Prep Baseball Report

Preseason High School Preview: Francis Howell

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
2022 Record: 32-10
Conference: GAC South
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Tony Perkins


Brysen Nepute, OF/LHP, 2023 (San Jacinto JC signee)
A PBR Future games alum, Nepute is one of the top prospects in the St. Louis area, and his excellence on both sides of the ball in 2022 is a huge reason why Francis Howell saw as much success as they did. He’s an ace on the mound, pitching to a 1.50 ERA over 65 ⅓ innings, punching out 78 in the process. Nepute gives the Vikings a chance to win each time he takes the rubber, and his bat helps their offense on a game-to-game basis, too. Last year, Nepute slashed .356/.441/.470 over 155 plate appearances, scoring 33 runs and driving in 47, while also swiping 15 bags. Nepute will look to put together another all-state caliber season in 2023, and how he performs on both sides of the ball will be a driving factor to Francis Howell’s success.

Brysen Nepute


4 - The number of state championships that this Francis Howell program has captured under head coach Tony Perkins. Throughout his tenure at the top of this Vikings program, Perkins has solidified himself as one of the most storied head coaches in the history of Missouri high school baseball. The Vikings have perennially been state championship contenders - a sentiment that certainly carries into 2023.


One of the state’s most consistent and successful programs, the Vikings nearly eliminated the eventual state champions in the 6A semifinals last spring, dropping a thrilling extra-inning contest at Ozark. They’ll be without star INF Jake McCutcheon (2022; Missouri State) this spring, but head coach Tony Perkins’ squad oozes a crop of talented players that almost all saw regular playing time last spring. With this blend of experience and impact on their roster the Vikings are capable of beating anyone on any given day.

Powering this bunch are a handful of really talented prospects, all of which are slotted relatively high on our state’s rankings for their respective classes. We highlighted Nepute as this team’s ‘X-Factor’ for his two-way talents, but the San Jacinto JC commit isn’t the only high-end prospect on this roster. 1B Brett Norfleet (2023; Missouri) led the way with nine home runs and a ridiculous .451/.544/.885 triple-slash last season, and the 6-foot-7, 230-pound multi-sport standout will look to build on that this upcoming spring. A second team all-conference honoree in 2022, C Ayden Rogers (2023; Jefferson JC) saw brief playing time last season, and he swings a strong right-handed bat that we saw impact the ball with authority at a handful of stops this fall. Like Rogers, INF/RHP Brady Wilson (2023; Jefferson JC) also earned all-conference honors last spring, and the 6-foot-3, 170-pound two-way prospect brings even more depth and experience to the Vikings’ roster.

Brett Norfleet

Look for RHP Adam Shipley (2024; St. Louis) to take a bigger step forward on the mound for this club, too. Shipley quarterbacked the Vikings’ state championship team and also attended the Future Games this past summer prior to committing to the Billikens. He logged 29 ⅔ quality innings on the bump last year, pitching to a 2.83 ERA across six starts. INF/RHP Caleb Miller (2023; Missouri Southern) could also see more run on the mound after a successful junior stint, hurling 22 ⅔ frames with a 2.16 ERA over eight appearances in 2022. Add in RHP Alex Bryan (2024) to this mix too, as the wiry uncommitted junior came away from our Preseason All-State as one of its biggest winners. He’s a competitive pitchability arm with three above-average offerings, including a mid-to-high-80s fastball, tightly spun slider, and deceptive changeup to boot. New to this squad, Bryan’s an impact arm that’s performed in-game for us in the past, and adding an arm as talented as he is into this pitching staff only helps bolster Francis Howell from top to bottom.

Adam Shipley

Both INF Tytus Cissell (2024; Missouri) and OF Leo Humbert (2025) are top prospects in their classes that played a huge role in getting the Vikings to the state playoffs last spring. Cissell, who’s spectacular diving catch kept that aforementioned extra-inning playoff affair alive, positively impacts the game in multiple ways. He batted .339 with a .423 on-base percentage (OBP) as a sophomore while playing quality up-the-middle defense and swiping 12 bags, too. Humbert’s a high-end name on a national scale and the 6-foot, 185-pound outfielder is quickly making himself known as one of Missouri’s best baseball players. His excellent freshman campaign included a .385 batting average with a .494 OBP, bringing home 29 batters and swiping 17 bags - all while shining defensively in center field.

Leo Humbert


The talent, experience, and depth of this Francis Howell squad stands out, and it’s the reason why the Vikings enter the season at the second spot on our preseason rankings. With only one player not returning from last year’s group, this Vikings group is battle tested, and their tough schedule throughout the regular season will only prepare them more for the daunting playoff run. Expect Francis Howell to hover atop our rankings all spring in their quest for a return to Ozark. 

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