Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PIAA District IV

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

Today marks the fifth installment of our season preview content, which will run for three weeks up to the first official competition date for PIAA schools on March 20. To view all district previews as they are released, please visit our District Previews 2015 page.

PIAA District IV Top Prospects

1. Kyle Datres, 2015, SS/RHP, Loyalsock Township (North Carolina)
2. Jimmy Webb, 2015, OF, Loyalsock Township (Wake Forest)
3. Luke Glavin, 2015, RHP, Loyalsock Township (Duke)
4. Nick Dunn, 2015, C/Util, Shikellamy (Maryland)
5. Evan Steele, 2016, RHP, Williamsport Area
6. John Bowman, 2015, RHP, Canton
7. Brady Lloyd, 2015, SS, Mifflinburg Area (East Carolina)
8. Andrew Malone, 2017, LHP, Loyalsock Township
9. Hunter Shuff, 2015, RHP, Midd-West (Mount St. Mary's)
10. Noah Inch, 2016, LHP, Lewisburg Area
*Note: Muncy 2015 RHP/C Kenny Koch was excluded from consideration for the list, as he has exhausted his PIAA eligibility and will not compete this spring.

Class A

John BowmanCanton has had its season ended each of the past two years by the eventual state champion (Devon Prep in the state quarterfinals last year and Johnsonburg in the state title game the year prior). Following the graduation of four players who received all-NTL post-season recognition, including the Player of the Year and co-Pitcher of the Year, the burden of leading the team will fall to three-sport (football/wrestling) star Bowman (right), an Honorable Mention selection, and senior 1st-team honoree Trevor Route.

Senior outfielder Maurice Brown (.338 AVG, .423 OBP, 17 SB), a 1st-team PHAC Division 3 all-star, will spark Muncy coach Joe Dunn's "pressure ball"-style offense. Brown's fellow seniors Scott Appleman, Jordan King, and Levi Myers, along with junior catcher Cameron Good, should contribute as well. Two-thirds of the staff's innings are up for grabs, with junior RHP Andrew Keller (22.1 IP, 20 H, 9 BB, 12 K) and senior RHPs Zach Zellers and Appleman poised to grab a larger share of the workload.

A senior-laden line-up with seven returning starters will try to get Montgomery Area over the hump this spring. Thomas Goetz (.500 AVG, .594 OBP, 9 BB vs 7 K, .648 SLG), Bailey Wilk (.349 AVG, .453 OBP), and Zach Shadle (.372 AVG, .471 OBP) are the top returning run-producers. Two of its three starting pitchers departed after graduation, leaving junior Dillon Gordon (39.1 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 48 K) to front a pitching staff that has no other holdover who threw more than four innings last season.

Aaron OvelmanPitching should be the calling card this spring for Millville, which has graduated only one player off the roster in the past two seasons. Alderson Broaddus-bound RHP Jared Solomon (42 IP, 25 H, 26 BB, 52 K), senior RHP Aaron Ovelman (42.1 IP, 35 H, 27 BB, 38 K), and junior RHP Brittan Kittle (14.2 IP, 11 H, 10 BB, 20 K) front coach Andy Belolan's staff.  Despite the efforts of those three -- Solomon (.350 AVG, .500 OBP), Bloomsburg-bound Ovelman (.300 AVG, 10 SB; right), Kittle (.283 AVG, .423 OBP) -- the rest of the offense will need to take a step forward, as the Quakers posted a team batting average under .200 last season. Sophomore RHP/IF Kelly Holdren is one underclassman on whom to keep an eye.

Northeast Bradford doubled its win total (from three to six) last year; if they can double it again, they should secure themselves a district playoff berth. Junior 2nd-team all-NTL SS/RHP Nik Geiser will front a Panthers pitching staff that will have no less than seven underclassmen -- including sophomore RHPs Bryan Horton and Nate Chilson -- in the mix for innings. Geiser (.364 AVG, .463 OBP), plus fellow 2nd-teamers in senior second baseman Aaron Pifer (.418 AVG, .500 OBP, 21 SB) and sophomore outfielder Garret Smith (.484 AVG, .548 OBP) will lead coach Brian Pifer's offense.

Class AA

Andrew MaloneIf you don't know about Loyalsock Township by now, we're glad you chose to crawl out from under your rock and visit the PBR website. Welcome! As for coach Jeremy Eck's crew, they will be swinging for their third straight state championship this spring. Three seniors (Datres, Webb, Glavin) are committed to ACC schools. Two others (third baseman Tommy Baggett and catcher Evan Moore) are headed to Shippensburg. Polished southpaw Malone (right) leads a group of youngsters who are ready to step into larger roles. The Lancers will begin their season at the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, an invitation-only tournament that features some of the top teams and players in the country.

