Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 10 Waupun


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: Waupun
Preseason Rank: 10
2017 Record: 26-6
Conference: East Central
WIAA Division: 2
Head Coach: Derrick Standke
Playoff Run: D-2 state runner-up
2017 Final Rank: 11
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 4

KEY PLAYERS LOST

Drew Behling, 3B (Rock Valley CC)

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Brenden Bille
WI Waupun 2018 RHP Rock Valley JC
Bryce Burmania
WI Waupun 2018 C  
Jak Lenz WI Waupun 2018 2B  
Caleb Sauer WI Waupun 2018 1B  
Reece Homan WI Waupun 2019 SS/RHP  
Caden Bronkhorst WI Waupun 2019 RHP
Baron Buchholz WI Waupun 2019 OF

Stat Rat

22: Is the number of wins the Warriors return on the mound from their 26-6 state runner-up season a year ago. Senior RHP Brenden Bille (10-2, 0.79) will headline a trio of returning arms that includes junior righties Caden Bronkhorst (9-3, 1.83) and Reece Homan (3-1, 3.50).

X-FACTOR

The Warriors don’t have many voids to fill, but the one left by third team all-stater Drew Behling will certainly be felt. The team doesn’t have many options to take over for Behling at third base, despite returning five starter who hit over .300 in 2017.

In terms of stepping into that three-hole and producing runs, look for junior SS Reece Homan to be the guy. While Behling was a power bat who led the team with five home runs last year, Homan drove in a whopping 44 runs and hit 14 doubles, leading the team in both categories by wide margins. Waupun will need similar production again out of their shortstop, and if he’s able to do that, he could also carve his name onto another all-state team.
Reece Homan (3.12.17)

OUTLOOK

Waupun has spent the past couple of seasons turning itself into a Division-2 power. Once WIAA’s Little Ten Conference folded and morphed into the East Central at the start of the 2016 season, the Warriors claimed the first two conference titles.

Their success went beyond their own conference, too. The D-2 program chugged all the way to the state title game a season ago where they came close to winning it all, but ultimately fell to West Salem, 8-6.

As difficult as it would be to pick up the pieces from a loss in the state championship, Waupun might have an easier time doing so this spring knowing that the majority of the team that carried them to Fox Cities Stadium is back.

Sure, it’ll be tough to fill the shoes of Behling, but knowing Homan is a force at the plate in his own right should give the Warriors some confidence on the left side of the infield. He won’t be the only bat the East Central needs to be worried about, though. Seniors C Bryce Burmania, 2B Jak Lenz, and 1B Caleb Sauer all recorded batting averages at .315 or better.

Burmania returns as the team’s catcher and will bolster Waupun’s seemingly endless stream of quality batters. Lenz is a four-year starter on varsity and has been an all-conference pick the last two years. And Sauer’s going to man first base again, where’s been planted the last three seasons. He hit .378 for the Warriors last spring.

The seniors will be backed up Homan and freshman OF Baron Buchholz. After Behling, Buchholz was arguably Waupun’s most productive hitter. He was second on the team with a .411 average and he also led the team in stolen bases. Another year perched atop this lineup as the Warriors’ catalyst should spell good things for this team in 2018.

What really separates Waupun from the rest of their conference is their rotation. Bille is a real No. 1. He sported a 0.79 ERA as the staff ace and was one of the main reasons Waupun waded through the competitive waters of the D-2 playoffs. He couldn’t do it alone, though, and he didn’t.

Bronkhorst was actually the pitcher who started the state title game, just a sophomore at the time. His outing wasn’t his best, but the entire game was uncharacteristically sloppy from the Warriors. If anything, it just goes to show how talented Bronkhorst is and how confident head coach Derrick Standke is in his junior arm.

bottom line

Waupun are once again D-2 heavyweights, favorites to make their way back to state. They’re the favorites because of all of the starters they have back in their lineup clamoring for another shot at a state title. Coach Standke knows it’ll be up to him to make sure his squad stays focused, taking their season game by game. They can’t get complacent and they can’t feel entitled to another chance at state glory.

They’ll have another obstacle to overcome in 2018, too. D-2 tank Catholic Memorial will now occupy a space in Waupun’s sectional field, making their road back to state that much tougher.

Find more information on the 2018 Warriors below:

+ Full Schedule
+ Team Website

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

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN