Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Team Countdown: No. 1 Mount Carmel

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the top 75 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: Mount Carmel
Preseason Rank:
2013 Record:
Chicago Catholic Blue
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
Brian Hurry
Playoff Run: 4A state champion
2013 Final Rank: 1

Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers:

Marko Boricich, LHP, 2014 (Penn State)
Josh Stowers, OF, 2015 (Louisville)
Ako Thomas, 2B, 2015 (Michigan)
Richard Fordon, LHP, 2014 (Northwestern)
David Dobrinich, OF/LHP, 2014 (Western Illinois)
Scott Kapers, C/RHP, 2015 (Valparaiso)
Malik Carpenter, 1B, 2015
Nelson Munoz, RHP, 2015
Jeremy Houston, SS, 2016
A.J. Lewis, C/3B, 2016
Greg Ploszaj, OF, 2014
Nick Wheeler, OF, 2015

Marko Boricich
. The 6-foot-1 left-hander assumes staff ace status after enjoying a whirlwind 12 months in which he helped lead the baseball team to its first state championship, guided the football team to another state title as the starting quarterback, experienced a significant velocity jump into the upper-80s and, ultimately, earning a scholarship to Penn State. As a junior, Boricich went 8-1 with a 0.96 ERA. In 66 innings, he struck out 64 and walked 21.

Jeremy Houston
. The slick-fielding, athletic sophomore shortstop takes over as the Caravan’s starting shortstop now that his older brother, Jerry, is at the University of Oregon. While Jerry Houston’s leadership qualities will be sorely missed, the younger Houston possesses an exciting array of tools and is one of the top prospects in Illinois’ 2016 class.

Jeremy Kravetz, LHP (Kansas)
Jerry Houston, SS (Oregon)
Jason Gasser, OF (Northern Illinois)

One of the top athletes in the state, OF Josh Stowers batted .351 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 35 runs and 15 RBI as a sophomore last spring. The powerfully built 6-foot-1, 195-pound Stowers possesses game-altering speed and is one of the top 2015 prospects in the Midwest.

Coach Brian Hurry and his Caravan program finally broke through and won the Class 4A state championship last spring, the school’s first baseball title, thus becoming the first Chicago Catholic League program to bring home the big trophy since 1976. Although the Caravan lost several cogs from last year’s history-making team, on paper they should be even stronger this spring. The Caravan started four sophomores last spring - 2B Ako Thomas, Stowers, C Scott Kapers and 1B Malik Carpenter - and all but Carpenter are already verbally committed. Carpenter, a physical right-handed hitter, possesses big power potential at the plate and will also likely be a D1 signee sooner or later. Mount Carmel features tremendous team speed up and down the lineup and should be able to score runs in a variety of ways. Stowers, Dobrinich, Houston, Thomas, and Greg Ploszaj all have excellent speed. The Caravan also have an abundance of quality depth around the diamond. Kapers, who’s a top-level defensive catcher, emerged over the off-season as an upper-80s pitcher with three-pitch feel. When Kapers pitches, Hurry can play A.J. Lewis, who is a top-10 2016 catching prospect in Illinois. While losing Jeremy Kravetz is a blow, Boricich has plenty of big-game experience and is a natural winner. Boricich will be gunning for his fourth state championship this spring, having already won two in football. Joining Boricich is LHP Richard Fordon, a Northwestern recruit. Between Boricich, Fordon and Kravetz, they threw every pitch during the playoffs last spring. Look for junior RHP Nelson Munoz to make a significant impact this spring. Munoz pitched 11 innings as a sophomore and posted a 1-0 record. Hurry also has a lot of pitching depth from the left and right sides.

Winning back-to-back championships is extremely difficult, but the Caravan have the experience, athleticism and overall talent to do so. The road for Mount Carmel is certainly tough, as Chicago Catholic Blue powers St. Laurence, St. Rita and Providence are all ranked in the top 10. But the Ouija Board said the Caravan is winning it all again, so who are we to argue with it?

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