Prep Baseball Report

Weekly Diamond Notes

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

In our third edition of the season’s Weekly Diamond Notes, a collection of submissions for the PBR Illinois Player of the Week honor, we have 12 prospects who fell just short of the POTW award. Ultimately, St. Laurence’s star catcher Matt McCormick (2019; West Virginia commit) was handed the award after clobbering five home runs last week. While there are plenty of other talented bats on the list below, no one was able to match the kind of run production McCormick accounted for last week.

Still, there are plenty of other names who earned some recognition for the weeks they put together. We’ll use this space each week to acknowledge some of the state’s best performers who garnered consideration for the title. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.


+ Colin Brueggemann, 3B, Freeburg, 2021
Freeburg’s off to a 9-5 start this season and have won four of their last five, thanks in part to the work of Brueggemann at the plate. The sophomore infielder hit .545 last with with a double, three RBIs, and three runs scored. He and his team have a doubleheader on the schedule this weekend, against Greenville and Southwestern, so they’ll try to stay hot on Saturday.

+ Kevin Butler, C, 2020 & Mitch Rokosz, INF, 2020 (Neuqua Valley)
This year’s Neuqua Wildcats look a lot different than last year’s, but the results look the same. It’s the same ol’ Neuqua Valley, churning out big wins over talented opponents, including two last week over PBR Power 25 programs (Homewood-Flossmoor and Plainfield North). Two juniors were integral to last week’s success: Butler and Rokosz. The catcher was 4-for-6 last week with a pair of doubles which helped him score three times and drive in three Wildcats. For Rokosz, he went 4-for-7 and also accounted for a clutch three-run homer against Flossmoor.

+ Ernie Day, RHP, Taft, 2020
Since hitting the open market again, Day is among the state’s top ranked righties without a commitment. He showed precisely what he’s capable of in his two appearances last week against Whitney Young and Von Steuben. Against the Dolphins, he tossed a complete game shutout, limiting Whitney Young to two hits and he struck out 13. Against Von Steuben, all nine of his outs recorded were via the strikeout in his three innings of hitless work.

+ Adam Dowler, LHP, 2021 & Jacob Ferry, OF, 2020 (Oswego East)
The Wolves are off to a solid start this 2019 season, while Ferry and Dowler have been at the center of the action. Ferry, an uncommitted junior outfielder, went 4-for-5 last week and slugged a pair of homers, including a grand slam, which helped him drive in eight runs in two games. Dowler, a Purdue commit and one of the top ranked pitchers in the state’s 2021 class, struck out seven batters in three innings of work without allowing a run. He also added six RBIs by hitting a double and home run from the batter’s box, too.

+ Evan Gray, RHP, Belleville East, 2019
Gray and Belleville East earned a big conference win over Collinsville last week with the Arkansas commit on the bump. In five innings of work, he kept Collinsville off the scoreboard by striking out eight batters, pitching around five walks. He also carried his weight at the plate, with four hits, seven RBIs, and a home run.

+ Colin Janes, OF, Evergreen Park, 2020
In three games for the Evergreen Park Mustangs last week, Janes hit .625 and drove in five runs for his team, courtesy of a double and a home run. He also scored five runs himself. Janes’ big week led to a staggering OPS of 1.752.

+Casey Kmet, C/INF, St. Viator, 2019
One of the bigger surprises this spring has been the start the Viator Lions have gotten off to. They lost a little from last year’s successful spring season, but we knew they’d still be competitive – but they’ve been white hot all year. Their versatile senior Kmet has been a lead for this squad and was certainly a top contender for this week’s Player of the Week honor. He slugged three homers last week and drove in five runs, scoring six times himself. Kmet was also patient, too, and was rewarded for it. He walked seven times, including a pair of intentional passes, making him among the most productive hitters in the state over the last week-plus.

+ Jake Kmiecik, SS/RHP, 2019 & Cade Sullivan, 3B, 2020 (Metea Valley)
In five games last week, Kmiecik lifted Metea Valley to four wins, keeping the Mustangs a perfect 12-0 this season. The Heartland CC commit was 9-for-15 last week and did a little bit of everything. He doubled three times, hit a triple and homer, drove in eight runs, and stole four bases. He also made two appearances on the mound and earned saves in both outings, striking out three batters in four innings. Metea’s do-it-all senior is crucial to the team’s success so far in 2019. As for Sullivan, his bat has also been among the most valuable on the team, too. Last week he also added nine hits, and two of them were home runs. He drove in nine runs total and made a start, striking out eight in four frames limiting the opponent to just one earned run.

+ Dawson Smith, RHP, Teutopolis, 2019
The Wooden Shoes were a perfect 5-0 last week and Smith was a critical component of the team’s spotless mark. At the plate, he was 9-for-15 and drove in five runs, scoring seven times himself. He was also terrific on the mound, where he’s the better prospect to begin with. Against Effingham, he pitched 5.2 innings and allowed just one run (unearned) on two hits, two walks, and he struck out eight.On the spring, he has a 0.72 ERA and is hitting .415.