Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 1 Sun Prairie

By Andy Sroka & Steve Nielsen

The Wisconsin high school season kicks off on March 27th, the first day for regular season games.

Leading up to the opening week of games we will be rolling out team previews of high school teams all across the state and across all classifications, eventually launching our Preseason Power 25.

We will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team.

Team: Sun Prairie
Preseason Rank: 1
2017 Record: 25-7
Conference: Big Eight
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Rob Hamilton
Playoff Run: D-1 state runner-up
2017 Final Rank: 2
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 4


Taylor Middaugh, RHP
Walker Jenkins, SS/RHP (Madison College)
Ben Hauser, OF (Air Force)
JP Suchomel, 3B


Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Carson Holin WI Sun Prairie 2018 OF  
Alex Oakley WI Sun Prairie 2018 OF  
Ty Hamilton WI Sun Prairie 2018 C  
Jack Zander WI Sun Prairie 2018 RHP/1B
Taylor Jansen WI Sun Prairie 2018 RHP
Luke DePrey WI Sun Prairie 2018 LHP
Joe Hauser WI Sun Prairie 2020 SS

Newcomer to watch

The Cardinals don't have many holes to plug, but of the ones they do, they could find help in their underclassmen. Coach Hamilton needs to replace two infielders and an outfielder and sophomore OF Spencer Bartel and freshman INF Liam Moreno could fill those gaps. Bartel is an athletic outfielder with above average arm, speed and bat speed, while Moreno comes from a highly talented freshman crop of Cardinals that will be reloading the future of the program. Moreno's bat could step in and play right away and possibly defend second base. 


Sophomore sensation Joe Hauser will likely carry an even bigger role in 2018. As a freshman, Hauser was thrown into the mix of an experienced and hungry group looking to avenge their early exit from Appleton in 2016. Hauser was a mainstay in the lineup from day one as the double play partner to senior SS Walker Jenkins and he did not miss a beat at the keystone position. Hauser never looked like a freshman on the field and he is a high-end talent, one who has become one of the more intriguing recruits in the Midwest.

His sophomore season could be labeled a breakout by the the end of June. That type of season will be required if the Cardinals are looking to upgrade from last year’s hardware. Hauser hit .263 as a freshman, and posted a 2.65 ERA on the mound. His moxie and confidence allow his tools to play up and he showed it on one of the biggest stages of all last year in the state semis. Hauser was called upon in extra innings and picked up the win against Arrowhead striking out three in 1.1 innings, including Jeff Holtz, one of the state’s top hitters.

Hauser will likely move over to shortstop this year and up in the lineup. His value as a defender may override his chances of starting on the mound, if Coach Hamilton decides to use him in more of a closer role much like they did Walker Jenkins a year ago. Whatever the situation is, Hauser’s sophomore campaign is an integral one for the Cardinals.


The Sun Prairie Cardinals had never been on the losing end of a state title game until last year’s meeting with Kimberly. Sun Prairie has won eight championships in its program’s history and were seeking a ninth until the Papermakers’ three-run 6th inning ultimately ousted the Cardinals, leaving them 8-1 all-time in state championship games.

It’s never easy to cope with losing the last game on WIAA’s calendar, but head coach Rob Hamilton can relay to his troops that the month reads March again and the Cardinals have one of the best chances in Wisconsin to return to the title game. They’re returning a particularly strong group of bats this spring, made up mostly of seniors. Six of the seven top players listed above were featured in last June’s championship game and all seven saw action. Senior OF Carson Holin led the team with a .432 batting average in the regular season last year as well as a .608 slugging percentage. He roams the outfield alongside senior Alex Oakley who batted .402 last season, including the playoffs. The two of them are Sun Prairie’s primary run producers and it’ll be up to them to jumpstart this offense in order to put the game in control of their trustworthy arms on the mound. C Ty Hamilton should also be one of the most reliable bats within this lineup, joining fellow seniors OF/LHP Luke DePrey and 1B/RHP Jack Zander; all three hit well over .300 last season.

Coach Hamilton will only need to find replacements for two spots on the infield and one in the outfield. The good news for Cardinals fans is that their younger classes are stocking up on talent again, especially in a highly touted freshman class. Sun Prairie will be able to pull up capable options to fit onto its roster from its sophomore and freshmen classes, if the need arises.

Pitching will be a calling card for this year’s Cardinal squad. It’s deep and talented and it's bringing back a great deal of varsity experience. RHP Taylor Jansen will likely lead the way again as the ace, his 2.64 ERA was good for a 7-1 record and he has a big-upper 80s fastball.

Taylor Jansen (7.25.17)

Coach Hamilton will have several options behind him, all of whom are equipped with next-level stuff. Zander is a 6-foot-5 righty who sits in the mid 80s. The aforementioned Hauser could swing either way as a starter or closer in his role on the staff. Oakley will eat some more innings on the mound after going 5-0 in 30-plus innings pitched in 2017. Even Holin is a reliable strike thrower.

DePrey is the wild card of this group. The southpaw only logged five varsity innings a year ago, but he made some serious gains this past summer and we're eager to see how he handled his offseason. We’ve seen DePrey up to 86 mph, sitting 82-85. If he can get that to play in the strike zone in 2018, Coach Hamilton might have just found another arm another ace-type arm.


The Cardinals are the favorites to win next season’s D-1 title because of their optimal balance. They can hit, they can pitch, they can run, and Coach Hamilton excels at making sure they play a tight, error-free game, too. This senior class is prepared to overcome last year’s title game loss as well as the graduation of key number of contributors. And there’s so much talent in the junior and underclass ranks at Sun Prairie that it’s entirely possible a few role players emerge to nudge this team back into state so the Cardinals can re-acquaint themselves with what it’s like to win a championship -- because after three seasons, it’s been too long.

Playing in such a competitive conference probably does the Cardinals some good as they learn a little more about themselves and which juniors -- and maybe even sophomores and freshman -- are able to support their claim at another state playoff bid.

Find more information on the 2018 Cardinals below:

+ Full Schedule
+ Team Website

Make sure to follow @PBRWisconsin on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the season.