a .338 batting average with eight doubles as a junior. Elsewhere, senior backstop Cameron Marson (Loras College) has the tough task of replacing the highly ranked Marisca behind the dish, but he’s shown efficient catch-and-throw tools, and there’s strength in his compact right-handed swing attached to a broad 6-foot-1, 195-pound build.

More seniors fill out the rest of this projected starting lineup, like OF Adam Fitzgerald, who brings back a .372/.464/.423 line as well as 17 RBIs and 10 steals; 3B Riley Policht also hit over .300 last spring in 23 at-bats, due to play an increased role this season. UTL/RHP Garrett Guenther is also a senior capable of making up some of the run production and innings left behind by the '22 class. He has some physicality in his right/right profile, listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, and he showed a hard-sinking low-80s fastball at an event last summer, as well as some athleticism on the infield, and compact strength in a right-handed swing, fit with bat and hand speed. RHP Max Woll (College of Lake County JC) is another senior depth arm staff that bolsters the team's outstanding strength on staff.

One of the few juniors expected to impact the daily lineup right away is OF Jordon Dumas. Listed at a physical and athletic 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Dumas showed promise this past offseason at a Preseason ID of ours where he ran a 7.13 in the 60-yard dash and displayed an upside right-handed swing that reached a 92.9 mph max exit velocity and a max batted distance of 350 feet. The Rams will take any offense they can get from the junior, but his athleticism and transition into becoming the team’s everyday center fielder will be the most important part of his development in 2023.

Jordon Dumas (2/12/23)

More juniors like INF Cayden Woods, RHP/1B Jadon Dumas, RHP Jerry Miller, RHP Jonathan Restrepo, and INF Izzy Nieto Jr. each have a chance to make their marks in their first springs at the varsity level. Additionally, sophomores LHP Cal Hanson, C Jake Peterson, and INF Michael Peterson, are three names to know ahead of time, in the event that they’re able to exceed expectations and earn playing time earlier than projected.


A winning culture and a senior core that helped fortify it for the last three years have Grayslake Central ranked inside our Preseason Power 25 to start the 2023 season. Depth on the mound has consistently been a key ingredient in state tourney runs, and the Rams certainly have that. Questions inside the lineup exist, but there’s enough here for the group for the pitching staff to guide them through a lengthy postseason 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 Rams below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter