Final Wisconsin Power 25 Update
June 19, 2023
The 2023 WIAA season has officially come to a close, as four teams were crowned champions at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis., on June 15, the final day of the competition across Division 1, 2, 3, and 4. Upsets were a storyline throughout the entirety of the playoffs, but some of the top teams were able to come out on top in their respective divisions.
This is our first update since the end of the regular season, as teams played through the WIAA Regionals, Sectionals, and the State Tournament that capped off the season. A surprise team held up the Division 1 trophy in Appleton, as Whitefish Bay rattled off six straight wins to take the title. In the most dramatic game of the day, the Ithaca Bulldogs played upset and defeated Pecatonica in the Division 4 final, a team who had only lost once during the regular season. On the other hand, Denmark and St. Croix Falls, two of the most consistent teams in the WIAA this year, each completed their run at a title in their respective divisions.
You can find full game recaps on those games by clicking here.
As we tie the bow on this 2023 season, we have one final update on the Power 25 rankings. A major shakeup came within the rankings, naturally, as multiple upsets and champions emerged over the past three weeks of play, since we last updated the board prior to the postseason.
Below are some of the teams who left their marks on the 2023 season, as eight newcomers emerged in the top-25, including our new No. 1.
AT THE TOP
+ No. 1 Whitefish Bay (25-7): After falling short of the state tournament in 2022 – having entered both last year’s regular season and playoffs as the overwhelming D1 favorite – the Blue Dukes overcame some mid-season struggles and eventually corrected their course to wind up in Appleton for the first time in program history. Their 5-1 victory over Hortonville in the championship game ultimately landed them their first-ever state title in baseball, too.
After experiencing heartbreak in the 2022 season, Whitefish Bay bounced back in the 2023 playoff stretch, taking home the Division 1 State Title with a victory over Hortonville.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 16, 2023
FINAL: @WFB_Baseball 5️⃣ | Hortonville 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/Ll2fJAfTjW
As much as the offense did the heavy lifting over the course of the season, it was the pitching staff who stepped up for Whitefish Bay in their six playoff games. LHP Tyler Andrews (2024), LHP Charlie McIntyre (2026), and RHP Alex Brodersen (2024) combined to give up just six runs in those six matchups, including a no-hitter coming from Andrews in a Sectional Semifinal matchup against conference rivals Nicolet. As their arms raised their level of play, MIFs Jack Counsell (2023; Michigan commit) and JD Dix (2024; Alabama) were sparks at the top of the order for the Blue Dukes, which emerged as one of the top offenses in the state when the season came to a close. 1B Austin Wienke (2023; Marshall) also became one of the team’s best run-producers, driving in a total of seven runs in three games at Fox Cities Stadium. Whitefish Bay defeated three previously ranked inside the top-10 over their run, taking down No. 5 Menomonee Falls, No. 7 Stevens Point Area, and the aforementioned No. 3 (now No. 2) Polar Bears. Stars and key role players elevating their level of play was the formula for success in this playoff run, as the Blue Dukes finished on top in an unpredictable 2023 WIAA season.
+ No. 2 Hortonville (25-5): Despite dropping the Division 1 Championship Game, the pitching staff and electric play of the Polar Bears moved them up to No. 2 overall in our final update, as they demonstrated their dominance throughout most of the regular season and throughout their playoff run. RHPs Thomas Burns (2023; Arizona State) and Nathan Vela (2023; Winona State) turned in their usual performances in Appleton, combining to give up one run and five hits in two games. They were key pieces to Hortonville’s success in the 2023 campaign, as the team only lost two games to rival Kimberly, and their final matchup against Whitefish Bay in their WIAA competition this season.
RHP Thomas Burns (2023; @ASU_Baseball commit) strikes out his eighth batter of the evening to win it for Hortonville. The Polar Bears advance to play on Wednesday in the Semifinals against Franklin.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 13, 2023
FINAL: Hortonville 3️⃣ | Middleton 0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/dLom5Bx0BF
INFs Camden Kuhnke (2023; Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Brett Sommer (2023; Wisconsin-Whitewater) powered the offense, which provided timely hitting throughout their Sectional matchups and the State Tournament. 1B/DH Joe Fischer (2023; McHenry County JC) and 1B Hayden Timm (2023) rounded out a senior-heavy order that displayed their talent and experience on the biggest stage of the season, finishing as the runners-up in the Division 1 field.
+ No. 3 Denmark (30-2): For the third straight season, the Vikings were crowned champions of the Division 2 field after defeating St. Thomas More in the title matchup, which required 11 innings to determine a D2 champ. Legendary head coach Bill Miller and his team rattled off 17 straight wins before entering Appleton, and secured two more victories to cap off another championship season.