After riding its pitching the last couple of years, Hughesville may rely more on run-scoring for its success this spring. Despite graduating eight from last year's PHAC Division II champs, the Spartans anticipate a solid offensive club, led by senior third baseman Christian Fish, sophomore C/SS Ryan McClain, junior first baseman Alex Welch, senior outfielder Sean Poust, and junior outfielder Zach Fry. LHP Fry is among a group vying for innings on coach Casey Waller's staff that also includes senior RHP Logan Reynolds, junior RHP Avery Eddy, and junior LHP Logan Bower.

Following a run to the state quarterfinals, its time to reload for Bloomsburg Area, which must replace three 1st-team PHAC Division III all-stars, including current Stanford RHP Colton Hock. Coach Keith Thrush will be developing an inexperienced group on the fly, one that should be led by 2nd-team senior outfielder Sam Miller (.359 AVG, 22 SB), plus junior infielders Tyson Thrush and Coty Kashner. The Panthers do return a couple of varsity tested pitchers in senior RHP J.T. Vought (20.1 IP, 21 K) and RHP Thrush (24.2 IP, 17 K), who could be joined by sophomore LHP Zach Adamchick on this year's staff.

A Southern Columbia Area line-up that graduated five starters could be down a sixth, as well-rounded junior shortstop Blake Marks (.519 AVG, .554 OBP, 7 BB vs 2 K, .740 SLG, 8 SB), a 1st-team all-PHAC Division III honoree, tore his ACL during football; his status for this season is unknown to us at this time. Junior outfielder Steve Toczylousky (.385 AVG, .467 OBP) performed well as a part-time player and should get an opportunity for a larger role this spring, as SCA jumps over to PHAC Division II. Senior Honorable Mention selection John Wilson (53.2 IP, 40 H, 14 BB, 59 K), who logged nearly half of the Tigers innings last spring, should get support from senior Jacob Ryan (9.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 12 K), and, if healthy, Marks (11.1 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 12 K), both of whom were solid in limited opportunities.

Seven position player regulars return for South Williamsport, led by the senior duo of 1B Anthony Caruso and OF Riley Thomas, both 1st-team PHAC Division II all-stars. The ace of coach Shawn Finn's staff graduated, but RHP Thomas and LHP Caruso will hope to hold down the fort on the mound, possibly getting help from 6-foot-4 senior LHP Cody Nelson, who is recovering from a meniscus tear after missing most of last season due to an arm injury.

Troy Area welcomes back eight position player starters this spring. Senior OF Brandon Mattocks is coming off a 1st-team all-NTL campaign during which he hit over .400 with twelve extra-base hits, while senior Honorable Mention Jarod Mattocks has been a stalwart at shortstop since his freshman season. Senior 3B/RHP Isaac Havens and junior RHP/C Kyle Schucker both earned 2nd-team recognition. Coach Steve Mattocks returns his entire starting rotation, including Schucker and senior RHP Kyle Jackson, the staff's strikeout leader two years running.

Wellsboro Area will feature a junior-laden line-up led by first-team all-Northern Tier League Util/RHP Dawson Prough (.596 AVG, 18 XBH, 6 BB vs 3 K) and catcher Nick Tremper. Coach Philip Prough will be looking for improved command out of his pitching staff -- the core of which includes junior RHPs Joe Allen, Prough, James Mundy and Sam Moss -- as Prough is the only returner who recorded more strikeouts than walks last spring.

J.P. LenkerYounger hitters will have to bide their time at Line Mountain this spring, as seven seniors return to the line-up, led by two 1st-team Tri-Valley all-stars in catcher J.P. Lenker (.460 AVG, 13 XBH; right) and infielder Kellan Masser (.411 AVG, 15 SB, 7 BB vs 2 K). Sophomore Justin Kaleta is the only returning underclassman, having started almost the entirety of his freshman season at second base. Coach Jon Raker has a senior-heavy pitching staff as well, fronted by the right-handed trio of Zach Bobb (26 IP, 38 H, 12 BB, 13 K), Masser (38 IP, 40 H, 23 BB, 30 K), and Brady Michael (19 IP, 19 H, 3 BB, 10 K).

Danville Area welcomes back two-thirds of its starting line-up, led by junior Joey Strausser (.368 AVG, .468 OBP), junior Tyler Fisher (.364 AVG, .444 OBP, 8 BB vs 7 K), and senior Mark Mullery (.351 AVG, .429 OBP). The Ironmen graduated 70% of their innings and will likely turn to Fisher (19 IP, 32 H, 6 BB, 18 K) and senior Bryson Cromley (17.2 IP, 23 H, 15 BB, 13 K) to pick up the slack.

