Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PAISAA

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

Today marks the first two installments of our season preview content, which will run for three weeks up to the first official competition date for PIAA schools on March 20. That calendar doesn't apply here, as some independent schools are scheduled to begin play as early as next weekend (assuming southeastern PA thaws out by then, of course).

To view all district previews as they are released, please visit our District Previews 2015 page.

PAISAA Top Prospects

1. John Aiello, 2015, SS/RHP, Germantown Academy (Wake Forest)
2. Shane Muntz, 2017, C/RHP, Malvern Prep (Virginia Tech)
3. Brady Devereux, 2018, RHP, Malvern Prep (Wake Forest)
4. Kenny Bergmann, 2016, C/OF, Penn Charter (Connecticut)
5. Angel Lopez, 2015, C, Perkiomen School
6. Matt Gorman, 2017, RHP/IF, Penn Charter
7. Michael Siani, 2018, OF/LHP, Penn Charter (Virginia)
8. Emmett Harkins, 2016, RHP, Germantown Academy (George Washington)
9. Adam Holland, 2017, OF, Penn Charter
10. Cameron Van Hoorebeke, 2017, LHP, Episcopal Academy
11. Kyle Virbitsky, 2017, RHP/IF, Episcopal Academy
12. Dominic Toso, 2017, IF, Penn Charter
13. Zach Wielgus, 2015, LHP, Penn Charter (UMBC)
14. Bryce Cunningham, 2018, IF, Springside Chestnut Hill
15. Levi Stoudt, 2016, RHP, Perkiomen School

Inter-Academic League

Returning all-Inter-Ac Honorees
  1st-team 2nd-team
Episcopal Academy   '16 IF A.J. Lotsis
Germantown Academy '15 IF John Aiello
'16 RHP Emmett Harkins
The Haverford School '17 IF Tommy Toal '16 C James McConnon
'15 1B Ryan Fuscaldo
Malvern Prep '15 1B Tim Quinn '15 RHP/OF Chris Butera
Penn Charter '15 1B Dillon Malandro
'17 RHP Matt Gorman
Springside Chestnut Hill '15 1B Riley Mihalik '16 RHP Gunnar Hayes

Episcopal Academy
Class of 2015 College Commits: C/3B Ben Burman (Susquehanna), C Austin Morgan (Dickinson)

Kyle VirbitskyThe Churchmen will have a youthful look on the mound this spring, with the twin-tower sophomore duo of 6-foot-4 Virbitsky (right) and 6-foot-3 Van Hoorebeke expected to log significant innings. Seniors Mike Nickolas, Joe Chambers and Burman, juniors Will Phillips and Alex Frey, plus sophomore Alex McLaughlin could all toe the rubber for coach Mike Hickey as well. That depth will be needed as EA lost senior RHP Kevin Henriksen, an Elon commit, as a transfer to Westtown School.

The junior left-handed hitting right-side-of-the-infield duo of second baseman A.J. Lotsis and first baseman Alex Burman will join Alex's older brother Ben as primary run-producers. Morgan and senior outfielder Brian Lucey, the team captains, will also provide leadership for a line-up that returns seven of nine starters.

Germantown Academy
Class of 2015 College Commits: Aiello (Wake Forest), C Ryan Calhoun (Gulf Coast State), RHP Ryan DeWalt (Lehigh)
Class of 2016 College Commits: Harkins (George Washington)

Billy BrittinghamDeWalt and Harkins have the potential to go toe-to-toe with any other 1-2 rotation punch in the league. The question will be whether they can get enough run-support from a line-up that returns the bulk of its starters, including Calhoun, junior first baseman Billy Brittingham (right), junior outfielder Daniel Zamarin, junior infielder Max Schwartz, and sophomore infielder Vince Capone.

The wild card for the Patriots will be how Aiello recovers from the Tommy John surgery he underwent back in September. When healthy, he is a high-level draft prospect as a switch-hitting shortstop. Reports are that he will DH this spring and currently has no restrictions while hitting, but his glove in the field and arm on the mound will certainly be missed.