Denmark secures the final out and is crowned Division 2 champions once again. Head coach Bill Miller and the Vikings are just the fourth team in WIAA history to win three consecutive championships, as it was last done by Sun Prairie between 2012-14.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 15, 2023
FINAL/11: Denmark 3️⃣ | STM 2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/3IXZlAAvw1
Leading the way, and in a multitude of ways on and off the field, was the son of the head coach, RHP/INF Lucas Miller (2023; Wisconsin-Whitewater), who shutout Jefferson in the semifinals for 5.2 innings. Miller entered the tournament hitting .542 as well, showcasing his ability to consistently reach base and spray line-drives all over the field. The star prospect received help from his fellow teammates too, as RHP/INF Ethan Ovsak (2023) and C Rheis Johnson (2023; Saint Mary’s, MN) each earned their third ring to cap off their decorated prep careers. Ovsak was ultra-efficient on the mound in the title matchup, throwing 8.2 innings while controlling a potent St. Thomas More offense. After being injured early in the year, Denmark got their catcher back in Johnson, who emerged as a senior leader and quality backstop for the Vikings in their title run, providing power in the middle of their order. As the past two seasons shaped up for Denmark, their seniors continued to play quality baseball, while role players performed at a high level on both ends of the field, earning the Vikings their second 30-win season in three years. With this quality and consistent performance all season long, Denmark finishes at No. 3 in our rankings, as they’ve proven to be a fundamentally sound, relentless matchup for any team in the state, regardless of class.
RHP/INF Lucas Miller (2023; @UWWBaseball) has been a key piece to Denmark’s offense all year long. Today, he delivered yet again with an RBI double in a six-run fifth inning for the Vikings.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 14, 2023
Through five complete: Denmark 6️⃣ | Jefferson 0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/L658v0MbBQ
INSIDE THE TOP-10
+ No. 4 Janesville Craig (24-2): The Cougars dropped three spots in our final update after falling in the Sectional Semifinal to a state-bound Burlington team. Regardless of the early exit, Janesville Craig put together an impressive resume as the WIAA season came to a close. The champions from the Big Eight Conference only lost one game throughout the regular season, falling to Middleton, a program that also made it to Appleton this year. SS Jake Schaffner (2023; North Dakota State) and 1B/RHP Aiden Schenk (2023; North Dakota State) led the way, continuing to produce at a high level after putting together quality seasons in 2022. Schaffner only struck out once while hitting .552 on the year, an impressive feat in one of the tougher conferences in the state. Those two got help from a strong senior class, including OF Devin Gudenschwager (2023; Lake County JC), RHP Denver Hughes (2023), and OF Jackson Adams (2023; Wisconsin-Stevens Point). Other role players helped out in accumulating 24 wins on the season, including C Ryan Lemm (2025), one of the only underclass starters on this experienced roster. The Cougars remain a top-five team in the state’s final update, but will need to find a way reload a majority of their production for the 2024 season.
+ No. 5 St. Thomas More (27-3): The Cavaliers had a successful 2023, and had a lot to show for it by the end of the season. St. Thomas More played against a tough non-conference schedule, and escaped with only two losses during the regular season by a combined three runs. They were undefeated in the Division 2 field before running into Denmark in the state title game, where they only lost by a run in 11 innings. All of that success led them to be runners-up, and a top-five team in the Power 25 to end the season. RHP Elijah Niemiec (2023; Wisconsin-Stevens Point), RHP/INF Kyle Alivo (2024; Iowa), and RHP/INF Samuel Mommer (2024) dominated on the pitching end of things, as they were a staff that combined to 16 wins before entering the State Tournament. While both Alivo and Mommer powered the offense as well, the major catalyst of this team was SS Alexander Alicea (2023; Louisville), who consistently performed at a high level in all aspects of the game, including stealing 57 bases without being caught. Alicea was joined by other prospects who stepped up in the process, including INF Oliver Gonzalez (2024), OF Bennett Karolewicz (2024), C Brady Johnson (2024), and INF Brayden Alivo (2026). This constant success, along with a younger group of athletes, shapes up the Cavaliers well for the 2024 campaign, as they come back with that same experience and talent.
SS Alex Alicea (St. Thomas More, 2023; @LouisvilleBSB) has his trademark start to the game: single, steals second on the eighth pitch of the game, scores on the ninth from a single.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 14, 2023
Alicea is now 56-for-56 on steals this season.
