Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 11 O'Fallon



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:

Bradley Harrison
   LHP/OF Bradley Harrison

Team: O’Fallon
Preseason Rank:
11
2015 Record:
30-10
Conference:
Southwestern Conference
IHSA Class:
4A
Head Coach:
Jason Portz
Playoff Run: Lost to Providence Catholic in the Supersectional
2015 Final Rank: 11
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers:
3

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Brad Harrison, OF/1B/LHP, 2016 (Southern Illinois)
Cam Bauer, SS, 2016 (Alabama)
Bradley Snyder, 1B, 2016
Dillon Weiss, OF, 2016 (Truman State)
Connor Breyer, 3B, 2017
Cody Crowder, RHP/OF, 2017
Chase Hackstadt, C, 2017
Joe Guitheus, INF, 2017

X-FACTOR
Bradley Harrison. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Southern Illinois recruit is one of the state’s premier two-way talents, as he proved last spring when he earned PBR first-team All-State honors as a junior. A four-year starter, the left-hander posted an 11-2 record with a 1.27 ERA. In 66 innings, he struck out 81 and walked 22. Offensively, the left-handed hitter batted .418 with 15 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 49 RBI, and 33 runs scored. He posted a .503 on-base percentage, .672 slugging percentage, and a 1.176 OPS.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Jared Dalonzo
. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound sophomore middle infielder should provide excellent defense and speed at second base. Coach Jason Portz said Dalonzo is the top athlete in the entire program, and should slide over to shortstop after the graduation of Cam Bauer.

KEY PLAYER LOST
RHP Chris Holba (East Carolina)

STAT RAT
1B Bradley Snyder is one of the top uncommitted players in Illinois’ 2016 class. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed hitter will be a middle-of-the-lineup threat for O’Fallon as he was last season. As a junior, he tallied nine doubles, 1 homer and 25 RBI while batting .363.

OUTLOOK
Coach Jason Portz welcomes back five starters from last year’s club that lost a 4-3 heartbreaker in the Class 4A supersectionals to eventual state-champion Providence. The strength of the team rests in its offense and up-the-middle defense. Portz said defensively the Panthers will “be as good as we have ever been up the middle” with senior SS Cam Bauer, an Alabama recruit, sophomore 2B Jared Dalonzo, senior CF Dillon Weiss and junior C Chase Hackstadt.  Bauer is one of the top defensive shortstops in the state, and Weiss brings excellent speed at the leadoff spot. Last year he batted .395 with 45 hits and 20 stolen bases. Senior 1B Bradley Snyder returns to the middle of the lineup for the third straight year, along with junior 3B Connor Breyer. The team’s success, however, ultimately hinges on OF/LHP Bradley Harrison, a top-level two-way threat who earned first-team All-State honors. Not only is Harrison the team’s best hitter, he is the only pitcher with significant experience returning to the mound. The graduation of RHP Chris Holba, a PBR second-team All-State selection, will definitely hurt. Portz will need the likes of junior left-hander Cody Crowde and sophomore RHP Logan Boente, to emerge on the mound. Bauer, who possesses a plus arm across the infield, should also see innings on the mound.

BOTTOM LINE
O’Fallon is a perennial Top 25 team, and with its offense and rock-solid defense, the Panthers should once again be good for 28-plus wins. But their lack of pitching depth after Harrison is a big question mark, which may hurt their postseason success in the St. Louis-metro area against conference rival Edwardsville.

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

SEASON COUNTDOWN

Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown Previews 

Updated Illinois 2016 Rankings

+ Complete Illinois High School Schedules