Preseason Team Countdown: No. 16 Alton

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage: 

Team: Alton
Preseason Rank: 16
2014 Record: 22-15
Conference:  Southwestern
IHSA Class:  4A
Head Coach:  Todd Haug
Playoff Run:
Lost in Regional Final to Edwardsville
2014 Final Rank:
Not Ranked
Returning Starters:
Returning Pitchers:

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Bryan Hudson
, LHP/DH, 2015 (Missouri)
Matt Hopkins, OF/1B, 2015 (Air Force)
Carter Hayden, RHP/3B, 2015
Ben Cusac, RHP, 2015
Steven Nguyen, SS, 2017
Nick Cauley, RHP, 2016
Aaron Bonnell, OF, 2016
Jacob Skrabacz, 2B, 2015
Drake Hampton, UTIL, 2015
Jacob Kanallakan, 1B, 2016

Bryan Hudson
.  The 6-foot-7, 220-pound left-hander is one of the premier prospects in the Midwest. He is currently ranked No. 4 in Illinois’ deep 2015 class and No. 54 overall. The Missouri recruit is clearly known for his prowess on the mound, but he produced in a big way at the plate for Alton last spring.  Hudson earned PBR third-team All-State honors after he tallied 12 doubles, five homers and 33 RBI. On the mound, he had a 1.28 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He struck out 114 in 76.2 innings and finished with a 9-5 record.

Carter Hayden
. The 5-foot-10 right-hander is a transfer from Alton Marquette and will add depth to an already deep pitching rotation. Before transferring to Alton, Hayden had posted a 17-4 career record at Marquette. At the Unsigned Senior Showcase in Janary, Hayden pitched at 83-85 with a solid three-pitch repertoire.

SS Clint Cress (Lewis & Clark CC)

Matt Hopkins
, who is one of the top left-handed hitters in Illinois’ 2015 class, has been a three-year standout for Alton with a career .400 batting average. The Air Force recruit joins Hudson in giving Alton a pair of left-handed power hitters.

Alton bounced in and out of the Top 25 early in the season last spring, but ultimately finished fifth in the tough Southwestern Conference. But with seven starters and eight pitchers back in the fold, the Redbirds should be a mainstay Top 25 team this spring. Coach Todd Haug’s club features excellent pitching depth, headlined by LHP Bryan Hudson, who’s one of the top pitchers in the state. Hudson is the type of ace that can help carry a team in the postseason. RHPs Carter Hayden, Nick Cauley and Ben Cusac should all see significant innings on the mound as well. Offensively, the Redbirds are in good shape as well. Hudson and Matt Hopkins return to anchor the middle of the order. Sophomore SS Steven Nguyen, another left-handed hitter, is coming off an impressive freshman campaign in which he batted .433 on varsity. Aaron Bonnell, a junior, hit .380 with 30 RBI last year as a sophomore. Overall, the Redbirds feature depth all over the field.

Look for the Redbirds to be legitimate contenders for the Southwestern Conference championship against the likes of perennial powerhouses O’Fallon and Edwardsville. Problem is for the Southwestern Conference teams, they are all stuffed into one of two 4A regionals, so it is difficult to advance in the playoffs. But with Hudson leading the way, Alton should be very dangerous come postseason time.

Preseason Countdown

+ Top 50 Preseason Countdown Rankings

+ 2015 Schedules Released

+ Updated Illinois 2016 Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

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