Top of the first: Cavaliers 1️⃣ | Railroaders 0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/gX24z6JLQp
+ No. 6 Franklin (26-5): The Sabers hold onto their spot at No. 6 after making a run to the semifinals of the State Tournament, finishing a game away from the championship matchup. Despite the loss, Franklin put together yet another solid season, consistently defeating their competition in a variety of ways. A similar trend to the teams up above, seniors were key to the success of the Sabers in 2023. It started with SS Boston Halloran (2023; Oakland), C Dylan Cunningham (2023; Wisconsin-Stevens Point), and 1B Maxamillion Martin (2023; Kaskaskia JC), who each performed well in their starter’s role this season.
Down one in the seventh, C Dylan Cunningham (2023; @UWSPbaseball commit) roped a two-out double. Which was followed by a RBI single from 1B Maxamillion Martin (2023; Kaskaskia JC commit), to tie the game.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 12, 2023
Going into the eighth: Franklin 8️⃣ | Burlington 8️⃣ pic.twitter.com/pNkYEDgryk
Underclassmen OF/RHP Bennett Schueller (2026), RHP Joe Herrick (2025), and MIF Mitchell Semancik (2025) rounded out a lineup that only dropped four games against quality competition during the regular season. As for the pitching staff, Schueller, along with RHP Cooper Kamlay (2024) and RHP Noah Musolf (2023; Madison JC) combined to do most of the heavy lifting for the Sabers, as all three arms found success in the 2023 campaign, including Kamlay earning a win in relief against Burlington in the State Quarterfinal. While having a number of seniors graduating this year, a plethora of underclassmen keeps this Franklin team relevant for the future in 2024.
+ No. 7 Kimberly (23-4): After being eliminated by De Pere in the Sectional Semifinal, the Papermakers dropped to No. 7 in our final update, still putting together a successful 2023 season under head coach Ryan McGinnis. The group picked up over Appleton East, one of the only teams to beat them in the regular season, to advance to the Sectionals. RHP Brayden Deering (2023; Upper Iowa), C Maxwell Kalk (2023; Ball State), INF Kale Twombly (2023), and C/OF Evan Olson (2023; Wisconsin-Whitewater) all performed well for Kimberly throughout the season, but will be departing from the program after this year. RHP/INF Sawyer Deering (2025) and LHP Brady Koester (2025; Notre Dame), among others, look to replace that production, coming off of a season where they won the Fox Valley Association with a 17-1 conference record.
+ No. 8 Menomonee Falls (25-5): For the third straight year, the Phoenix returned to Fox Cities Stadium to compete in the State Tournament, dropping a tight quarterfinals matchup, 7-5, to the eventual D1 champions Whitefish Bay. Despite the quarterfinals exit, the experienced group from the greater Milwaukee area breezed through their Regional and Sectional, as they relied on a pitching staff that only gave up two runs in two games. RHP/1B Zach Wolfram (2023), who put together another quality two-way season, earned two wins for the Phoenix during that time, and he finished undefeated on the mound in the regular season. RHP Grant Schultz (2023; Wisconsin-Oshkosh) helped in the process as well, along with RHP/INF Derek Steinbrenner (2023). On the offensive end, INF Keli Grennier (2023; McHenry County JC) and OF Jack Anderson (2023; Saint Mary’s - MN), two bats that have been at the top of the Phoenix order for multiple years, were major contributors to their 25-win season. With that strong senior class graduated, Menomonee Falls looks to reload in 2024 with prospects such as RHP Ty Cieslewicz (2024), OF Jordan Hedrick (2024), and C Wilson Kershner (2024).
3B/RHP Zach Wolfram (2023), who entered the tournament with some of the top regular season statistics, launches a #PBRBombSquad to give @MFallsBaseball the lead, erasing a 4-0 deficit.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 12, 2023
After five innings of play: Menomonee Falls 5️⃣ | Whitefish Bay 4️⃣ pic.twitter.com/tcKO2SHbz9
+ No. 9 Stevens Point Area (26-2): The Panthers entered the playoffs with one of the best records in the state, as they advanced all the way to the State Semifinals before being eliminated by Whitefish Bay. Before that though, they picked up wins over Wausau West, River Falls, Hudson, and Hartford Union in the playoffs to be one of the final four teams in the Division 1 field. RHPs Josh Opiola (2023) and Ty Rechner (2024) were key arms in that formula of success, combining to be 21-0 on the mound before entering Appleton. The offense was clicking all season for Stevens Point as well, led by OF Braylen Nystrom (2024), INF Devin Mrozek (2023), and INF Ben Fonti (2023), who had the highest batting average on the team at .471. The Panthers just fell short of a State Title appearance, but represented well in a tough conference while facing quality non-conference opponents throughout the season, earning them a top-10 bid in the Power 25.
