Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 21 St. Rita

By: Tyler Defibaugh
Area Scout & Content

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 11, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2024 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down through the official Prep Baseball Illinois Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a preseason questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2024 preseason coverage continues today.

High School: St. Rita Mustangs
Preseason Rank: No. 21
Head Coach: John Nee
Classification: 3A
Conference: CCL Blue
2023 Record (Finish): 27-11 (Lost sectional final to Brother Rice 6-3)
Key Players Lost: Tommy Atkinson (Heartland CC)



No. of Returning Positional Starters: Four
No. of Returning Pitchers: Four
Team Strengths: Pitching depth and hitting.

Sir Jamison Jones IL 2024 C Oklahoma State
Baker Shelhamer IL 2024 1B/OF Maryville
Chris McGrath IL 2024 RHP Rock Valley JC
Louie Sisto IL 2024 RHP/OF South Suburban JC
Jackson Stanek IL 2024 1B/UTL Southwestern Illinois JC
Liam Syring IL 2024 RHP -
Christian Guerrero IL 2024 MIF Augustana
MJ McKinney IL 2024 MIF John Carroll
Patrick Smith IL 2024 OF Illinois Wesleyan
Anthony Sarro IL 2024 OF -
Tony Cantelo IL 2024 RHP -
Peyton Panozzo IL 2025 MIF/RHP -
Sebastian Reyes IL 2025 MIF/RHP -
Colin Quinn IL 2026 UTL/RHP -


C Sir Jamison Jones (2024; Oklahoma State commit) is one of the more well-known names in the state and will be playing a premium position for the Mustangs in 2024, leading the team from behind the dish. Jones is currently ranked as the No. 13 player in the state, and the No. 401 player in the class nationally. A potential name to watch come MLB Draft time in July, Jones was a recent participant at the Prep Baseball Super 60, an event that hosts some of the best high school draft prospects in the country: “SUPER 60: Oklahoma State commit, has long been one of the top catchers in the class. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound, physical, broad-shouldered, durable right-handed hitter has long swung a potent middle-of-an-order type of bat and continued to do so at the Super 60. Jones has a physical presence in the box with all kinds of bat strength and a direct swing with power to both gaps. Throughout his two rounds it looked like he made a conscious effort to use the middle of the field and hit the ball where it was pitched. It's a heavy, loud barrel that averaged 92.5 mph off the bat, peaking at 99.7 mph with a max batted ball distance of 360’. Defensively his arm has made huge strides since the beginning of his high school career, now topping at 84 mph from the crouch with a loose arm stroke and occasional carry to the throws. Defensively, he has loose wrists with soft hands at times and has a chance to stick behind the plate moving forward. One of the more physically intriguing prospects in the class.

(Sir Jamison Jones)


Another backstop coming up through the program likely to make an impact this season is C/UTL Colin Quinn (2026). Quinn is a versatile player that we got to see a couple times at the beginning of this past summer. We first saw him at the Top Tier Scout Day where he posted one of the quicker pop time ranges at 2.03-2.19 from behind the plate. Later in the month of June, Quinn performed well at one of our Rock Tournaments: “[Quinn] impressed both in the field and at the plate today. The R/R OF has a balanced setup with a leg-lift trigger. Hands stay through the zone to control the barrel to all fields. In the outfield, he flashed smooth actions and efficient routes.

With his positional versatility, Quinn could factor in numerous spots for the Mustangs, potentially filling a super-utility role for the team. Currently projected to begin the season on the infield for the Mustangs, Quinn could fill in behind the dish to give Sir Jamison Jones a break, or see time in the outfield as well.

(Colin Quinn)


St. Rita will now be a member of the 3A class entering 2024 after winning 27 games at the 4A level in 2023 and losing to the eventual state runner-up. The Mustangs will be led by St. Rita alum, Coach John Nee, who is entering his 7th year as head coach of the program. This spring the Mustangs bring back the majority of their 2023 roster, as well as welcoming in some younger players to the varsity fold.

The lineup is going to be an experienced one that should hit for power led by the aforementioned Sir Jamison Jones, as well as 1B/OF Baker Shelhamer (2024; Maryville commit).

Shelhamer is currently ranked No. 116 in the state and has consistently showcased his power in front of our staff, posting a max EV of 101.6 mph as recently as this past August at the State Games.

A couple other seniors on the infield return as well in 2B MJ McKinney (2024; John Carroll commit) and 1B/UTL Jackson Stanek (2024; Southwestern Illinois JC commit), who both should provide senior stability in the lineup. In the outfield, the Mustangs will be a senior-led group as well, headlined by OF Anthony Sarro (2024; uncommitted).

Sarro is currently ranked No. 231 in the state and impressed at our Illinois State Games this past summer where he showed the ability to be on the barrel consistently from the left side.

Joining Sarro in the outfield is expected to be a couple more seniors in RHP/OF Louie Sisto (2024; South Suburban JC commit) and OF Patrick Smith (2024; Illinois Wesleyan commit).

The lone junior expected to be in the lineup come opening day for the Mustangs will be their shortstop Peyton Panozzo (2025), who is also expected to be a starter on the mound for St. Rita as well. Panozzo is a switch-hitter and smooth defender up the middle, and is currently ranked No. 123 in the state.

Some underclassmen to watch to potentially crack the lineup for St. Rita this spring outside of the previously mentioned Quinn are INF/RHP Gavin Wilczewski (2026) and CIF Sullivan Kazee (2026).

(Baker Shelhamer)

On the pitching side of things, the rotation will be headlined by the aforementioned Sisto, but will also feature RHP Chris McGrath (2024; Rock Valley JC commit). When we last saw both of them, they were running their fastballs in the low-to-mid 80’s from the right side, and both could be in line for velo jumps when we see them this spring.

Junior RHP’s Sebastian Reyes and the previously mentioned Panozzo are also expected to fill out the rotation this spring. RHP Liam Syring (2024; uncommitted) and C/UTL Colin Quinn (2026) are expected to be the main bullpen pieces for the Mustangs entering the spring.

(Chris McGrath)

Bottom Line

Overall, this will be an experienced and talented group that brings back the majority of their 2023 roster that won 27 games. Their lineup will be able to hit for average and power, and their pitching depth should be a strength as well. Participating among the state’s 3A competition now, look for St. Rita to be a tough out come playoff time in 2024.

Find more information on the 2024 St. Rita program below:

+ Follow them on X: @StRitaBaseball

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