Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 25 St. Joseph-Ogden



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:

Dalton Parker
            RHP Dalton Parker

Team: St. Joseph-Ogden
Preseason Rank: 25
2015 Record: 33-6
Conference: Okaw Valley
IHSA Class: 2A
Head Coach: Josh Haley
Playoff Run: Lost in 2A Supersectional
2015 Final Rank: Not Ranked

Returning Starters:  6
Returning Pitchers:  4

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Dalton Parker, RHP/3B, 2016 (Purdue)
Kohlton Johnson, SS, 2016 (Illinois-Springfield)
Ty Brown, OF, 2016
Aaron Schluter, 1B, 2016
Colton Carr, RHP/OF, 2016 (Kankakee CC)
Mason Coon, LHP/OF, 2017
Eli Oltean, C, 2016
Colton Hale, RHP/INF, 2017 

X-FACTOR
Dalton Parker. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Purdue recruit provides the Spartans the frontline shutdown ace they will need in the big games. Parker, who’s arguably the top pitcher in Class 2A, pitches in the 88-90 mph range with solid secondary stuff. 

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Jason Bowman. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound sophomore right-hander has the stuff to get some quality innings this spring.

KEY PLAYER LOST
RHP Cole Berry (Eastern Illinois)

STAT RAT
Unsigned senior OF Ty Brown, the team’s leadoff hitter, tallied a team-high 54 hits with 23 stolen bases as a junior last spring.

OUTLOOK
With six starters and four pitchers back from last year’s 33-win club that fell in the supersectionals, the Spartans should be the team to beat in Class 2A this spring. Coach Josh Haley’s program has been on quite a roll the last four years, but SJO hasn’t quite gotten over the hump. The reason why the Champaign-area school has won so many games: pitching. From Hunter Hart (now at Arkansas), to Cole Berry (Eastern Illinois) and now Dalton Parker (Purdue), the Spartans have rolled out high-end arms, year after year, regardless of class. As a junior, Parker posted a 10-0 record with a 0.31 ERA. While Parker provides the staff a true No. 1, the Spartans have mound depth with RHP Colton Carr and junior LHP/OF Mason Coon. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Coon is a legitimate two-way talent who should garner Division 1 interest. Offensively, Haley welcomes back four of his top five hitters, not to mention his entire infield. SS Kohlton Johnson anchors the infield, while speedy OF Ty Brown is back as the team’s lead-off hitter. 1B Aaron Schluter is coming off a strong junior campaign in which he tallied 14 doubles and 27 RBI.

BOTTOM LINE
The Spartans have the horses to get over the hump and make it to the Class 2A state semifinals. And if the stars align, they could be the last team standing in 2A.