Power 25 Team Previews: No. 21-25

By Thad Satre
Prep Baseball Report, Indiana 

No. 21, Norwell HS

Coach Andy McClain led the Norwell Knights in 2012 to a 19-11 overall record, but finished just 2-5 in the Northeast Hoosier Conference.  Coach McClain and his No. 21 Knights have high expectations in 2013 with eight returning starters and five returning pitchers.

Josh Van Meter Leading the way for the Knights is senior SS Josh VanMeter (left). VanMeter is a 5-foot-11, 170 pound Illinois State signee and is currently the No. 7 ranked prospect in  Indiana’s 2013 class and No. 24 in the overall 2014 PBR rankings. 

Arkansas commit, Jonah Patten (right), a 6-foot-3, 195 pound junior RHP will lead the KnightsJonah Patten on the mound in 2013.  Patten was a member of Team Indiana at the 2012 Under Armour Midwest Future Games.  The righty sits 88-92 mph on the mound and is the No. 1 overall 2014 prospect in Indiana and the No. 4 overall prospect in 2014 in all of the PBR States.

Norwell is expected to make a strong run not only in conference but in the state tournament as well.  The Knights will compete with Fort Wayne Carroll and Homestead for the 2013 Northeast Hoosier Conference title.  

No. 22, Penn HS

Coach Greg Dikos will once again lead the Penn Kingsmen in 2013.  The Kingsmen finished the 2012 season with an impressive 22-11 overall record and a Sectional Championship.  Penn lost a tough game to eventual 4A state champion Lake Central 3-1 in the Regional Championship game.  The Kingsmen graduated eight seniors.                                                                                                                                
Chad WhitmerTop returning players in 2013 include 3B/RHP Chad Whitmer (left), a Southern Illinois commit.  Whitmer will be atop the rotation this season.  He sits anywhere from 84-89 mph with his fastball, and throws three pitches for a strike. Cameron Glaze and Landon Stratford will be looked to help anchor the staff. Glaze had a 2 ERA in 35 innings, while Stratford threw 36+ innings with a 2.29ERA. Steven Smallwood will help replace some of the offense lost from the 2012 squad, Smallwood hit .379 with 6 doubles. Whitmer will also be a key in the middle of the order for Penn HS. Whitmer hit .386 with 6 doubles. 
Connor Kuiper
Other players expected to return are Chris Como, Collin Trowbridge, and Patrick Dorgan. New comers hoping to make an impact include juniors Andrew Herman, Cole Harlacher, Kordell Green and Connor Kuiper (right). Green is a 6-foot-4 RHP who was 80-84 mph at the Preseason All State Showcase. Kuiper is one of the more impressive outfielders in the 2014 class and is currently ranked No. 30 in Indiana's 2014 class. 

No. 23, Evansville North 

Expectations are high in 2013 as Evansville North returns all eight starters and four pitchers from the 2012 Southern Indiana Athletic Conference (SIAC) championship team. Coach Dan Sparrow guided the Huskies to an 18-9 record overall and an 11-3 conference mark. 

The Huskies are led by a group of talented seniors. Outfielder Lukas Scarlett, No. 46 in 2013, and right-Devin Williamshanded pitcher Devin Williams (left) were both All-State Honorable Mention and All- SIAC selections. Williams and fellow teammate Ryan Dills (OF/UTL) have signed to play for Olney Central College. Williams is the top returning pitcher for the Huskies after going 9-2 with a 2.33 ERA last season. Dills went 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA and also hit .364 during an injury plagued 2012. Scarlett led the Huskies with a .400 average and 43 RBI’s. 

Other senior starters who will make an impact in 2013 are third baseman Curran Davis, outfielder Heath Spindler, and catcher Max Mooney. A trio of youngsters who complete the lineup for Coach Sparrow are junior Ryan Gulledge (RHP) and sophomores Chase Whitler (SS) and Jayden Beshears (C). 

Evansville North will compete against SIAC foes Castle, Mater Dei, and Memorial as Coach Sparrow as the Huskies look to repeat as SIAC champions. 

No. 24, Seymour HS

Seymour High School Head Coach Jeremy Richey and his No. 24 ranked Seymour Owls squad are coming off an impressive 2012 campaign in which they went 21-5 overall and a 2nd place finish in the Hoosier Hills conference tournament.  The Owls return five starters and four pitchers in 2013 and once again have high expectations. 

Zack Brown Leading the way for the Owls is RHP/SS Zack Brown, a University of Kentucky signee.  Brown is the No. 5 prospect in the class of 2013 in Indiana and the No. 17 overall  prospect in the 2013 class in all of the PBR states.  On the mound Brown sits 88-92  mph.

 Other players expected to contribute include; Tanner Belcher (CF, 2013), Gabe Jordan  (OF/3B, 2013), Billy Rayburn (RHP, 2013), Holden Fleetwood (2B) and Jeremiah Tracey  (1B).

Rayburn went 5-1 on the mound last season, posting a 1.12 ERA.  Freshman Janzen Bloom may get some innings as the year goes on.  Bloom is a 6-foot-2, 225 pound RHP that was 83-85 mph at the Preseason All State Showcase this past February.  

No. 25, Hobart HS

Coach Bob Glover Jr. and the No. 25 Hobart Brickies finished the 2012 season with an impressive 22-8 overall record, and were 8-4 in the Northwest Crossroads Conference.  Hobart returns five starters and their top two pitchers.

Catcher Nick Bokun, Travis Waddell (2B), Tyrus Joseforsky (SS), and Drey Devereaux (CF) will all start for the Brickies.  Players expected to make immediate contributions include, Guy Birchel, Daniel Stewart (Trine University Commit), Jake Murchek, and Donny Parlock.

On the mound junior Brandon Murray (right), a 6-foot-3 RHP and South Carolina commit, will be a top ofBrandon Murray the rotation.  Murray sits 86-92 mph and is ranked No. 2 in the 2014 class in Indiana, and No. 14 overall in the PBR states.  Murray went 6-4 on the mound in 2012, compiling 105 strikeouts.

Senior C.J. Komosa will also be a key contributor in the rotation.  The Kankakee C.C. commit went 6-0 in 12 appearances last season with a 1.83 ERA and 43 strikeouts.    

Braden NiksichFreshman Braden Niksich (left) will pitch varsity right out of the gate. The 6-foot,150 pound RHP shows tons of projectability as a freshman.  At a PBR event this winter, Niksich sat 79-81 mph with his fastball and showed an advanced breaking ball for his age.