Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PIAA District III (Class AAA)

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

With today's thirteenth installment, we officially enter the bigger school portion of district preview articles, the main component of our season preview content, which is running for three weeks up to the first official competition date for PIAA schools on March 20. Each article includes a list of top prospects from amongst the cohort of schools, as well as write-ups of a number of teams in the cohort.

We have received inquiries regarding how we decide which teams to detail. A team having or not having its own paragraph in the article is less an indication of what type of season we expect it to have and more a function of how much information we are able to compile. For example, if we have not seen a team in person (there are over 600 baseball-playing high schools in the state), stats are not available on-line, and a school district spam filter gobbled up our e-mails to the coach that contained the questionnaire, we might not have enough information to write a full paragraph on that school.

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

Connor YoderPIAA District III Class AAA Top Prospects

1. Connor Yoder, 2016, RHP, East Pennsboro (Virginia Tech)
2. Myles Gayman, 2016, RHP, Greencastle-Antrim (Penn State)
3. Ben Dum, 2015, RHP, West Perry (Virginia Commonwealth)
4. Brett Kinneman, 2015, OF, West York Area (North Carolina State)
5. Connor Hood, 2016, IF, Susquehannock (Seton Hall)
6. Matt Brooks, 2016, IF/RHP, Spring Grove Area
7. Nathan Ocker, 2015, RHP, Middletown Area (College of Charleston)
Curtis Robison8. Cameron Enck, 2015, RHP, Lampeter-Strasburg (Maryland)
9. Grayson Miller, 2015, SS, East Pennsboro (Millersville)
10. Cordell Shannon, 2015, LHP, Shippensburg Area (Millersville)
11. Curtis Robison, 2017, LHP/OF, Northern York
12. Brandon Knarr, 2017, LHP, Eastern York
13. Jake Wapinsky, 2016, OF, Fleetwood Area
14. Drew Miller, 2016, LHP, East Pennsboro
15. Scott Kuczala, 2015, IF, Wyomissing Area (Pitt-Johnstown)

Connor HoodNathan OckerBrandon KnarrJake WapinskyScott Kuczala

Class AAA

Following back-to-back state championships, West York Area suffered a rude early-round district exit as the 1-seed at the hands (or, perhaps more appropriately, the arm) of Ocker. The Bulldogs return four seniors on a spread-the-wealth pitching staff: RHPs Nick Traettino (30 IP, 21 H, 12 BB, 22 K), Logan Stover (29 IP, 18 H, 13 BB, 18 K), and Cash Gladfelter (7.2 IP, 4 H, 11 BB, 10 K), along with LHP Kinneman (11.1 IP, 9 H, 7 BB, 13 K). Five offensive starters return as well for coach Roger Czerwinski, led by YAIAA Division II co-Player of the Year Kinneman (.316 AVG, .487 OBP, 17 BB vs 10 K, 11 XBH, 22 SB), 1st-team first baseman Stover (.333 AVG, .535 OBP, 23 BB vs 10 K), and catcher Traettino (.325 AVG).

Quin AmbeaultGreencastle-Antrim will feature four junior RHPs on its staff, as it looks to defend its division title. 1st-team all-Mid Penn Colonial selection Gayman (42.1 IP, 9 BB, 42 K) and 2nd-team honoree Matt Kline (21.2 IP, 5 BB, 18 K) will lead the way for the Blue Devils, while Derek Measall and Spencer Meyers will be getting their first taste of varsity action. Infielders Gayman (.368 AVG) and Kline (.381 AVG) will be joined on coach Eric Shaner's offense by 2nd-team catcher Quinn Ambeault (.432 AVG; right) and Honorable Mention outfielder Kurt Hansen (.314 AVG, 9 SB)

Cameron EnckLampeter-Strasburg experienced a mass exodus on graduation day, as seven regular position players and three of its top four pitchers all departed. Staff ace Enck (45 IP, 42 H, 17 BB, 56 K), an all-Lancaster-Lebanon League selection, fronts a rotation that will see larger roles for senior LHP Brandon Nickel and junior RHPs Colin Eckman and Garrett Groshong. Enck (left) and athletic junior shortstop Colin Shank are the only returning starters in coach Keith Martin's line-up that will likely need big contributions from seniors Austin Pletcher, David Greenwood, and Jake Howells, plus junior Ben Rhoades, if the Pioneers are to have another big season.

Matt BrooksBetween 1st-year coach Kevin Stiffler and a roster that graduated fourteen, defending YAIAA champ Spring Grove Area might have benefited from wearing name tags this pre-season. They will also be introducing themselves to the other teams here after reclassifying down from AAAA. Following a season in which he was the only non-senior in the starting line-up, athletic shortstop Brooks (.266 AVG, .447 OBP, 5 SB; right) will be called upon to spark the offense. Senior LHP Anthony Reed (11.1 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 7 K) will join the projectable Brooks (33 IP, 20 H, 13 BB, 55 K) in the Rockets rotation.

