Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 1 Plainfield North

By Sean Duncan
 Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 25 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Josh Garner
           RHP/OF Josh Garner

Team: Plainfield North
Preseason Rank:
2015 Record:
Southwest Prairie
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
John Darlington

Playoff Run: Lost in the Supersectional
2015 Final Rank: 7
Returning Starters: 7
Returning Pitchers:


Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Brady Corrigan, RHP, 2017 (Arizona State)

Brady Corrigan
           RHP Brady Corrigan

Josh Garner, RHP/OF, 2016 (St. Louis)
Jake Dunham, C, 2016 (Northern Illinois)

Zach Jarosz, SS, 2016 (South Dakota State)
Justin Yeager, RHP, 2016 (Southern Illinois)
Connor Peplow, RHP, 2017 (Illinois State)
Josh Heckman, RHP/1B, 2016 (South Florida State)
Tyler Garrity, LHP/1B, 2016
Brandon Knox, OF/INF, 2016
Alex Steinbach, 3B, 2017

RHP/OF Josh Garner. A three-year standout, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Garner is a frontline pitcher who works in the upper-80s. The St. Louis recruit also features a sharp breaking ball and throws consistent strikes. Although his future is on the mound, Garner should once again be an impact bat in the Tigers’ lineup. As a junior, Garner earned five wins.

RHP Brady Corrigan. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Arizona State recruit is the No. 2-ranked junior prospect in Illinois’ 2017 class and a high-level national prospect. Corrigan didn’t pitch on varsity last spring, so he should quickly establish himself as a dominant frontline option. Corrigan turned in a dominant performance at the PBR Future Games last August, when he sat 89-90 mph with a sharp, two-plane breaking ball and above-average changeup. His advanced three-pitch mix made Corrigan one of the biggest winners at the Future Games, and soon after committed to Arizona State.

LHP Kyle Strepek (Illinois-Springfield)
RHP Matthew Vanek (St. Xavier)

The Tigers return 19 of the team’s 30 wins on the mound … and that doesn’t even include Corrigan.

The Tigers welcome back seven starters and six pitchers from last year’s team that lost a 6-5 heartbreaker in eight innings Mount Carmel in the Class 4A supersectionals. Aside from the returning experience, coach John Darlington also has several impact newcomers added to the mix that should elevate the program to unchartered territory. Simply put, Plainfield North is stacked with talent, and especially on the mound. The Tigers feature the deepest pitching staff in the state, despite graduating LHP Kyle Strepek, and Notre Dame recruit Zack Martin deciding not to play high school baseball for his senior season. The staff is headlined by senior RHP Josh Garner (St. Louis), junior RHP Brady Corrigan (Arizona State), senior RHP/1B Josh Heckman (South Florida State) and senior RHP/OF Justin Yeager (Southern Illinois). Junior RHP Connor Peplow (Illinois State) and unsigned senior LHP/1B Tyler Garrity (3-0, 2.01 ERA) add quality depth. Garner, Corrigan, Yeager and Peplow have all flashed 88-plus velocity in the past, while Heckman and Garrity work in the mid-80s. Darlington also has several impressive sophomore pitchers if he needs them. Aside from Plainfield North’s wave of arms, the bulk of last year’s offense returns, including four players who are three-year starters. Handling the pitching staff is three-year starting catcher Jake Dunham (Northern Illinois), who’s one of the top backstops in the state. Senior SS Zach Jarosz (South Dakota State) returns is another three-year starter who anchors the defense. Jarosz is a three-sport athlete who is the offensive sparkplug at the top of the order. Garner and Heckman are also three-year starters for Darlington. Senior OF/INF Brandon Knox and 2B Anthony Agne also return. Look for 6-foot-3 junior 3B Alex Steinbach to make a significant impact this season.

The Tigers are coming off their first sectional championship, fourth consecutive Southwest Prairie Conference championship and fourth 30-win season. With all the pitching and returning experience, we’re picking Plainfield North to reach new heights by winning the school’s first state baseball championship come June.

Make sure to follow @pbrillinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the season.


Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown Previews 

Updated Illinois 2016 Rankings

Complete Illinois High School Schedules