Missouri Class 5 State Playoffs Preview


By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

The Missouri Class 5 state playoffs begin on Saturday, May 28th, with these eight teams competing for their chance at capturing high school baseball's most coveted prize.

Learn everything about this year's field, including top performers, program history, and standout prospects, below.

FESTUS 

OUTLOOK 

The Tigers repeated as District champs yet again this year, defeating Windsor (Imperial) 5-4 in the championship game to punch their ticket to another state quarterfinals. Festus posted a 25-8 record in the regular season, including an undefeated stretch in the JCAA conference. 

Head coach Jeff Montgomery’s squad received plenty of quality contributions from multiple sources at the plate, headlined by senior 3B Conner McDonald (2022). McDonald slashed .370/.532/.630 in 81 at-bats, driving in 35 runs and tallying 14 extra-base hits that included three home runs. Right next to him on the left side of the infield is sophomore SS Hayden Bates (2024), who enjoyed plenty of success at the varsity level this spring. Bates posted a team-high .379 batting average, picking up 36 hits and scoring 43 runs this spring. He launched three home runs and added eight more extra-base knocks to that mix, doing all of that while walking (20) twice as much as he struck out (10). Captaining this team behind the plate is C Tyler Bizzle (2023), as the 6-foot-2, 150-pound backstop batted .345 with a .481 OBP over 84 at-bats, driving in 27 runs. OF Jackson Gross (2023) had an impressive year, slashing .320/.460/.520 in 100 at-bats, driving in 23 runs on 32 total hits. Next to Gross in the outfield is OF Wyatt Huskey (2023), as the Festus’ junior patrolled center field and led the team with 15 stolen bases. 

The depth on this pitching staff is perhaps the Tigers’ biggest strength, with the southpaw duo of LHP/OF Mason Schirmer (2025; Missouri) and LHP Ian Brown (2023) paving the way for plenty of success. Schirmer pitched up to his acumen as one of the state’s top freshman prospects this spring, striking out 38 batters across 27 innings with a 1.81 ERA. He contributed at the plate as well, batting .304 with 20 RBIs while serving as the team’s everyday left fielder. Brown is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound athlete with an impressive workload, pitching to an 8-2 record on the mound with 66 strikeouts in 47 total innings. RHP Nate Moore (2023) earned the win on the mound in the district championship game and had success all spring long, posting a 6-0 record with a 1.52 ERA and 41 strikeouts over 32 innings. RHP Kaleb Kennedy (2022), RHP Conner Hulsey (2022), and RHP Cole Skaggs (2023) all made important contributions to the mound at various points throughout the spring. 

BOTTOM LINE 

The Tigers enter the state quarterfinals with a nine game winning streak and haven’t shown signs of slowing down recently. Expect this team to compete on a play-to-play basis and consistently play hard with the playoff experience they have on this roster. Festus will square off against Lutheran South in the first round, drawing the winner of Helias Catholic and Willard should they advance. 

LUTHERAN SOUTH 

OUTLOOK 

Winning has been tradition for Lutheran South dating back to 2009, as the Lancers have only had one losing season in that span and also winning 20-plus games eight times. They went 20-9 this spring, defeating Ladue Horton Watkins in the first round of the district tournament before walking off Mehlville to punch their state quarterfinals ticket. 

A trio of first team all-conference selections pace this team at the plate: INF Logan Slinkard (2023), INF/OF Conner Flieg (2023), and Mac Floyd (2024). Floyd had perhaps the most impressive statline of the bunch, slashing .376/.422/.545 over 101 at-bats with a team-high 26 RBIs. Flieg didn’t finish too far behind his counterpart, batting .375 with a .459 OBP and totaling 36 hits. Slinkard was an integral two-way contributor for this team, batting .325 with 15 RBIs while also posting a 2.41 ERA over 40 ⅓ innings pitched, striking out 53. Jack Bussen (2023), Cole Buscher (2023), and MIF Connor Terbrock (2024) all had strong seasons at the plate. 

Teaming up with the aforementioned Slinkard to form a formidable one-two punch atop this rotation is LHP Mason Arnold (2023), who also earned first team all-conference honors. Arnold made eight starts for Lutheran South, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.64 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over 47 innings. The Lancers used Bussen as a ‘do-it-all’ type arm, as he made six starts and also notched two saves. Bussen went 5-1 on the mound, tossing two complete games with a 2.28 ERA across his 40 innings of work. Another integral part of this pitching staff is 3B/RHP Dillon Slinkard (2023), who allowed only one earned run in 16 innings pitched. 

