Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 20 Minooka

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:

Joey Butler
         INF/RHP Joey Butler

Team: Minooka
Preseason Rank: 20
2015 Record: 23-14
Conference: Southwest Suburban Prairie
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Jeff Petrovic
Playoff Run: Lost in Sectional Final
2015 Final Rank: Not Ranked

Returning Starters:
Returning Pitchers: 3

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Joey Butler, RHP/INF, 2016 (Illinois State)
Brad VanAsdlen, RHP, 2016
Hayden Laczynski, SS, 2018
Tyler Talbot, LHP, 2017
Brandon Rossiter, OF/INF/P, 2016
Jonny Butler, OF, 2017
Cherokee LeBeau, INF, 2018
Luke Faifer, C, 2018

Joey Butler.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Butler is a high-level athlete, one who continues to improve every year. A two-way standout, he will be counted on to not only power the offense, but he will likely serve as the team’s frontline ace.

Cherokee LeBeau
. The 6-foot, 182-pound sophomore infielder transferred to Minooka before the year and should make an impact in the lineup.

INF Cristian Sanchez (Georgetown)
RHP/1B Tyler Paulsen (Illinois State)
C Cole Thompson (Aurora)

On paper, this isn’t one of Minooka’s strongest teams. Nevertheless, coach Jeff Petrovic always has the Indians in the Top 25 mix over the last decade. By no means, though, are the Indians short on talent. They have three solid arms, should play rock-solid, fundamental defense and they feature excellent team speed. Two-way standout Joey Butler leads the way, both on the mound and at the plate. Behind Butler, look for RHP Brad VanAsdlen and LHP Tyler Talbot to provide consistent solid outings.  Minooka will be somewhat young. Sophomore left-handed hitting SS Hayden Laczynski returns after starting as a freshman last spring. Laczynski is one of the top-ranked 2018 prospects in the state. Sophomore INF Cherokee LeBeau should also see significant time on the infield. Senior Brandon Rossiter and junior left-handed hitting Jonny Butler – Joey’s brother – return in the outfield. Over the years, Minooka has rolled out high-level shutdown arms, such as former first-rounder Mike Foltynewicz, Tony Bucciferro and Mitch Vogrin, to name a few. While the Indians should have plenty of pitching options, they lack that dominant No. 1 to compete against an extremely tough schedule they play every year.

Minooka is always good for 20-plus wins every year and are in the mix to win the Southwest Suburban Prairie championship. This year, Minooka will play the role of underdog against defending champion Plainfield North and up-and-coming Plainfield South. But come playoff time, Petrovic’s teams always seem to find a way to survive and advance, no matter how much talent they have.

Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown Previews