Preseason Team Countdown: No. 45 Naperville Central



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting 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: Naperville Central
Preseason Rank: 45
2014 Record: 22-13
Conference: DuPage Valley (finished 1st in 2014)
IHSA Class:  4A
Head Coach: Mike Stock
Playoff Run:
Lost in Regional Final
2014 Final Rank:
NR
Returning Starters:
3
Returning Pitchers:
3

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)

Bobby McMillen, OF, 2015

Kevin Clifford, OF, 2015

Justin Wegner, C, 2015
Mack Heatherly, 3B/DH, 2015
Ryan Eiermann, LHP, 2017

X-FACTOR
OF Bobby McMillen was named the DVC Player of the year in 2014, and also earned PBR Third-Team All-State honors. The senior erupted on the season last spring hitting .529 with 14 doubles, seven home runs, and four triples. He also tallied 55 hits, 28 RBI, and 33 runs.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Sophomore LHP Ryan Eiermann is receiving significant D-1 recruiting interest. The 6-foot, 180-pound southpaw should make an immediate impact for the Redhawks with his 83-85 mph fastball, and hard, late-breaking 72-74 mph slider. Eiermann works from a ¾ arm slot and impressed in the summer and fall.

KEY PLAYER LOST
Patrick Maloney, RHP (Lewis University)
Brendon Daley, 1B/LHP

STAT RAT
Inexperience on the mound will be a weakness, as Naperville Central only returns 38 total varsity innings from 2014.

OF Kevin Clifford hit .382 last season, and 3B/DH Mack Heatherly hit .361 as the DH in the second half of 2014. Catcher Justin Wegner has recorded pop times in the 1.95 range this winter (78 mph from the crouch) and should shut down opposing running games.

OUTLOOK
The Redhawks won the DVC in 2014, for the second consecutive season, and will look to defend their crown this upcoming season. They’ve been bounced out of the playoffs in the Regional Final for two consecutive years as well, so they’ll look to clear that hurdle come late May. Head Coach Mike Stock is excited about the return of the middle of his order in McMillen, Clifford, Heatherly, and Wegner. Even though they’ll have depth on the mound it will be inexperienced, and all positions up the middle will be newcomers. Naperville Central proved last season that inexperience won’t be an issue, as last year’s conference championship team only returned three starters as well.

BOTTOM LINE
Naperville Central has won two state championships since 2006, and has fielded highly competitive teams over the last decade. They should be right there vying for their third straight DuPage Valley Conference title.

Preseason Countdown

+ Top 50 Preseason Countdown Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Rankings

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