Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 10 Verona Area



The Wisconsin high school season kicks off on March 29, the first day for regular season games. Most teams will begin practicing on March 21, getting their rosters set and finalizing their lineups.

Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, 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 have been sending out our annual Preseason Questionnaire to coaches all across the state and as the responses flood in we will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team. If you don’t see your team’s season preview make sure your head coach fills out his Preseason Questionnaire.

Team: Verona Area
Preseason Rank: 10
2015 Record: 17-11
Conference: Big Eight
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach:
Brad D'Orazio
Playoff Run: Lost in Sectional Final
2015 Final Rank: Not Ranked 
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 3


TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Ben Rortvedt WI Verona Area
2016 C Arkansas
Keaton Knueppel WI Verona Area 2016 LHP Gonzaga
Stephen Lund WI Verona Area 2018 INF/C
Gonzaga
Jacob Slonim WI Verona Area 2017 INF

Brad Laufenberg WI Verona Area 2017 RHP
Sam Favour WI Verona Area 2016 OF

Tyler McClure WI Verona Area 2017 INF

 

X-FACTOR
Stephen LundSophomore INF/C Stephen Lund will be tasked with providing protection in the lineup to one of the top bats in the country in Ben Rortvedt. Last season Lund hit .333 with eight doubles and two triples. Lund will most likely get a lot of opportunities to drive in runs this year as teams will work around Rortvedt.

Stat Rat
.533: Ben Rortvedt’s OBP last season. In addition to reaching base 53% of the time, Rortvedt only struck out six times in 107 plate appearances. Look for more of the same this season, as many teams will most likely pitch around him as he is not only one of the top bats in the state but in the country as well.

OUTLOOK
Ben RortvedtVerona games will be highly attended this year as many scouts will be in attendance to get a look at Ben Rortvedt. Rortvedt, an Arkansas commit, is currently ranked No. 19 in the PBR Draft 100. He hit .437 last year with five home runs and was named to first team all state. Gonzaga commit Keaton Knueppel will lead the staff after going 8-2 with a 1.26 ERA, while striking out 78 hitters in 61 innings pitched last season. Brad Laufenberg will slot in Keaton Knueppelrotation after Knueppel as he posted a 2.54 ERA last year in 30.1 innings pitched. The Wildcats will need to improve their infield defense this year by limiting errors, as they will have two new starters on the diamond. Verona plays in one of the toughest conferences in the state and will have to hold off defending D1 champion Craig and perennial power Sun Prairie to win the Big Eight this year.

If you are a high school coach and have yet to send in your Preseason Questionnaire please fill one out HERE.