Prep Baseball Report

Midwest Select Preview: Indiana Teams

Phil Wade and Nathan Rode

On April 13-14 at Grand Park in Westfield, IN, the inaugural PBR Midwest Select tournament will be played with teams representing Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The event aims to highlight the talent in the Midwest and the great competition and atmosphere high school baseball creates.

Each team will play two or three games in a round-robin format. Completing our preview of the participating teams, we have a look at those from Indiana. We previously highlighted the teams from Michigan and Ohio and Illinois.

Cathedral HS, IN
Perennial power Cathedral finished the 2017 season at 29-0, winning the Class 4A State Championship—Indiana’s largest class. The Irish graduated several key contributors from last year including three of their primary arms in ace Nick Eaton (Indiana). They do, however, return four regular day starters in SS/RHP Jared Poland (Louisville), OF Mack Murphy, OF Seth Link and OF Evan Uhland. Poland, arguably the state’s best pure hitter, returns after hitting .438 with five home runs, six doubles and 29 RBIs. He should also be a large contributor on the mound as he runs the fastball into the low 90s with a good breaking ball. He is ranked No. 4 in Indiana’s Class of 2018 rankings. Murphy was a .403 hitter in 2017 with eight doubles, four triples and 16 RBIs. Link and Uhland, who saw a significant amount of innings last season, are also expected to be large contributors to the Irish offense. The biggest concern heading into this spring for Cathedral is their pitching depth. They’ll rely on Poland, who saw just one inning last season and junior LHP Peyton Schofield, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound southpaw, who threw just five innings last yearbut features a low-to-mid 80s fastball and a power slurve with depth and late bite.

Kokomo HS, IN
The Class 4A Wildkats finished last season at 21-4 and return one of the deepest pitching staffs of any high school team in the country. They’re led by senior RHPs Jack Perkins (Louisville), Bayden Root (Ohio State), Kyle Wade (Purdue) and Nate Hemmerich (Earlham) as well as sophomore RHP Charez Butcher (Mississippi State). Perkins is a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder with a fastball up to 95 and a late breaking 78-81 mph curveball. He finished last season 3-2 with a 1.46 ERA and 63 strikeouts. Perkins is ranked No. 2 in Indiana’s 2018 class. Root, ranked No. 9 in Indiana, is a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder with a fastball into the low 90s and a potential plus breaking ball at 77-78. Root was 5-1 last year with 46 strikeouts. Wade is a physical 6-foot-3, 225-pound with a fastball up to 88 and a sharp slider into the mid-70s. Wade went 5-1 in 2017. Hemmerich saw just over 23 innings as a junior, posting a 2.44 ERA with 22 strikeouts. Butcher, Indiana’s No. 1 prospect in the 2020 class, should see more innings on the mound this season. He’s an athletic 6-foot-3, 195-pounder that consistently runs his fastball into the low 90s. With the pitching seemingly in place, Kokomo will look to improve on the offensive end this season. They’ll rely heavily on Perkins, Wade, Root and 2B Noah Hurlock to produce runs. Perkins was a .375 hitter as a junior with five home runs and 31 RBIs. Root hit .328 with 20 RBIs, while Wade hit .306 with 20 RBIs. Hurlock was second on the team in doubles with seven.

Providence HS, IN
The Pioneers move up to Class 3A this year after continually being one of the top 2A schools in the state. They won the 2A State Championship in 2016 and advanced to the state semifinals last season finishing 28-5. This spring they’re led by senior SS Timmy Borden (Louisville), a strong, athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pounder ranked No. 5 in Indiana’s 2018 class. Borden is one of the most accomplished players in program history. Offensively, he has quick, twitchy hands and consistently finds the barrel. As a junior Borden hit .464 with 15 doubles, seven home runs and 46 RBIs. Junior RHP Joe Wilkinson (Louisville), ranked No. 4 in Indiana’s 2019 rankings, is a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder. He returns to the mound this season after recovering from Tommy John last year. As a freshman, he was running his fastball into the mid-80s. Another junior expected to contribute on the mound is 6-foot-1, 185-pound RHP Christian Graf. Graf threw 43 innings as a sophomore with a 6-1 record and 0.81 ERA. Graf ran his fastball up to 89 at a showcase this winter. Senior 3B Nathan Proctor will be a key offensive asset after hitting .362 last season. Other offensive weapons for the Pioneers are junior OF Kaden Williams (.328, 15 SB) and junior C Adam Uhl (.310, 14 RBIs).

Roncalli HS, IN
The Rebels, who won the 2016 4A state championship, are once again one of the top teams in Class 4A this spring. They return eight position starters and five arms from a team that finished last year 18-10-1, losing to eventual state champion Cathedral in the regional round. They are led by senior OF Nicholas Schnell (Louisville), ranked No. 1 in Indiana. The Louisville recruit hit .471 as junior with 11 doubles, five home runs and 25 RBIs. Other key offensive players for Roncalli this spring are junior OF Tommy Hansen (.396, 6 HR, 47 RBIs), senior MIF Hayden Harper (.319, 2 HR, 6 2B, 16 RBIs), senior MIF Harrison Koppenhofer (.383, 14 RBIs) and senior OF Dylan Williams (.286, 7 RBIs). Senior RHP Colten Panaranto (Michigan State), a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, will lead the Rebels on the mound along with Schnell. Panaranto throws an upper-80s to low-90s fastball, topping out at 94 last fall. Adding to the depth on the mound will be junior LHP Max Lundy and junior RHP Erik Hommel. Behind the dish, the Rebels return junior C Brian Keeney.

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