Prep Baseball Report

PBR Kentucky/KHSBCA Preseason Power 25: A Look at the Teams Ranked No. 11-15

Chris Fuller
Kentucky Executive Director

With Opening Day slated for Monday, March 14, the 2022 high school baseball season is upon us, and that means it’s time to release the PBR Kentucky/Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Preseason Power 25.

After hours of combing through returning players and impactful newcomers, we will release the Preseason Power 25 with an in-depth look at five teams at a time. Today, we release the teams ranked No. 11-15.

CLICK HERE to view the teams ranked No. 16-20

CLICK HERE to view the teams ranked No. 21-25

The Power 25 will be updated weekly throughout the season.

11. Paintsville

Outlook: With the exception of one player, the Tigers return their entire starting lineup and all of their arms from last year’s 27-11 squad who lost in the 15th region semifinals. The pitching staff will be led by a pair of Division I arms in 2023 RHP Connor Fugate (Kentucky) and 2022 RHP Zach Taylor (Morehead State) who posted 1.51 and 1.28 ERA’s respectively last spring. Throw in 2023 RHP Ashton Miller who posted his own sub-2 ERA in winning 7 games, and you have a deep and talented pitching staff that should carry Paintsville a long way.

The offense will feature 7 returning players who all hit .300 or better in 2021, and led in the power department by 2022 3B Gunner Collins (Morehead State) who hit .337 with  7 doubles and 6 home runs. Other top offensive returners include 2022 OF Baron Ratliff (Freed-Hardeman) who hit .375 with 6 doubles,  2 triples, and 2 home runs, 2023 IF Jonah Porter who hit .368 with 10 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs, and 2023 OF Ashton Miller who posted a .375 average with 8 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs.

12. Paducah Tilghman

Outlook: Certainly a top-10 team if not for the loss of LHP Justin West (Louisville) to injury, there is still plenty left on the Tilghman roster to get excited about from last year’s 25-4 squad. The Blue Tornado return 3 of their top 4 arms from the 2021 team, led by 2023 RHP Levin East who posted a 4-1 record with 3 saves and a 0.72 ERA last spring. 2023 RHP Caleb Payne returns his 7 wins, and 2024 RHP Jalen Seay is back after posting a 4-0 record and 1.33 ERA as a freshman.

Offensively, 2022 IF Zion LaGrone returns as the Blue Tornado’s leading hitter after posting a .417 average with 4 doubles and a triple last spring. Look for other big offensive contributions from 2023 C Devin Kiebler, 2022 SS Gage Griggs (Austin Peay) who is also a lock down defender up the middle, 2024 C/UTL Gunner Massey, and the aforementioned East and Seay who all hit well above .300 last season.

13. Henry Clay

Outlook: Last spring saw the Blue Devils finish with a 22-15 record and miss the 11th region tournament, but it was a team that improved throughout the season, winning 14 of their final 20 games, and they appear to be primed to make some noise this season. 2022 RHP Cade Schneider (Wabash Valley) will undoubtedly garner some pro interest with a fastball that has topped at 94 mph, but the arms don’t end there.  2023 RHP Joey Howard returns his 4 wins and 3.61 ERA, and will be even more effective if he improves upon walking 25 batters in 31 innings. A pair of 2024 arms in Chardy Tierney and Isaac Rone will be big mound contributors after both providing effective innings as freshman in 2021.

The big question with the Blue Devils will be how much offense they can produce. The top 3 hitters are gone from last season, and that leaves only one returning hitter who posted a better than .300 batting average last spring in Joey Howard who hit .316 with 1 double, 3 triples, and 4 home runs.

14. Bowling Green

Outlook: No team in the state may have more to replace on the mound than the Purples as they lost 31 of their 34 wins on the mound from last season to graduation, but don’t think the cupboard is bare. 2022 RHP/SS Patrick Forbes (Louisville) will play a much more prominent role on the mound this spring with his low-90’s fastball. Another D1 arm in 2022 RHP Dawson Hall (Western Kentucky) has the stuff to be dominant after working only 11.2 innings last year with a 3.60 ERA. 2022 RHP Isaiah Head can be a wildcard for Bowling Green, and keep an eye on freshman lefty Drew Isenberg, one of the top players in the 2025 class.

Forbes returns to lead the offense after hitting .406 last season with 7 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 home runs despite missing 9 games, and he will be complemented by 2023 OF Dillon Maners who posted a .449 average with 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run and 2023 C Dominic Davis who hit .429 in 21 games.

15. Lyon County

Outlook: Fresh off a 30-8 season that culminated in a State Final Four appearance, the Lyons lose 19 of their 30 wins on the mound from last spring but return plenty of offensive firepower from a squad that hit .323 as a team. 2022 RHP/1B Jackson Shoulders (Kentucky Wesleyan) returns his power to the middle of the lineup after posting a .436 batting average with 5 doubles and 12 home runs. 2022 IF Gunnar Bingham (Murray State) hit .359 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, and 7 home runs, 2022 C Brody Williams (Kent State) will also be back in the middle of the Lyons lineup after hitting .358 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, and 10 home runs.

On the mound, Shoulders will look to step up after posting 4 wins in 29.2 innings of work last spring, and look for Bingham to play a more prominent role on the mound as well. 2025 RHP Eli Baker is one of the top arms in the 2025 class and should be primed for a breakout season on the varsity level.