Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 15 Nazareth

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:

Brandon Bossard
        SS/RHP Brandon Bossard

Team: Nazareth Academy
Preseason Rank:
2015 Record:
East Suburban Catholic
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
Lee Milano
Playoff Run: 2nd place in 3A
2015 Final Rank: 9
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers:

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Brandon Bossard, MIF/RHP, 2016 (Heartland CC)
Shane Gipson, C, 2016
Kyle Kane, 1B/P, 2016 (Lewis)
Carson Bartels, MIF, 2016 (Heartland CC)  
Rich Kiernicki, INF/RHP, 2016 (Triton JC)
Chris Campagna, RHP, 2016
Joe Muscolino, OF, 2016
Will McKenna, C/OF, 2016 (New York University)
Dominic Carmignani, 3B, 2016 (Harper JC)
John Zalewski, RHP, 2016 - (IIT)

Brandon Bossard. The 6-foot, 185-pounder is a three-year varsity starter who will anchor the defense at shortstop and hit in the middle of the lineup. As a junior, Bossard batted .402 with a .472 on-base percentage. While extremely valuable at shortstop, the Heartland CC recruit is also solid on the mound, with a mid-to-upper-80s fastball and sharp breaking ball.

Derek Salata. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore right-hander features a strong arm and may see some innings on the mound for the Roadrunners.

OF Ryan Kramer (Carthage)
RHP Mike Kogut (John A. Logan JC)
LHP Donald Kelly

Last spring the Roadrunners collectively hit .358 as a team with a .438 on-base percentage.

Nazareth jumps up to Class 4A this spring for the first time after coach Lee Milano had led the LaGrange Park school to three Class 3A state trophies in five years. Last season, the Roadrunners came painfully close to winning their first state title, falling to Highland, 7-6, in a thrilling back-and-forth championship game. Nazareth competes in the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference (finished second last spring), so playing 4A programs won’t slow down their win total; only their road to Joliet will be made more difficult. Milano welcomes back six starters from last year’s team, including the entire infield. Up the middle Nazareth is especially strong with the return of seniors SS Brandon Bossard, 2B/RHP Carson Bartels and C Shane Gipson. Gipson, who’s uncommitted, is a top-level defensive catcher and finished with six home runs last spring. Bartels, a Heartland CC recruit, batted .356 last year and posted a 4-3 record on the mound. He was also the starting quarterback on the Roadrunners’ state championship football team. 1B/RHP Kyle Kane, a Lewis recruit, also returns, along with INF Rich Kiernicki, OF Joe Muscolino and INF Dominic Carmignani. On the mound, Milano returns four pitchers who logged significant innings, though he lacks a definitive No. 1. Bartels, Kane, Bossard and RHP Chris Campagna (5-1, 3.10 ERA) head the staff.

Nazareth should still be a mainstay in the top 25 despite moving up to Class 4A. However, its road to Joliet - which in the past has had few obstacles - has been made much more difficult. Especially this season, as the lack of a shutdown ace may propose a problem in the postseason.

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

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