Hartford was threatening after a pair of singles to start the inning. But, after a successful pickoff and two huge strikeouts from RHP Ty Rechner (2024), Stevens Point survived and advanced to the Semifinals.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 12, 2023
FINAL: Stevens Point 6️⃣ | Hartford Union 5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/6vbjmH05m3
+ No. 10 Burlington (21-10): The Demons pulled off one of the most magical runs in this year’s WIAA playoffs, defeating three previously ranked teams in a row before losing in a tight Quarterfinal matchup to Franklin up at Fox Cities Stadium. After eliminating Kettle Moraine in the Regional Final, Burlington entered Sectionals as major underdogs to Janesville Craig. The Demons played upset and took down the Cougars, all to follow it up with a 7-0 defeat of Union Grove to advance to the State Tournament. RHP Aben Beinlich (2024) and RHP/INF Kaleb Zabielski (2023) were the star pitchers in this run for Burlington, combining to only allow three runs in three games. While both of those prospects hit towards the top of the lineup, they got help from SS Wren Dietz (2023), INF Carter Baumeister (2025), and C/DH Ryan Dummer (2024). Dummer provided multiple clutch hits at Sectionals and at State, being a force at the plate for the Demons. Head coach Scott Staude and Burlington put together another quality season, giving the 10th spot in our rankings and momentum for the 2024 season.
DH/C Ryan Dummer (2024) sends a double to the opposite field to plate the first run of the game for Burlington. They follow it up with a sacrifice fly to extend their lead.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 12, 2023
In the bottom of the second: Burlington 2️⃣ | Franklin 0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/2B4E7vqbVQ
+ No. 14 De Pere (22-8): The Redbirds had to go through a gauntlet of a schedule throughout the regular season, and it prepared them well for the playoffs. De Pere was able to advance to the Sectional Final before being eliminated by Hortonville, but they did major damage along the way. After run-ruling Green Bay Southwest, the Redbirds came back and defeated a strong Bay Port team to advance to the Pulaski Sectional. Less than a week later, a strong outing from RHP Easton Arendt (2024) on the bump allowed the team to defeat Kimberly, pulling off a major upset on one of the most important days of the year in the WIAA. Arendt, along with RHP Landon Raygo (2024) did quality work on the mound for De Pere all season long, and continued to show well in this playoff stretch. On the offensive end, INF Axel Donaldson (2024), INF Javin Gauthier (2024), and C Bryan Gerbers (2023; Crown College) emerged as the top hitters for this team, in addition to the production that Arendt and Raygo provided. Despite falling short of a state tournament appearance, the Redbirds still shoot up all the way to No. 14 in our rankings due to their playoff success and strength of victories over the course of the season.
+ No. 20 St. Croix Falls (27-3): The Saints make their first appearance on the final Power 25 update of the season, as this team won the Division 3 State Title behind multiple stellar performances on the mound and on the offensive end. RHP/INF Brayden Olson (2023; Purdue) was the two-way star for St. Croix Falls, both in our looks at the State Tournament, and throughout the course of the season.
After finishing as Runners-Up last season, @CroixFalls secures the 2023 Division 3 Championship behind a complete game effort from RHP Dylan Smith (2023), who struck out five batters, including the final out ⬇️.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 15, 2023
FINAL: St. Croix Falls 3️⃣ | Aquinas 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/BBQ5zSjjCq
The Purdue commit threw a complete game in a run-rule victory against Kiel in the State Semifinal, where he also hit a home run in the matchup as well, his 11th of the year. He followed that up with a quality performance at the third base position for the Saints against La Crosse Aquinas, making diving plays to help win a title. He got help from 1B Brady Belisle (2023), C Nolan Imhoff (2023), and INF Michael Shannon (2023) on the offensive end. As for the pitching, RHP Dylan Smith (2023) stepped up and threw a complete game against the Blugolds to win the State Championship, a place where St. Croix Falls fell short in their 2022 run. The Saints earned their championship, and finished the season at No. 20 in the Power 25.