Zack TocyloskiTwo-thirds of the Mount Carmel Area starting line-up returns, spearheaded by junior shortstop Brett Williams (.361 AVG, .451 OBP). Junior LHP Tyler Thompson (26.2 IP, 25 H, 23 BB, 27 K) will front rookie coach Duane Winnie's pitching staff, while senior RHPs Zach Tocyloski and Michael Pupo should have an opportunity to expand their role from last spring.

Drew NewcombFirst-baseman Michael Cooper tops a small senior class for Lewisburg Area, which will rely on a number of sophomores -- including shortstop Jack Marrara, catcher Wilson Fisher, and OF/RHP Sam Rosevear -- in key positions. The Dragons will be without one of their projected primary run-producers, outfielder Drew Newcomb (right), who tore his labrum during football and will not be able to swing a bat this spring. Inch looks to rebound from an injury plagued season to lead coach Kevin Kline's pitching staff.

Class AAA

With its three primary starting pitchers gone to graduation, Jersey Shore Area will likely go as far as its revamped pitching staff can take it. Junior Travis Bradley (33.1 IP, 24 H, 21 BB, 26 K) was last year's main bullpen weapon and the only holdover to log double-digit innings. The line-up should have more stability, as five regulars return, including senior PHAC Division I Player of the Year Zach Miller (.508 AVG, .561 OBP, 12 BB vs 6 K, 15 XBH) and senior 2nd-team infielder Brody Smith (.400 AVG, .453 OBP).

Midd-West returns the 1-2 punch atop its rotation in the form of Shuff (48.1 IP, 36 H, 30 BB, 48 K) and 2nd-team PHAC Division I pitcher Aaron Sharp (46.1 IP, 44 H, 28 BB, 39 K). Shuff (.304 AVG) and Sharp (.308 AVG) also hold down the middle infield when not toeing the rubber. Much of the rest of coach Chandler Sheaffer's offense departed, which leaves openings for senior first baseman Travis Zechman, senior outfielder Marcus Benfer, and sophomore catcher Tyler Martin to have a greater impact.

Nick DunnShikellamy welcomes back four PHAC Division I honorees from a season ago: toolsy 1st-team infielder Dunn (right), who was also a 2nd-team selection at pitcher, senior 1st-team catcher Colby Lahr, junior 2nd-team infielder Kyle Leitzel, and junior 2nd-team DH/Util Kobe Swanger.

Milton Area isn't just revamping its pitching staff, its practically reconstructing it from scratch after graduation cost it 95% of last year's innings. The offense may have to carry the Black Panthers, especially early on, with a trio of juniors -- Brandon Stokes (.350 AVG, .409 OBP), 2nd-team PHAC Division I infielder Gage Heller (.317 AVG), and Lance Fogelman (.265 AVG, .429 OBP, 9 BB vs 8 K) -- the top returning offensive contributors.

Brady LloydOnly four players logged innings for Mifflinburg Area last spring (and one of those tallied all of three outs). Two of the other three arms return for the Wildcats, who will need to develop some depth behind junior Dillan Weikel (52.1 IP, 50 H, 20 BB, 53 K) and senior Andy Aurand (28 IP, 37 H, 8 BB, 12 K). The offense has plenty of experience, however, with seven regulars back, led by junior Brian Zimmerman (.361 AVG, .487 OBP, 14 SB) and Lloyd (.379 AVG, .429 OBP, 5 BB vs 4 K, 11 SB, right).

Selinsgrove Area graduated five of its top hitters, leaving senior infielder Isaiah Rapp (.271 AVG) and senior outfielder Manny Little (.256 AVG) as the only holdovers to hit over .250 last year. Commanding the strike zone better will be the challenge for Seals returning pitchers, led by Rapp (26.2 IP, 33 H, 18 BB, 19 K), who combined to walk more than they struck out last spring.

Class AAAA (forms sub-region with District II)

First-year head coach Corey Twigg will be tasked with revamping the Williamsport Area pitching staff, which lost 91% of its innings from last year. Looking to help pick up the slack are senior RHP Bradley Walter, live-armed Steele, and Oberlin commit Ian Dinsmore (11 IP, 11 H, 9 BB, 13 K). Outfielder Steele (.400 AVG, .575 SLG), third baseman Dinsmore (.379 AVG, .636 SLG), and shortstop Alec Fantaskey (.250 AVG, .383 OBP), a Waynesburg commit, are the only returning everyday starters in the Millionaires line-up.

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