Prep Baseball Report

Preseason High School Preview: Francis Howell Central

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

The Missouri high school baseball season is set to kick off shortly, with ‘Opening Day’ set for March 17th. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications.

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 2023 preseason coverage continues today. 

Team: Francis Howell Central
2022 Record: 23-14
Conference: GAC South
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Nick Beckmann


LHP Lane Harris (Charleston -West Virginia commit)
Harris is one of the more talented arms in the St. Louis’ area, but he spent a large chunk of last season sidelined with an injury. Still, Harris is expected to return for his senior season and he’s absolutely capable of being a dynamic piece for Howell Central’s pitching staff this spring. When healthy, Harris offers a mid-to-high-80s fastball from the left side and routinely rips off a true swing-and-miss breaking ball we’ve seen climb near the 2900 RPM range. Adding Harris to an experienced staff that returns a solid chunk of last season’s innings will certainly play into Howell Central’s favor as they aim for a trip to Ozark in June.


49 - The amount of hits that senior backstop C/OF Aidan Hernandez (2023) had last season, which set the all-time single season record at Howell Central. Hernandez earned all-conference and all-state honors last season, batting .434/.515/.575 with 34 RBIs, 24 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases. He’s an advanced defender behind the plate and is this team’s captain, making him all that much more of an important piece to what Howell Central will look to accomplish this spring.


Howell Central finished fourth in the GAC South last season, earning the second overall seed in their district bracket. They took down Ritenour early on, squeaked out a win over Hazelwood West, and blanked SLUH in a 1-0 finale to punch their ticket to the state playoffs. They finished last season with 24 wins, their highest mark since 2015, and expectations are higher with several key pieces from that team returning.

Aside from the aforementioned Harris and Hernandez, Howell Central supplements that duo with an array of formidable talent. INF Wyatt Miller (2023) returns as a physical middle-of-the-order type threat that batted .348/.464/.587 with four home runs and 23 RBIs last season. INF Caleb Cheatham (2023) can really defend on the infield and took strides offensively in 2022, finishing the season with a .321 batting average while also reaching base at a .472 clip. OF Ethan Callison (2025) is an athletic sophomore with speed that’ll look to make a name for himself on varsity this upcoming season, too.

Wyatt Miller

On the mound, Howell Central brings back several arms that saw time last season, starting with LHP Brayden Rubel (2023; Maryville). Rubel’s competitiveness and pitchability is noteworthy, and he carved out a niche role for himself as this team’s top arm this past spring. Rubel tossed 45 ⅔  innings across nine starts, punching out 53 batters and pitching to a 3.07 ERA in the process. Penciling his name, as well as Harris’, at the top of this rotation makes Howell Central’s staff even more formidable than before.

Brayden Rubel

There’s a few more arms to note on this roster. LHP Benjamin Henthorn (2024) pounds the zone with three pitches and threw 40 ⅓ innings as a sophomore last year, posting a 2.78 ERA in the process. RHP Landon Cann (2023) punched out 30 batters over 24 ⅔ innings, while the aforementioned Cheatham should see time on the mound as well.


Howell Central’s eager to build off the success they had last season and they’re bringing back a stable group of contributors who are capable of making that happen. With two legitimate arms atop their rotation, a few senior bats returning, and valuable defensive assets, Howell Central’s certainly a threat to make noise in the GAC South and beyond.

Follow along @PBRMissouri for complete coverage of the 2023 high school season.