Preseason Team Countdown: No. 6 Plainfield North

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: Plainfield North
Preseason Rank:
2014 Record: 28-9
Conference: Southwest Prairie
IHSA Class: 4A 
Head Coach: John Darlington
Playoff Run:
Lost in Sectional Final
2014 Final Rank:
Not Ranked
Returning Starters:
Returning Pitchers:

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)

Kyle Strepek, LHP, 2015
Richard Bryza, 3B, 2015

Matt Vanek, RHP, 2015 (Saint Xavier)
Jake Dunham, C, 2016 (Northern Illinois)
Josh Garner, RHP, 2016 (St. Louis)
Zack Martin, RHP, 2016 (Notre Dame)
Brian Van Duser, 2B/RHP, 2015 (Carthage)
Jake Pacanowski, C, 2015 (Augustana)
Justin Yeager, RHP/OF, 2016
Tyler Garrity, LHP, 2016
Josh Heckman, RHP, 2016
Zach Jarosz, SS, 2016
Brady Corrigan, RHP, 2017
Adam Zuk, RHP, 2015

Senior ace LHP Kyle Strepek was named IHSBCA Class 4A all-state in 2014 after going 9-1 with a 1.64 ERA. He struck out 85 and walked 15, while also hitting .347 in the middle of the lineup with 25 RBI. What’s scary for opposing hitters is that Strepek has shown improved velocity in bullpens over the winter, sitting in the 85-86 mph range.

Junior RHP/OF Justin Yeager is one of many power arms on the staff, impressing the PBR staff this winter with his 86-88 mph fastball. Yeager also provides power from the left side of the plate, and could see action in the outfield. Junior LHP Tyler Garrity also impressed this winter, and is drawing Division-I recruiting interest thanks to a velocity bump that saw him sit 82-84 mph this winter.

Joe Callahan, RHP/OF

9: That’s the number of arms the Tigers possess that can bring mid-80’s heat or better, giving them perhaps the deepest pitching staff in the state of Illinois.

The pitching staff should lead the way for the Tigers in 2015. Two of the 2016 arms are already committed to Division-I programs, while Yeager, Garrity, and Brady Corrigan may end up being D-I arms as well. With Strepek and Vanek back at the top of the rotation, look for them to take the pressure off the underclassmen early on. RHP/OF Josh Garner is well known for his powerful arm, but he also hit .300 with five homers in 2014. Junior RHP Zack Martin is also capable of pitching in the upper 80's and is committed to Notre Dame. 2B Bryan VanDuser is a tough out, and also can come in relief showcasing an 85-88 mph fastball. If that wasn’t enough on the mound, senior closer Adam Zuk also returns, and was effective throughout the Tigers 2014 state tournament run.

Offensively, 3B Richard Bryza returns in the cleanup spot and catchers Jason Paconowski (Augustana) and Jake Dunahm (Northern Illinos) will handle the staff, while also providing pop in the middle of the lineup. Junior Zach Jarosz returns at shortstop.

Plainfield North lost the conference title in the final game of the of the Southwest Prairie schedule last spring to Minooka. They’ll likely compete with the Indians again, but the Tigers should have a huge advantage thanks to their deep pitching staff and the conference’s three-game series format. Coach John Darlington said, “I believe our experience will help us win early, which will give us the confidence to have a great season. I think if we work hard and play up to our capabilities, we can have a special season in 2015.” The Tigers have grown up, and with seven returning starters in the field and the one of the deepest staffs in the state, look for them to make a serious push for the Class 4A State Finals 10 miles to the east in downtown Joliet.

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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