The Haverford School
Class of 2015 College Commits: 1B Ryan Fuscaldo (Dickinson), 2B Kevin McGowan (La Salle)

Ben TracyWith the graduation of rotation stalwart Connor Burke, junior RHP Ben Tracy (29 IP, 39 H, 14 BB, 18 K; right) is expected to ascend to ace role for the Fords, who hope that sophomore RHP Tyler Dunbar (35.2 IP, 33 H, 22 BB, 17 K) and senior RHP Nick Greco (21.2 IP, 31 H, 25 BB, 11 K) can harness their command. Junior RHP Michael Warnick (16 IP, 24 H, 8 BB, 15 K), along with seniors Mike Gindhart and newcomer Quinn Letter, the school's starting soccer goaltender, are also in line to toe the rubber.

With much of the team speed gone due to graduation, the offense may need left-handed sticks McGowan (.329 AVG, .394 OBP, .565 SLG) and junior first baseman Frank Cresta to take aim at THS's short right-field porch, while Fuscaldo (.290 AVG, .405 OBP) and junior catcher James McConnon (.361 AVG, .407 OBP) add right-handed balance to the line-up.

Malvern Prep
Class of 2015 College Commits: OF Parker Abate (Misericordia), OF/RHP Chris Butera (Lehigh), IF Mark Gentilotti (Delaware), LHP Brendan Inglis (Lehigh), C Clay Koniencki (Monmouth), RHP Shane Metzger (Franklin & Marshall), LHP Nick Parente (Babson), 1B/LHP Tim Quinn (George Mason)
Class of 2016 College Commits: OF Chance DiFebbo (Delaware)
Class of 2017 College Commits: Muntz (Virginia Tech)
Class of 2018 College Commits: Devereux (Wake Forest)

The defending Inter-Ac co-champs welcome back a deep pitching staff, headlined by two of their top three innings-eaters from last season in Butera (53.1 IP, 47 H, 23 BB, 43 K) and Inglis (46.2 IP, 31 H, 22 BB, 40 K). The veteran rotation could see an infusion of youth as well, with baby-faced Devereux having the stuff to compete in the league at a young age, and power-armed Muntz having the power arsenal of a potential closer.

Jake MullanOffensively, the Friars top returners are Quinn (.352 AVG, .427 OBP) and senior infielder David Rodgers (.327 AVG, .479 OBP, .600 SLG), while Koniencki (.409), Butera (.407), and Gentilotti (.385) bring back quality OBPs as well. Others, like Muntz and junior infielder Jake Mullan (right), saw limited action last year and will look to find a more permanent home in Coach Freddy Hilliard's the line-up this spring.

Other youngsters including DiFebbo, sophomore infielder Matt Daller, plus junior RHPs Sean Flynn and Brent Greeley, and sophomore RHP Jalen Wade (all three 6-foot-3 or taller) hope to get an opportunity to make their mark this spring as well.

Penn Charter
Class of 2015 College Commits: 1B Dillon Malandro (Connecticut), OF/RHP Gabe Smith (La Salle), Wielgus (UMBC)
Class of 2016 College Commits: Bergmann (Connecticut)
Class of 2018 College Commits: Siani (Virginia)

Steve LorenzDespite losing four all-Inter-Ac selections to graduation, this team is once again loaded with talent. Coach David Miller's teams typically mash the baseball, and this year's version looks to be no different. Coming off a stellar freshman season, athletic Holland is a well-rounded table-setter (11 XBH, 12 SB). Bergmann and Malandro bring power potential to the middle of the order, while Smith has gap pop and good wheels. Toso, Gorman, sophomore Alex Cohen, and senior Frank Driscoll will vie to join Malandro and senior third baseman Steve Brown on the infield. Athletic sophomore left-handed hitting outfielders Steve Lorenz  (right) and James Gabor could push for at-bats as well.

