Preseason High School Preview: Camdenton
March 7, 2023
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.
2022 Record: 24-9
Head Coach: Bryce Durnin
Kamden Durnin, INF, 2023 (Wichita State commit)
Durnin will look to put the finishing touches on a decorated career by leading his squad to yet another successful season. A reigning all-conference, all-district, and all-state honoree, Durnin batted .424 with a 1.369 OPS in 2022, collecting 26 extra-base hits and scoring 36 times. He’s one of the state’s best right-handed bats and brings plenty of value defensively as well, providing an experienced stable presence on the infield. There’s plenty to like with Durnin and his ability to impact the game in multiple areas makes him a key ingredient to what Camdenton will try to accomplish this upcoming spring.
4 - The amount of consecutive winning seasons the Lakers have had. They finished last year with 24 victories, the school’s highest mark in some time, and it’s the first time that Camdenton’s had multiple winning seasons since 2012 and 2013. Camdenton made it to the state playoffs as recently as 2019 and they’ve made it to the district semi finals in each of the last two springs.
Camdenton fell in the district semi-finals to Washington last season, but the Lakers do return a steady group of contributors from a team that won 24 games last season. They’re not too far removed from a district championship in 2019 and they’ll certainly look to get back to Ozark in 2023.
Though we highlighted the older Durnin brother above, the two younger siblings are each extremely talented prospects in their own regard. RHP Kaden Durnin (2024; Wichita State) is headed the Shockers’ way in a few years, similarly to his older brother, and is one of the state’s top junior arms. He represented Team Missouri at the PBR Future Games this past summer, pumping his fastball in the mid-to-high-80s with plenty of upside attached to a 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame. Durnin pitched to a 6-1 record for the Lakers last spring, punching out 58 batters across his 41 innings of work. He contributed offensively as well, batting .361 and driving in 35 runs.
The youngest of the three, INF/RHP Karson Durnin (2025), gained experience in his freshman year and will be tasked with a more expanded role this upcoming season. He’s similar to older brother, as he’s an athletic up-the-middle right-handed bat that brings above-average speed and a quality defensive profile to the diamond. Durnin’s likely to see more time on the mound this spring too and how he performs as the season goes on could prove pivotal for this Camdenton squad. Another name-to-know is 1B/OF Cole Hilton (2023), who recently committed to Olive Harvey CC in Illinois and returns after an all-conference honorable mention junior campaign. Hilton brings experience and a strong left-handed bat to this lineup. This team returns two more players in RHP/UTL Spencer Mellencamp and OF/RHP Jackson Basham.
Where the questions lie with this Camdenton team is their pitching staff. It’s not a talent issue, but more so the fact that they’ll have to replace 150 innings from three graduated seniors. Kamden and Kaden Durnin have the stuff to anchor this staff, but there’s not much varsity experience on this staff after him. How successful they are in doing so will likely be the determining factor to this team’s season.
Camdenton won’t be an easy assignment for anyone on any given day. They’re a tough, well-coached bunch that boasts a talented top of the lineup and a strong defensive unit throughout. How they perform on the mound will ultimately be this team’s driving force, but the Lakers have proven over the past few years that they’re capable of winning games with consistency.
Follow along @PBRMissouri for complete coverage of the 2023 high school season.