Dustin BabaieSpeed will be the primary weapon on offense for Susquehannock, which will feature two 1st-team all-YAIAA Division III selections in Hood (.423 AVG, 14 SB) and senior outfielder Cody Dennis (.396 AVG, .492 OBP, 8 BB vs 4 K, 10 SB). Wilkes-bound outfielder Alex Palmer (.381 AVG, .458 OBP in a part-time role) and junior infielder Dustin Babaie (left) will be among an inexperienced group looking to help replace seven departed starters. With 83% of the Warriors innings lost to graduation, coach Tim Hare will turn to Hood (7.1 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 8 K) and Babaie to be his primary starting pitchers.

Despite losing its ace, Manheim Central returns the bulk of its pitching staff this spring. The strike-throwing senior duo of Tanner Fahnestock (31.2 IP, 31 H, 12 BB, 21 K) and Blake Reiff (29 IP, 34 H, 2 BB, 11 K) should each take a step up the depth chart, while their classmate Dan Wiederrecht (14.2 IP, 14 H, 6 BB, 5 K) could soak up some of the available innings. Two-thirds of the starting line-up was lost to graduation, leaving the senior trio of Reiff (.478 AVG, .513 OBP, 7 BB vs 3 K, .657 SLG), Wiederrecht (.333 AVG), and Chad Zunich (.321 AVG, .457 OBP, 7 BB vs 4 K) to power the offense while the Barons inexperienced players get acclimated.

A large chunk of the roster returns for state quarterfinalist Northeastern, which wasn't highly regarded heading into the post-season due to eight regular-season losses. The signs of a competitive run were there, however, as all eight of those defeats came by one or two runs. A junior-laden Bobcats pitching staff will once again be fronted by LHP Adam Kipp (51.1 IP, 43 H, 22 BB, 40 K), with Kody Reeser (37.1 IP, 34 H, 31 BB, 28 K), Brayton Bare (20.1 IP, 21 H ,10 BB, 9 K), and Brady Dolan (20 IP, 13 H, 10 BB, 26 K) all back after logging significant innings last season. Alderson Broaddus-bound YAIAA Division II co-Player of the Year Nick Sprenkle (.378 AVG career), junior 1st-team honoree Devin Blymire (.291 AVG, .400 OBP, 9 BB vs 7 K), and senior Tom Skehan (.400 AVG, .518 OBP, 8 BB vs 5 K) will power an offense that also has Kipp (.298 AVG, .412 OBP, 10 BB vs 2 K) and 1st-team selection Reeser (.300 AVG, .367 OBP) returning off solid seasons.

As it reclassifies down from AAAA, Daniel Boone will need its inexperienced staff to develop quickly, as the Blazers graduated 84% of their innings. Four pitchers who saw limited varsity action last spring -- junior RHPs Jordan Goodrich, Sean Bologa, and Bryant Schwoyer, along with senior RHP Jason Burns -- will have the opportunity to pick up the slack. The offense is in a more stable position, with the return of two all-Berks I Honorable Mention selections in sophomore catcher/outfielder Brendan Rivoli (.293 AVG) and junior utility Bryce Stout (.439 AVG, .596 SLG). Coach Jason McCord also has the luxury of writing third baseman Schwoyer (.321 AVG, .426 OBP, 9 BB vs 8 K) and sophomore shortstop Joey Moyer (.298 AVG) back into his line-up.

Sam LazowskiComing off an up-and-down season (10-game winning streak in the middle of its schedule, followed by five losses in a row to end it), Donegal welcomes back 72% of its innings, led by senior Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 1st-team selection Camren Ney (49.1 IP, 55 H, 14 BB, 40 K), junior Collin Brown (22.1 IP, 25 H, 11 BB, 23 K), and senior Sam Lazowski (22 IP, 33 H, 13 BB, 26 K; right). More than half of the Indians regular starting line-up returns as well, including 2nd-team DH Lazowski (.390 AVG, .644 SLG) and Ney (.358 AVG, .435 OBP, 7 BB vs 5 K).

