Prep Baseball Report

Weekly Diamond Notes

By Andy Sroka & Drew Locascio
Illinois Staff

In our fourth edition of the season’s Weekly Diamond Notes, a collection of submissions for the PBR Illinois Player of the Week honor, we have 10 prospects who fell just short of the POTW award. Ultimately, we crowned Nathan Hardman (Saint Louis commit), from Normal U-High, with our latest honor for going 9-for-12 last week with 13 RBIs.

There were a number of impressive performances that were in the mix for the award and deserve recognition. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.


+ Connor Aten, RHP/OF, Galesburg, 2020
Bradley commit. For the second week in a row Aten threw a complete-game, one hit shutout. The previous gem was against United Township, where he struck out 14. The most recent performance was in a 6-0 win over Quincy. Aten went all seven innings, threw 104 pitches, faced 24 hitters, allowed one hit, one walk and struck out 12. He also went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. In the first game of the double header that day, Aten went 3-for-4 with a homerun, three runs scored and two RBIs.

Angelo Cantelo, C, Marian Catholic, 2019
Cantelo is a top-15-ranked backstop in the state’s senior class and he starred for the Spartans during their trip to Nevada for the inaugural ACC Tournament in Las Vegas. In four games out west, Cantelo went 10-for-15 at the plate with four doubles and drove in four runs from the lead-off spot. He also was his usual, dependable self from behind the plate and threw out a pair of baserunners from behind the dish.

+ Nolan Clifford, 2B/SS/RHP, 2020, Matt Hill, OF, 2019, & Casey Pickering, RHP, 2019  (Neuqua Valley)
Winners of eight in a row, Neuqua Valley is getting big performances from more than just one of its starters. Last week, Matt Hill and Nolan Clifford helped the Wildcats go 4-0 last in four dominant performances over neighborhood rivals – one win over Waubonsie Valley and a three-game sweep of Naperville North. Hill went 8-for-10 at the plate with a double, a homer, and drove in four runs, scoring five times himself. As for the Creighton commit Clifford, he tallied five clutch hits and drove in four runs of his own and touched home four times, too. Clifford also notched a save, striking out three in just 11 pitches.

As for Pickering, he earned the win in Neuqua’s third game against Naperville North, tossing six scoreless innings, punching out three along the way.

+ Noah DeLuga, LHP, Lake Zurich, 2020
Minnesota commit, currently ranked No. 14 in Illinois. Last Tuesday, DeLuga started on the mound against rival Stevenson. DeLuga answered in a big way, throwing a complete-game, seven-inning shutout and Lake Zurich went on to win 7-0. In the seven innings, DeLuga threw 103 pitches, 71% of them for strikes, scattered five hits, struck out eight and walked two.

+ Timmy Ellinger, CIF, Harlem, 2019
Ellinger was featured in last week’s Diamond Notes thanks to an impressive 9-for-11 week, two-weeks prior. This past week, Ellinger was at it again. The senior Highland CC commit went 10-for-13 with two doubles, eight RBI’s, five runs and three walks. One his hits was a game-winner against Freeport in the eighth inning. In the previous two weeks, Ellinger is 19-for-24 with six doubles, a home run, 16 RBI’s, 10 runs scored and five walks.

+ Zach Lee, RHP, Effingham, 2019
In his start against Lincoln last week, Zach Lee tossed a no-hitter for the Flaming Hearts. The Kentucky commit and one of the top prospects in Illinois’ senior class dominated the Railsplitters, preventing them from notching a single hit, walked three, and struck out 13 in just 98 pitches.

+ Matthew McAleer, CIF/RHP, Prospect, 2020
McAleer, an uncommitted junior, did it all for the Knights last week, especially in their 14-2 win over Buffalo Grove on April 17th. McAleer set a new single game record at Prospect HS, hitting three home runs in the game. McAleer finished 3-for-4 with the three homeruns and six RBIs. He also started on the mound that game, going all six innings, striking out six and scattering three hits. On the week, McAleer went 6-for-11 (.545) and on the season he is hitting .356. He also has a season ERA of 1.70.

+ Coby Moe, RHP/INF, Grayslake Central, 2019
The Northwestern commit, currently ranked No. 67 in Illinois’ 2019 class, led the Rams to a win over Mundelein, 5-1. The big righty allowed just one run in the start on three hits and he struck out 10 batters in his second consecutive outing – he K’d 10 against Lakes last week. He also tallied three singles against the Mustangs and is hitting .540 this spring.