Power 25 Team Previews: No. 2-5

By Thad Satre
Prep Baseball Report, Indiana 

No. 2, Crown Point HS 

The Crown Point Bulldogs return five starters and five pitchers from a highly successful team that was 27-5 in 2012. Led by Head Coach Steve Strayer, the Bulldogs finished behind the 2012 4A state champions Lake Central in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) with an 11-3 record. 

Zach PlesacA talented group of seniors will lead the way this spring including Ball State commit Zach Plesac (left) and brother Ron. Zach Plesac was 8-2 as a junior with a 1.08 ERA and 92 strikeouts. Also the Bulldogs starting shortstop, Zach Plesac hit .298 with 12 doubles, two triples, and four home runs. 

Ron Plesac, a lefty committed to Parkland, will be a valuable member of the rotation and will see time at first base. Ron Plesac is coming back off an arm injury that forced him out of the 2012 season, as a sophomore Ron was up to 85-86.  The other senior starters are Bobby Morgan (C) and Alex Nickla (2B/SS). 

Also returning are juniors Jake Jatis (1B/3B), Jake Jenks (OF/P), and Tyler Downing (OF). SophomoreNoah Burkholder right-hander pitcher Noah Burkholder (right), No. 4 in Indiana’s 2015 class, and No. 14 in the 2015 PBR overall rankings, and fellow sophomore CJ Alexander (P/SS) will also be expected to be impact players in 2013. 

Crown Point possesses one of the best pitching staffs in Indiana which landed them in the No. 2 spot in the state. Offensively, Crown Point will have to produce in order for them to remain atop the polls. The Bulldogs will look to avenge last year’s sectional loss to Valparaiso HS and Evansville commit Devin Bafia to have a chance at winning state. 

No. 3, Jeffersonville HS 

The Jeffersonville Red Devils are eager to make amends for an early postseason exit in 2012. Coach Derek Ellis returns the core of his team including six starters and six pitchers from the 2012 team that finished 19-8 overall and claimed the Hoosier Hills Conference title with a 10-1 record.  

Trent AstleThe Red Devils lineup includes three players who have committed to play Division 1. Senior RHP/1B, Trent Astle (left) has signed with Xavier. Fellow senior Isaac Crafton, a switch hitting catcher, is a Liberty University signee and junior shortstop DrewDrew Ellis Ellis (right) has committed to play for Louisville. 

Also expected to make an impact are senior Nick Gallagher (OF/LHP), and juniors Mark Meyer (RHP/OF), and Chandler Dale (RHP/UTL).  Rounding out the starting lineup is a trio of juniors Josh Burke (3B/2B), Hayden Robb (OF), and Damin Smith (OF). 

Jeffersonville lost the regional final in dramatic fashion to New Palestine. New Palestine’s Jacob Barnes hit a walk off three run home run to propel New Pal to the semi state. Jeffersonville could potentially have the toughest sectional out of the top teams. They will have to defeat two ranked teams in #6 New Albany and #24 Seymour. New Albany and Seymour both have their ace pitchers returning in Josh Rogers and Zack Brown respectively.  

No. 4, Zionsville HS 

Coach Zangrilli and the Zionsville Eagles are loaded once again. The Eagles will look to improve on a remarkable 2012 in which they finished the season 28-6, won the Hoosier Crossroads, and advanced to the semi state before losing to eventual state champions Lake Central in a hard fought game. Zionsville actually led the game 3-1 heading into the seventh before losing 4-3 in 9 innings. Gone from the 2012 team is leading hitter and Ohio State freshman Troy Kuhn, No. 2 pitcher Mic Richey, Butler freshman Drew Small, USI freshman Ryan Bertram, Wabash Valley freshman Nick Barrientos, and Bellarmine freshman Joel Trewartha. This is a lot of offensive power that the Eagles will have to make up for. 

Parker DunsheeCoach Zangrilli will count on two seniors heavily.  Wake Forest commit, Parker Dunshee (left), returns as the No. 1 pitcher for the Eagles and should also bat clean up. The other senior will be hard hitting 1B and Dayton commit, Cameron Richey. Also, returning is the No. 10 ranked player in Indiana’s 2014 class, Ben Kocher (right),Ben Kocher who will fight for the No. 2 pitching spot and hit in the middle of the Eagles order. Other returning starters include juniors Travis Tokerek and Evan Miiller. 

One newcomer that should impact the lineup and give depth on the mound is the No. 9 ranked player in Indiana’s 2015 class, Grant Sloan. 

Zionsville will have to compete with a very good McCutcheon team to defend their HCC title and then get through a much improved sectional. North Central returns a strong senior class including two division 1 commits. Carmel should be much improved under new coach Dan Roman, while Noblesville, Westfield, HSE, and Fishers all return very good players. 

No. 5, McCutcheon HS 

The McCutcheon Mavericks enter the 2013 season with high expectations. Head Coach Jake Burton returns four starters and three pitchers from last year’s club that finished an impressive 24-8 overall and finished 13-5 in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference. The Mavericks look to build on their 2012 sectional championship. The Hoosier Crossroads will be a great test for the very good Mavericks, as it is year in and year out one of the deepest conferences in the state. 

Hank GrayCoach Burton will count on a trio of experienced seniors to lead his squad including Justin Curry (P/3B), Hank Gray (left,P/1B), and Austin Kiracofe (P/OF). The talented class of juniors includes Jordan Young (right,P/1B), Myles Hann (P/MIF), and LoganJordan Young Sowers (P/OF). Rounding out a deep lineup for McCutcheon are a solid group of sophomores including Mason Bruce (P/C), Dylan Kiracofe (C/OF), and Braden Giroux (P/OF). 

There is no glaring weakness in the Mavericks lineup which may be their greatest strength. Justin Curry, Hank Gray, and Jordan Young will form one of the deepest staffs in the state.  Though the lineup will have to replace a couple key hitters from last year’s team, they have the talent to do so. Look for the juniors; Young, Sowers, and Hann to have break out seasons.  The Mavericks only real potential weakness could be behind the plate. They will need someone to step up and fill Cody Strong’s shoes in order to advance further into the state tournament.