Brendan CellucciThe pitching staff is not quite as settled. While the Quakers are by no means bereft of talented options on the mound, most of them lack some combination of health, experience, and polish. Wielgus will be out for the year following shoulder surgery. Like Holland, Gorman comes off a highly successful rookie campaign (43.1 IP, 42 H, 12 BB, 48 K), although he is ailing a bit this preseason. Smith has a quality three-pitch arsenal, although has thrown very limited innings in his career. A veritable forest is growing behind them, with the projectable 6-foot-3 trio of junior RHP Harrison Timberlake (who saw non-conference action last spring), sophomore LHP Brendan Cellucci (right), and sophomore RHP Justus Sanders, the latter two of whom could log innings if they can harness their stuff.

Neither of the previous paragraphs even factors in the left-handed Siani, who showed enough to the College World Series runner-up Cavaliers to have them make him an offer prior to playing a single game in high school, and who should get the opportunity to make an impact with his bat and arm.

Springside Chestnut Hill
Class of 2015 College Commits: 1B RIley Mihalik (Rider)

Andrew SingerCoach Joe Ishikawa could have some competitive practices on his hands this March, as he has six open line-up spots to fill, along with a significant number of innings up for grabs. Left-handed slugger Mihalik, senior catcher Mike Melady, and speedy junior utility Nick Rowland are the only three returning starters for the Blue Devils. Two quality athletes who could be poised to make their mark are junior infielder A.J. LaBella and sophomore outfielder Andrew Singer (right) a plus runner who can really cover ground.

Fronting the pitching staff will be junior RHP Gunnar Hayes, who has a good feel for the strike zone and gets downhill well. Jockeying for innings behind him will be senior LHP Pat McCann, senior RHP Josh Beckerman, plus sophomore RHPs Matt Hoffman and Singer.

Friends Schools League

Returning all-FSL
  1st-team Honorable Mention
Abington Friends    
Academy of the New Church '16 Charles Coyle  
Friends' Central '15 Ardon Fryer  
Friends Select '15 August Dichter  
George School '16 Gabe Ortiz
'16 Luke Haug
Germantown Friends '17 Thomas Primosch
'15 Jamie Clauson-Wolf
Moorestown Friends (NJ) '15 Adam Quaranta
'16 Mitchell Mullock
'16 A.J. Dunham
'16 Matt Mullock
Shipley School '16 Nick Wojtelwicz '17 Jack Dougherty
Westtown School    


Outfielder Haug hit an eye-popping .609 with 37 stolen bases for George School last spring. His line-up support will come from fellow junior outfielders Ortiz and Chris Gilbert, along with senior thrid baseman Alex Bariataris. RHP Ortiz will also front coach Vince Campellone's pitching staff, where he will be joined by Bariataris and junior RHP Colin Ganges. Two sophomores, catcher Chet Kogut and 3B/RHP Adam Dixon, could push for playing time as well.

Germantown Friends welcomes back the majority of its pitching staff, including Primosch (37.2 IP, 31 H, 13 BB, 34 K), Clauson-Wolf (11.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K) and senior Oliver Mitchell-Boyask (34 IP, 37 H, 13 BB, 26 K). Coach Tim Gunn will feature a speed-based offense, led by Clauson-Wolf (.339 AVG, 16 SB), Mitchell-Boyask (.298 AVG, 15 SB), and Josh Valentine (.275 AVG, 15 SB).

Academy of the New Church hopes to move into playoff contention with the return of eight players from last season. The Lions will be led offensively and on the mound by left-handed hitting SS/RHP Coyle. Junior LHP Willie Loeb will join Coyle as the primary batterymates for senior C Duke Kendig. Speedy junior Austin Hibbs, along with the sophomore duo of first baseman Xander Pendleton and outfielder Braden Heilman, are anticipated to help spark coach Shawn Synnesvedt's offense.

