Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Team Countdown: No. 11 Lincoln-Way North

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: Lincoln-Way North
Preseason Rank:
2013 Record:
Southwest Suburban Red
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
Mitch Nowicki
Playoff Run: Lost in Sectional Semifinals (Lincoln-Way East)
2013 Final Rank: 7

Returning Starters: 2
Returning Pitchers:


Kyle Ostrowski, LHP, 2015 (Purdue)
David Calderon, RHP/INF, 2014 (Morehead State)
DJ Lee, MIF, 2014 (Richmond)
Liam Jenkins, RHP, 2015
Erik Eggert, OF/LHP, 2014
Joey Fredrickson, RHP, 2014
Ben Troike, MIF, 2016
Connor Grove, C, 2014
Brett King, LHP, 2014
Matt Strzelczyk, LHP, 2014 (Black Hawk College)
Josh Mutter, LHP/OF, 2015

Kyle Ostrowski.
Ostrowski has emerged as one of the top junior prospects in the Midwest and has the stuff and big-game experience to match up with most teams’ aces.

David Calderon
, RHP/INF, 2014 (transfer from Marian Catholic). Upper-80s right-hander adds even more depth to one of the state’s deepest staffs.

Kevin Smith, 3B/RHP (Creighton/Oakton CC)
Mike Miller, RHP (SIU-Edwardsville)
Ryan Pellack, C (St. Xavier)
Josh Handzik, SS (St. Joseph)

First-year coach Mitch Nowicki takes over for Joe Skarbek, who built the Phoenix into one of the state’s top programs in short order. The Phoenix were ranked No. 1 for a large part of the season and enjoyed an incredible campaign before getting ousted by district rival Lincoln-Way East in the sectional semifinals, 5-0. The Phoenix graduated a ton of talent, including two All-State selections (Kevin Smith and Mike Miller), along with several multi-year starters. But anyone who paid attention to their pre-game routine could see that there were high-level players who couldn’t get on the field. Despite losing their top two pitchers, the Phoenix has a surplus of quality arms from the left and right sides. Ostrowski, who was likely the best No. 3 pitcher in the state last year, now is the team’s ace - and a legit one at that. North got a big boost when RHP/INF David Calderon transferred from Marian Catholic. Calderon, a Morehead State recruit, works in the mid-to-upper-80s. Big 6-foot-8, 225-pound RHP Liam Jenkins has recently emerged as one of the top prospects in Illinois’ 2015 class, and is another upper-80s pitcher. Defensively, the Phoenix graduated the middle of the field, but look for DJ Lee, a left-handed hitting Richmond recruit to anchor the infield, along with slick-fielding sophomore Ben Troike. While the offense should have solid production throughout the lineup, the Phoenix lack middle-of-the-lineup thump.  

Many may think the Phoenix will stumble after graduating so many quality players. But the cupboard is definitely full at the Frankfort school. They have the frontline pitching and the depth to be an extremely dangerous team, both in the regular season and playoffs. Last year, the Phoenix were one of the prohibitive favorites to win the state championship, only to fall prematurely in the playoffs. This year may be the reversal. The expectations won’t be as sky-high (to some, at least), but they could be the ones knocking off the favorites.

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Season Countdown

+ Preseason Team Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2016 Player Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Player Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2014 Player Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

2014 IL Top Prospect Slide