RHP Brayden Olson (2023; @PurdueBaseball commit) strikes out his 12th batter of the morning on a 91 mph FB to advance @CroixFalls to the Division 3 Championship Game.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 14, 2023
FINAL/6: St. Croix Falls 🔟 | Kiel 0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/0KL195oMjf
+ No. 21 Middleton (22-9): The Cardinals maintained an under-the-radar presence throughout the entirety of the season, as they defeated Sun Prairie West and Verona in the Sectionals to make a run at the State Tournament. It was there where they ran into a tough team in Hortonville and dropped the Quarterfinal matchup. Regardless of the loss, Middleton put together a quality 2023. RHP Noah Schmitt (2023) and RHP/INF Jacob Guerrero (2023) were two seniors who produced the most on the mound for the Cardinals, as Guerrero entered the State Tournament with eight wins under their belt. Schmitt was the lone arm in the regular season to defeat Janesville Craig, as he held the Cougars to just one run during their matchup earlier in the season. Offensively, C Wyatt Baird (2023), INF Alden Cleary (2023), and INF/RHP Hayden Hellenbrand (2023; Edgewood College) made up the top of the order and powered Middleton to multiple victories against tough competition in the Big Eight Conference. They enter at No. 21 in the Power 25 after their undefeated run through Regionals and Sectionals to get to Appleton to end the year.
+ No. 22 La Crosse Aquinas (23-4): After being the only Division 3 to be ranked in the Power 25 in 2023, the Blugolds are back in the rankings due to their run to the State Tournament, as they finished as Runners-Up in the Division 3 field. OF Calvin Hargrove (2023) and INF/RHP Eddie Peters (2024; Xavier) were two upperclassmen that led the way for La Crosse Aquinas, as both prospects produced at the plate and on the defensive end all season long, including a .500 batting average from Hargrove. While those two provided an offensive spark, RHP/INF Tanner Peterson (2024) and RHP Will Deets (2024) were dominant on the mound, combining for a 13-2 record entering the State Tournament. Each arm showed well in Appleton, reflecting their season as a whole. A majority of this talent and experience for the Blugolds returns in 2024 behind a strong senior class, as the group only graduates two seniors in 2023, shaping them up to be one of the favorites in the Division 3 competitors.
SS Eddie Peters (2024; @XavierBASE commit) gives Aquinas the lead early on here, driving a double to the opposite field to plate a run.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 14, 2023
After one inning of play: Aquinas 1️⃣ | Random Lake 0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/UU3bRiQD6q
+ No. 24 Kettle Moraine Lutheran (25-5): The Chargers end the season with their first appearance on the Power 25 after finishing a game away from the State Tournament for the second straight season. They once again made it to the Sectional Final with the help of RHP’s Landon Hagenow (2024) and Jackson Kobylarczyk (2025), who each picked up playoff wins in their run. Both prospects were key from a two-way perspective as well, getting help from other contributors in INF Sam Ehlke (2024) and C Hunter Abitz (2023; MATC), who hit a walk-off grand slam in their 6-3 win over Grafton in the Sectional Semifinal. 1B/RHP Brett Biondich (2026; TCU) came onto the scene and produced right away for Kettle Moraine Lutheran, emerging as the cleanup hitter and a run-producer, while also earning some innings on the mound. The youth and past success of the Chargers shapes them up to be a tough team in 2024, as they’ve continued to make deep runs in the playoffs for the past couple of seasons.
+ No. 25 Altoona (23-5): The Railroaders wrapped up the final spot in our Power 25 this spring, as the representatives from the Middle Border Conference made an appearance at the State Tournament and finished as one of the four remaining teams in Division 2 in 2023. Before that, Altoona defeated Ellsworth, St. Croix Central, Ashland, and West Salem to make it to Appleton, behind the performances of their star players. C Evan Gustafson (2023; Oregon State) and INF Trent Cornell (2024; San Francisco) had a consistent presence at the top of the order, producing both offensively and defensively. OF CJ Varsho (2023; Winona State), INF Colin Boyarski (2023), and INF Cameron St. John (2025; Pepperdine) all contributed on the offensive end as well, scoring over 10 runs in 11 games this season. The Railroaders hung around the top 25 and “Teams to Watch” list for a majority of the season due to the addition of RHP Bennett Stokke (2025), who dominated on the mound throughout the course of the regular season, and in multiple playoff games. His presence, among others, makes Altoona a dangerous team for the future in the northwest portion of the Badger State.
ON THE BUBBLE
+ Chilton (24-3)
+ Hartford Union (18-13)
+ Ithaca (21-7)
+ Jefferson (24-7)
+ Kettle Moraine (19-9)
+ Kiel (24-3)
+ Lake Country Lutheran (21-7)
+ Manitowoc Lincoln (20-5)
+ Medford Area (23-5)
+ Mosinee (22-3)
+ Pecatonica (24-2)
+ Reedsburg (19-4)
+ River Falls (18-7)
+ Wisconsin Lutheran (20-5)