BOTTOM LINE 

The Lancers know how to win and it’s become the expectation for their program over the last decade. They’re talented both on the mound and at the plate with an experienced junior group capable of elevating them at any point in time. Drawing Festus in the first round certainly won’t be easy, and they’ll square up with either Helias Catholic or Willard should they advance.

HELIAS CATHOLIC 

OUTLOOK

This season didn’t start particularly well for Helias Catholic, who’s record stood at 7-8 after their first 15 games. They turned things around quickly, however, rattling off 10 straight wins to enter district play at 17-8. The Crusaders won the first game of playoff action over Warrensburg 2-1 and followed that up with 9-3 wins over St. Francis Borgia and Washington, respectively. It’s been over a month since Helias Catholic’s last loss and they’re in full-steam ahead mode with a quarterfinal match on the horizon.

Four seniors lead this team, with INF Jaden Kolb (2022) spearheading the charge offensively. Kolb earned first team all-conference and all-district honors as well, batting .390 with a 1.123 OPS this spring. He racked up 10 doubles and homered twice, driving in 20 runs and scoring 26 times on his own. Cole Stumpe (2022) and Brandon Scheulen (2022) were both second team all-conference honorees, contributing to the success Helias Catholic had at the plate. Stumpe batted .367 with a .957 OPS, while Scheulen scored 15 times and drove in 15 runs, batting .325. Turning to the mound, RHP Cole Peters (2022) gave the Crusaders plenty to rave about each time he toed the rubber. Peters pitched to a 5-2 record, saving two games as well, with a 1.27 ERA and 40 strikeouts across that span. 

There were two non-seniors that had noteworthy impacts on this team, starting with INF/RHP Sam Wyrick (2024). The Crusaders’ sophomore star flat-out performed for his squad this spring, posting a .390 batting average with a .953 OPS. Wyrick tripled four times and homered once, bringing 21 runners home and scoring 20 times on his own. His success translated to the mound, where he allowed only two earned runs and struck out 52 batters in 38 ⅓ innings. Junior David Hofherr (2023) was a second team all-conference selection, batting .385 with nine doubles, a home run, and 23 RBIs. 

BOTTOM LINE 

Helias Catholic has turned their season around after a sluggish start, entering the state quarterfinals as one of the hottest teams at the Class 5 level. They’re led by a strong senior core that is complemented by the contributions that Wyrick and Hofherr have provided this spring. The Crusaders have a tall task ahead of them, however, with a 31-win Willard team awaiting them on Saturday.

WILLARD 

OUTLOOK

The success that this Willard program has had over the past decade is rather impressive. They’ve won more than 20 games nine times since 2012, earning two third place finishes and one runner-up title as a result. The Tigers put the finishing touches on a 27-10 season last year by winning the state championship and are poised to do so again this year, entering the state quarterfinals at 31-7. 

Even though they lost some pieces from last year’s championship squad, Willard returns several key players that’re looking to repeat what they started in 2021. Cooper Hampton (2023) was an all-state selection last season and rode that momentum into yet another successful spring, hitting .344 with a team-high .540 OBP. Owen Bushnell (2023) provides plenty of juice to the Tigers’ dangerous offense, crushing seven home runs and adding 12 doubles to his total, batting .398 with 42 RBIs. C Kyden McMain (2023) is another power threat in this lineup, as he drove in 34 runs and stole 20 bags with a .356 batting average. OF/LHP Klayton Kiser (2023) and INF Landon Moore (2024) are the spark plugs for this offense, each of them pacing the way in the runs scored department. Kiser crossed home 42 times and is batting .371, while Moore scored 39 runs and swiped 18 bags in his sophomore campaign, hitting .347 in the process. Rounding out this offense is OF Kyle Beeman (2023), who plays center field and homered four times, driving in 30 runs while also stealing 19 bases. 

OF/LHP Kade Biellier (2022; Drury) is another all-state selection from last year on this team and he’s putting together yet another impressive season on both sides of the ball. Biellier stars on the mound for this team, punching out 54 batters and allowing only 23 hits in 38 ⅓ total innings of work. He’ll play right field for the Tigers when he’s not on the mound, batting .289 with eight doubles, four home runs, and 12 stolen bases. Teaming up with Biellier on this staff is Cooper Wilken (2023), who’s 9-0 this spring with a 2.65 ERA. 