Scott LeitholfNorthern York will be revamping its pitching staff in an attempt to defend its district crown. Gone due to graduation are 83% of the Polar Bears innings, leaving junior RHP Nick Sacoman (19.1 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 10 K) as the only returner to log more than 4.1 innings. Talented sophomores Robison and 6-foot-4 RHP Scott Leitholf (left) should have a chance to make their mark. Coach Brian Robison will be incorporating a number of new position players, but does return his 2-3-4 hitters: junior shortstop Kenny McKeever (.304 AVG, smooth defender), Pitt-Johnstown-bound 1st-team Mid-Penn Capital outfielder Zach Zinn (.488 AVG, 12 XBH), and Honorable Mention third baseman Jeremy Gilbert (.361 AVG, .465 OBP).

Ben DumDistrict runner-up and state qualifier West Perry returns the bulk of its pitching staff, led by Mid-Penn Capital co-MVP Dum (right), senior 2nd-team LHP Tregg Liebel, and Penn Tech-bound RHP Trevor Dolin. Coach Jeff Sanno's offense, which will call on a number of sophomores to step into large roles, knows how to get on base, led by third baseman Dum (.381 AVG, .511 OBP), outfielder Liebel (.357 AVG, .469 OBP, 15 SB), senior 2nd-team outfielder Ethan Lesher (.406 AVG, .418 OBP), sophomore shortstop Scotty Messner (.304 AVG, .420 OBP), and Penn Tech-bound 1B/OF Brady Smith (.321 AVG, .409 OBP).

Joseph MioneTwo of three rotation stalwarts return for Bishop McDevitt in the persons of senior 1st-team Mid-Penn Keystone LHP/OF John Brubaker (33.2 IP, 32, 13 BB, 40 K) and junior Honorable Mention RHP/OF Joey Mione (34.1 IP, 24 H, 15 BB, 48 K; left). While the depth behind them is still a question mark, coach Steve Groff's line-up returns five regulars and a number of other who saw part-time action. Senior 1st-team first baseman Dylan Spiegel (.424 AVG, .528 OBP, 13 BB vs 8 K, .593 SLG) and senior Honorable Mention shortstop Joey Wrabel (.311 AVG, .403 OBP, 9 BB vs 7 K) will join Brubaker (.350 AVG, .444 OBP, 11 BB vs 6 K) and Mione (.302 AVG, .387 OBP, 8 BB vs 7 K) in leading an offense that has exhibited quality plate discipline. Bloomsburg-bound outfielder Marcus Gray is one of the fastest players in the state.

Colby ShimmelEastern York will be looking to build depth on a pitching staff that only returns two members -- junior YAIAA Division III 1st-team selection Colby Shimmel (38.1 IP, 32 H, 6 BB, 37 K; right) and senior Kyle Billet (14 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 8 K) -- who logged varsity innings last spring. Likewise, the Golden Knights graduated two-thirds of their starting line-up and almost all of their power production, leaving senior Honorable Mention Bobby Hedrick (.245 AVG, .385 OBP, 11 BB vs 5 K) and Shimmel (.288 AVG, .424 OBP, 10 BB vs 4 K) as the top returning hitters.

Zack SimsAs it aims to capitalize on its first round district upset over the back-to-back state champs, Middletown Area returns a strong pitching staff, including Mid-Penn Keystone co-MVP Ocker (57.2 IP, 111 K), Shippensburg-bound 1st-team selection Zack Sims (44.2 IP, 63 K; left), and Penn State Harrisburg-bound 2nd-team honoree Ethan Kell, along with junior RHP Brandon Harper. Infielders Sims (.324 AVG, .400 OBP) and Ocker (.344 AVG, .400 OBP), catcher Kell (.311 AVG, .403 OBP), and senior utilitymen Bubba Finsterbush and York College-bound Jordan Flowers will be the primary run-producers for the Blue Raiders. Coach Steve Shuleski could also see junior outfielder Justin Imler, sophomore utility Noah Zimmerman, and sophomore C/SS Jimmy Fitzpatrick step up.

Juniors Colton Lawrence (.344 AVG) and Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 2nd-team selection Travis Zimmerman (.386 AVG) are the only line-up holdovers from last season for Eastern Lebanon County. That attrition is matched on a Raiders pitching staff that has senior Jack Mays (24.1 IP, 27 H, 22 BB, 28 K) as the only returner to log more than two-thirds of an inning.

Hunter BreonBoiling Springs welcomes back four Mid-Penn Colonial honorees -- junior infielder Hunter Breon (1st-team; right), senior RHP Josh McCoy (2nd-team), plus junior RHP Travis Wickard and junior outfielder Hunter Goshorn (Honorable Mention) -- as part of eleven upperclassmen with varsity experience. Bubblers coach John Breon will also be able to call on junior catcher Nick Rosario, senior RHP/1B Jarred Rudd, senior shortstop Garret McHenry, and junior LHP Derek Clifton for production this spring.