Senior RHP Matt Cozen (36.2 IP, 47 H, 26 BB, 45 K) will front an Abington Friends pitching staff that could also receive contributions from a couple of freshman. While it may be tough to replace his top hitter, coach Gavin White has a solid offensive nucleus in sophomore utility Jared Smith (.349 AVG, .440 OBP, 14 SB), senior infielder Brian Venetianer (.432 AVG, .551 OBP, 6 BB vs 3 K, 20 SB), and Cozen (.325 AVG, .413 OBP).

Nick WojtelwiczShipley School welcomes back two-thirds of its starting line-up and the bulk of its innings. The young pitching staff will be led by RHP Dougherty (58.1 IP, 62 H, 24 BB, 57 K), freshman RHP Gerard Sweeney, senior RHP Josh Spear (15.2 IP, 25 H, 5 BB, 13 K), and sophomore RHP Darian Pass (14.2 IP 17 H, 6 BB, 10 K), who will likely serve as the closer in addition to his duties as the starting catcher. Coach Bryan Bendowski's offense will be led by shortstop Wojtelwicz (.339 AVG, .494 OBP, 17 BB vs 13 K, .532 SLG, 21 SB; right) and senior outfielder Brendan Marsh (.348 AVG, .500 SLG). Junior outfielder Phil Johnson and a pair of freshman infielders, Sweeney and Blake Rodack, are also expected to contribute with the bat.

With the most returning all-FSL selections, Moorestown Friends (NJ) is well-positioned to defend its league title. Mitchell Mullock, Quaranta, and senior RHP Luke Bianco return as the backbone of the pitching staff, while all four honorees listed above will team with junior third baseman Alex Ounjian to power coach Ron Obermeier's offense.

Other Independents

Levi StoudtPerkiomen School returns virtually the entire pitching staff from last season's PAISAA tournament runner-up. Stoudt (54.2 IP, 57 H, 15 BB, 43 K; right) recorded non-conference wins over half the Inter-Ac, while junior LHP Devin Crossin (38 IP, 40 H, 15 BB, 31 K) got the victory over Penn Charter in the PAISAA semifinal. Sophomore RHP Josh Cruz (33.1 IP, 29 H, 13 BB, 32 K) and junior RHP Christan Del Toro, a transfer from Puerto Rico, should also toss the pill often to Lopez, who is perhaps the top defensive player at his position in the state. Coach Ken Baker welcomes back almost as much offense, although shortstop Joey Pena (.576 AVG, .698 OBP, 1.045 SLG, 32 SB) heading off to St. Thomas Aquinas is a huge loss. A senior-laden line-up will be led by Lopez, infielder Tom Aaron, outfielder Naquan Holden, and utilityman Javi Quinones, a Keuka commit. Cruz also returns off a solid freshman season, while Rowan-bound, post-grad outfielder Charlie Barebo reinforces the Panthers offense after helping lead Notre Dame (Green Pond) to the District XI Class AA title last season.

Nick ChroscinskiCoach Chris Drowne will utilize a pari of junior RHPs at the top of The Hill School's rotation in Jeff Armstrong and 6-foot-2, 215-pound Jack Hogan (all-Mid-Atlantic Prep League as a sophomore), while senior LHP Sam Murphy and his classmate RHP/OF Jack Overholt will join them on the staff. Freshman C/OF Dan Monzo looks to break into a line-up led by senior catcher Grady Paine, Overholt, and junior C/1B Nick Chroscinski (right), as the Blues aim to rebound from their first losing season in four years.

Season Preview Schedule:

2/27 - District V
2/28 - District IX
3/1 - District VI
3/2 - District IV
3/3 - District X
3/4 - District III (Class A & AA)
3/5 - District VII (Class A)
3/6 - District VII (Class AA)
3/7 - District II
3/8 - District XI
3/9 - District I (Class A, AA, AAA)
3/10 - District III (Class AAA)
3/11 - District VII (Class AAA)
3/12 - District I (Class AAAA)
3/13 - District III (Class AAAA)
3/14 - District VII (Class AAAA)
3/15 - District XII