BOTTOM LINE 

It’s difficult to argue with the success and track record that this Willard program has, and they’re certainly headed in the right direction in regards to winning another state championship. The amount of power they have scattered across their lineup synced up with two talented arms on the mound makes this team a tough task for any arm team they play. They’ll square off with Helias Catholic in the first round and will draw either Festus or Lutheran South should they advance.

PARKWAY CENTRAL 

OUTLOOK

It’s been a wild ride for the Colts, who are here as a result of two walk-off wins. They defeated MICDS on a walk-off suicide squeeze in round one and, after beating Rockwood Summit in the second round of districts, beat Chaminade College Prep on a walk-off RBI single to punch their state playoffs ticket. They’re 23-10 on the season and finished third in the Suburban Conference Red conference standings. 

There’s a collective group of players at the top of Parkway Central’s lineup that don’t lack talent by any means. Working out of the leadoff spot and starting at shortstop is INF Joe Siervo (2022; Jefferson JC), who’s a hard-nosed, competitive senior leader that batted .352/.500/.615 with 12 stolen bases this spring. Behind him is sophomore C Seungmin Song (2024), who’s .350 batting average and .477 OBP were amongst the best marks on this Parkway Central roster. Their two best bats hit in the three and four hole, respectively, with C Sean Kang (2023) and OF Stephen Wesolich (2023) playing a huge part in what this team wants to do offensively. Kang slashed .411/.547/.662 across 90 at-bats, walking 19 times and striking out only nine. He doubled 13 times and also drove in a team leading 32 runs. Wesolich paced the Colts with a .418 batting average, doubled 13 times, drove in 32 runs, and stole 26 bases. These two were both responsible for Parkway Central’s walk-off wins, with Kang’s heroics sending them to the state playoffs and Wesolich’s squeeze bunt keeping them alive. 

The tandem of OF/RHP Elijah Kjellberg (2022; Greenville College) and OF/RHP Jack O’Leary (2022) gives Parkway Central two quality arms on the mound. Kjellberg’s been dynamic for this team all spring long, posting a 1.35 ERA and striking out 45 across 31 innings of work. O’Leary has been this team’s workhorse, hurling 43 innings and posting a 5-1 record with a 3.26 ERA. RHP Luke Amezcua (2024), LHP Owen Grater (2024) and RHP Mason Seigel (2022) have all had strong seasons on the mound for Parkway Central. 

BOTTOM LINE 

It’s a testament to how scrappy and competitive this Parkway Central team is given how they’ve won games throughout the postseason. The top of their lineup is loaded and they’ve got plenty of talent to pair on the mound as well. Parkway Central faces Fort Zumwalt East in the first round and will play either Webb City or Platte County if they advance.

FORT ZUMWALT EAST 

OUTLOOK

You could argue that this has already been one of the most successful seasons in Fort Zumwalt East’s history. It’s the first time in program history that the Lions have captured a district championship and, after finishing the regular season with a 22-9 record, they’re headed to the state quarterfinals. 

Headlining this offensive attack is 3B Eric Williams (2024), who served as the Lions’ most productive bat in his sophomore campaign. He put together an impressive .404/.518/.640 triple-slash, driving in a team-high 30 runs with 16 doubles to pair. All of that equated to Williams earning a first team all-conference selection, which just adds on to the sophomore slugger’s  impressive season. OF Parker Davis (2022; Lewis & Clark CC) is another first team all-conference honoree on this squad, starting in left field and hitting out of the cleanup spot for this team. The Lions’ senior captain batted .329/.427/.488 with 11 doubles and 18 RBIs, teaming up with Williams to headline this team’s offense. C Jackson Penn (2023) was the third player on this team to earn first team honors after slashing .299/.426/.442 and captaining this team’s pitching staff with quality defense behind the plate. 

Talent trickles down this roster with a handful of more names-to-know. OF Jackson Carter (2024) patrols center field confidently for this squad and is in the midst of a breakout sophomore season, batting .341 with 20 hits and going a perfect 14-for-14 on the basepaths. Carter’s amongst the fastest players in the entire state, running a 6.48 60-yard dash and translating those wheels to the diamond. UTL Alex Huebner (2022) and INF Luke Aubuchon (2022; McKendree) are two seniors that both had strong seasons for the Lions. 