Cordell ShannonA veteran group should help first-year Shippensburg Area coach Nathan Rosenberry transition into his new role. The projectable Shannon (left), a Mid-Penn Colonial 1st-team selection, will front a pitching staff that also includes juniors Teagan Staver and Noah Auman, plus senior Damon Watkins. The senior trio of 1st-team honoree Nate Reiner, Honorable Mention Daulton Brenize, and Nick Jacoby, will team with juniors Cole Friese and Zane Hershey to power the Greyhounds offense.

Derek StarnerBermudian Springs returns three senior all-YAIAA Division III 1st-team selections to power its offense: catcher Toby Sponseller (.356 AVG, 10 SB), shortstop Derek Starner (.414 AVG, .514 OBP, 10 BB vs 4 K; rightt), and outfielder Clayton Hoff (.364 AVG, .457 OBP, 10 BB vs 6 K). LHP Hoff (41 IP, 47 H, 20 BB, 45 K), the only returner to log double digit innings last spring, will also front the pitching staff for coach Eric McClintic, who will call on Starner (7 IP, 13 H, 4 BB, 9 K) and sophomore LHP Hunter Rang to help replace some of the production from six graduated arms.

Palmyra Area will sport a young roster this spring. Two seniors RHPs -- Millersville-bound Bobby Dorta and Trevor Gill -- will be joined on coach Tim Gingrich's pitching staff by a pair of sophomores: RHP Isaac Blatt and LHP Braden Vernet. Offensively, senior Mid-Penn Keystone 2nd-team shortstop Zach Miller, first baseman Dorta, junior infielder Tyler Julian, junior outfielder Evan Hallowell, and sophomore outfielder Carl Reigle should also contribute to the Cougars run production, which took a hit when junior Honorable Mention outfielder Connor Gurt transferred to Hershey.

James Buchanan returns half of its offense, led by senior outfielder Michael McCarthy and sophomore shortstop Jared Pine. However, the development of coach Scott Folmar's pitchers, many of whom have limited varsity experience, will likely determine how far the Rockets can go.

Drew MillerDespite finishing with a sub-.500 record last spring, East Pennsboro has the returning talent, especially on the mound, to fit nicely into the mold of sleeper this year. Power-armed Yoder (37.1 IP, 33 H, 21 BB, 56 K) earned Honorable Mention Mid-Penn Capital recognition last spring, while projectable Drew Miller (35.1 IP, 42 H, 25 BB, 37 K) was a second-team selection. Defensive swiss-army knife Grayson Miller (.456 AVG, .530 OBP, .754 SLG) landed on the 1st-team, while brother Drew (left) hit .500 over the final three weeks of the season (when he became a full-time starter).

Ben CarterA veteran group of bats and arms has Wyomissing Area thinking post-season for the first time in coach Zach Milch's tenure. The junior RHP trio of 1st-team all-Berks III Ledwin Nunez (who transferred from Antietam), Derrick Eberhart, and Honorable Mention selection Kenny Rodriguez are slated to log significant innings. The Spartans line-up will be led by Dickinson-bound catcher Ben Carter (right), senior catcher/first baseman Henry Peguero, Honorable Mention Kuczala, and 1st-team outfielder Tom Paolini.

Nick PerilliOther Berks squads that feature at least three returning league all-stars include:
Hamburg Area - all-Berks II junior Ryan Smith & senior Jordan Youndt, Honorable Mention senior T.J. Romoho & junior Janson Youndt
Berks Catholic - senior all-Berks shortstop Patrick Causa (Mount St. Mary's), all-Berks II seniors Matt Dekker & Pop Lacey, Honorable Mention seniors Nick Perilli (left) & Ryan Schuetrumpf
Twin Valley - all-Berks II senior Richard Lennon, Honorable Mention junior A.J. Alexy & senior Colin Hartey

Milton Hershey has overhauled a good chunk of its roster following the graduation of seven starters. Seniors Chris Santana, an Honorable Mention all-Mid Penn Capital selection, and Darren Keith return as significant contributors on the mound and at the plate. The will be joined in coach John Karavage's line-up by fellow seniors Quinton Gregor and Nathan Houser.

As Gettysburg Area transitions to its first-year in the YAIAA, senior RHPs Luke Wlazlak and Jake Myers will anchor a Warriors staff that should also see sophomore RHPs David Buxton and Michael Tempel, along with junior LHP P.J. Cosden, toe the rubber. In a year of change, first-year coach Ryan Brady will turn to four-year starting shortstop Wlazlak, a Mid-Penn Colonial Honorable Mention selection, to lead an offense that will also include sophomore infielders Ethan Ketterman and Tempel, first baseman Cosden, and senior catcher Ryan Kresky.

Season Preview Schedule

2/27 - PAISAA
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