Back

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 10 Oak Creek


Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Wisconsin/Illinois

The Wisconsin high school season kicks off on March 26th, the first day for regular season games.

Leading up to the opening week of games we will be rolling out team previews of our top 25 high school teams all across the state and across all classifications, counting down 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: Oak Creek
Preseason Rank: 10
2018 Record: 23-8
Conference: Southeast
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Scott Holler
Playoff Run: Sectional Finals
2018 Final Rank: NA
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 2

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment

Colin Kalinowski

WI

Oak Creek

2019

C

McHenry County JC

Logan Brahm

WI

Oak Creek

2020

3B/RHP


Gunnar Doyle

WI

Oak Creek

2020

OF


Tyler Peck

WI

Oak Creek

2021

RHP


Isaac Englebrecht

WI

Oak Creek

2021

RHP


Brandon Lenczner

WI

Oak Creek

2019

SS


Joel Grunert

WI

Oak Creek

2019

1B/LHP


Cade Pisca

WI

Oak Creek

2019

RHP

St. Cloud Tech CC

Ian Rybarik

WI

Oak Creek

2019

RHP



KEY PLAYERS LOST

Alex Binelas, 3B (Louisville)

NEWCOMER TO WATCH

RHP Tyler Peck is currently ranked as one of the top ten prospects in Wisconsin’s 2021 class. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound righty, should be able to step in and perform right away, mostly due to the polish we’ve already seen out of the youngster. He’s a typical strike thrower with advanced stuff for his age. His fastball already sits 83-85 mph, and don’t be surprised to see that climb as the temperatures do. His curveball and changeup already show steady confidence, and could make him a difference make from day one.

 

Tyler Peck (3.3.19)

STAT RAT

11 of the last 14 Greater Metro Conference titles have been won by the Oak Creek Knights, that’s quite a run, and a run that comes to an end in 2019. Oak Creek will leave the Greater Metro Conference as they make the switch to spring baseball, joining their natural conference, the Southeast. Oak Creek makes the fourth Southeast Conference team to crack our Preseason Power 25, speaking to the strength of this year’s conference.  

X-FACTORS

Outfielder Gunnar Doyle returns to the mix after sitting out his sophomore campaign to play club baseball in the summer. As a freshman, Doyle started and hit six-hole for the Knights, on another conference championship team. His freshman year numbers even earned him an all-conference mention, so to insert his bat back into a 23-9 club that returns six of its position players from a year ago is a huge boost. Look for Doyle to be a mainstay in the outfield while his left-handed bat gets inserted firmly into the middle of the lineup.

Gunnar Doyle (3.3.19)

OUTLOOK

Oak Creek returns six position players from their 2018 squad that helped the program win their sixth straight GMC title.  However, they did lose one of the best left-handed bats in the country, infielder Alex Binelas, and their top four pitchers from 2018. Binelas is already off to a strong start at Louisville, and Coach Holler and the Knights will be looking for answers to fill his void.

The Knights do have six returning position players who gained valuable experience in 2018, plus an exceptionally strong sophomore class that will need to mature in a hurry. The Knights biggest question mark will come on the mound, and that may be where the sophomore’s step in. The most significant returning contribution on the mound come from senior Ian Rybarik who went 3-2 with a 0.94 ERA. LHP Joel Grunert also saw time on the mound and can work in the low 80’s from the left side.

However, the Knights will pick up some help from club ball players and underclassmen to likely put together rather deep staff. Senior RHP Cade Pisca adds to the mix, a St. Cloud Tech commit, Pisca has a low 80’s fastball with an advanced swing and miss type slider. Now come the sophomores, and this is where the Knights will have options. RHP Tyler Peck (mentioned above) is the most highly touted of the bunch. RHP Isaac Englebrecht is an imposing 6-foot-3, 190-pounds and can sling it up to 85 mph with above average slider. RHP Maximus Graetz is a 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed who shows easy control of the baseball working up to 84 mph with a three pitch strike throwing mix. Jacob Thoresen is another Knight right-hander already sitting in the low 80’s, Thoresen has shown a strike-thrower’s mentality with three above average pitches for his age. That’s a pretty hefty four horseman in the Oak Creek 2021 class. Now we’re not saying they will all make varsity impacts this year, but the talent is clearly there if Coach Holler needs to go to it. And if they look to go younger than that, watch out for freshman Luke Klekamp who brings unique 82 mph fastball from a ¾ slot and has serious upside.

Around the infield may be the most experience the Knights have coming back, and junior Logan Brahm could lead the way. Brahm got the call to varsity about mid-way through the 2018 season and soon found himself hitting four-hole and driving in runs. He’s a strong bat that could pair nicely with the left-handed hitting Doyle in the middle of that lineup. Brandon Lenczner and Nolan Paar return on the dirt as well. Lenczner is a sure handed middle infielder that should remain at shortstop for the Knights.

Brandon Lenczner (9.23.18)

Colin Kalinowski returns behind the dish and he’ll be tasked with grooming these young arms into varsity form. Coach Holler may have no better option either, as Kalinowski may be one of the best defensive catchers to walk through the program. He’s a left-handed hitter on top of that, but his ultimate value may be in bringing senior leadership to an inexperienced pitching staff.

BOTTOM LINE

Oak Creek is coming off a tough Sectional Finals loss to eventual summer state champ Muskego in eight innings, and losing one of the best left-handed bats the state of Wisconsin has seen in a while. But the Knights will be retooled, and especially in the sophomore class. It will still be determined how deep they go into this class for varsity help, but the talent is there, and if anything, makes Oak Creek one of the deepest teams in the state.

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

Find more information on the 2019  below:

Preseason Power 25 Countdown