Fort Zumwalt East’s pitching staff has battled valiantly all spring, especially after losing RHP Justin Smith (2022), who was having an excellent season, to an injury. LHP Lukas McGill (2023) has stepped up adequately, pitching to an 8-1 record and 2.46 ERA across 42 ⅔ innings this spring. McGill drew the start for the Lions in the district championship, obviously emerging victorious. RHP Brendan Jackson (2022) is an uncommitted senior that also missed some time this year but has been excellent when on the mound. Jackson hurled 31 ⅓ innings this spring, punching out 45 batters with a 1.55 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in that span. INF/RHP Michael Gibson (2023) is a name that’s worked exclusively out of the ‘pen for this squad and seen plenty of success, allowing only seven earned runs over 25 ⅔ innings of relief for the Lions. 

BOTTOM LINE 

The Lions have fully adopted a team first mentality, rallying around each other and grinding games out all spring long. They’re a scrappy bunch of players that all have the same goal in mind - doing whatever it takes to just win baseball games. They appear to have found their groove and ran with it, making them a tough assignment for whichever team they match up with. Fort Zumwalt East squares off against an excellent Parkway Central club in the first round, matching up with either Webb City or Platte County should they advance.

WEBB CITY 

OUTLOOK 

Webb City enters these state quarterfinals with plenty of momentum. They outscored their opponents 30-to-1 in the district playoffs, bashing Grandivew early on and defeating Neosho and Carl Junction en route to an ‘Elite Eight’ appearance. Webb City is 19-15 on the season, with 11 of their 15 losses coming against teams that have won 20 or more games. They’re battle tested, and six of the teams that they played this year are in the quarterfinals for their respective classifications. 

Leading the charge for Webb City with a .402 batting average and 47 hits is MIF Cy Darnell (2023). Darnell serves as the table-setter for this offense, with William Hayes, Jeremiah Leaming, and Eric Fitch operating behind him. Hayes enters the state playoffs with a .344 batting average and 28 RBIs, while Fitch is hitting .344 with 26 runs scored. Leaming has been their stable run producer, leading the Cardinals with 31 RBIs. 

Anchoring this rotation is staff ace RHP Cooper Crouch (2022), who’s 6-2 on the year with a 2.40 ERA and 56 punchouts across 2.40 ERA. Gavin Stowell isn’t too far behind Crouch in the strikeout department, retiring 54 batters via the ‘K’ on the year in 41 innings of work. RHP Kaylor Darnell (2023) gave Webb City 35 quality innings this spring and Walker Sweet has been dynamic out of the ‘pen, saving three games and striking out 42 batters with a 2.70 ERA over his 25 frames. 

BOTTOM LINE

Webb City appears to be hitting their stride and their playing a tough year-round schedule this spring has them set up perfectly for a matchup with Platte County, who’s one of the top programs at the Class 5 level. Should they defeat the Pirates, Webb City will play the winner of Parkway Central and Fort Zumwalt East.

PLATTE COUNTY 

OUTLOOK 

Winning has become an expectation for Platte County, as the Pirates haven’t had a losing season since 2013. They made an appearance at the state playoffs in 2017 and are back again, riding a 24-8 season into these quarterfinals. The Pirates won their first game of districts 21-1, following that up with a 4-2 win over Winnetonka and 10-8 victory against Smithville to capture the championship. 

There’s a handful of players that have led Platte County throughout this spring. Cameron Lewis (2022) and Nick Baker (2023) are two underclassmen who have produced at the plate this spring for the Pirates, bringing much-needed experience to this lineup. OF Devin Wassmann (2024; Wichita State) is a former PBR Future Games participant that’s one of the state’s top sophomore prospects, wielding a loud left-handed stroke attached to a physically mature frame. Freshman INF Dayton Doll (2025) has enjoyed success in his first taste of varsity action and looks the part of an advanced hitter that’ll contribute to this team for years to come. 

Two seniors lead the Platte County pitching staff: RHP Landon Fulk (2022; Johnson County CC) and LHP Sawyer Allen (2022; Rockhurst). Each of them has enjoyed their respective success on the hill this spring and give the Pirates a sense of comfort on the mound when they toe the rubber. LHP James Schwieder (2023) is another name-to-know on this pitching staff. 

BOTTOM LINE 

Platte County has the pedigree and talent to make a deep run into these Class 5 playoffs, especially if they start to fire on all cylinders. They’ll draw a battle-tested Webb City squad in the first round, matching up with either Parkway Central or Fort Zumwalt East should they advance.  

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