Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 23 Whitefish Bay


By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Wisconsin/Illinois

The WIAA high school baseball season opens on March 26, the opening day for prep baseball in Wisconsin.

Leading up to the opening week of action, we’ll be rolling out team-by-team previews, counting down to our state’s preseason No. 1-ranked program for the 2019 season. We’re combing over all classifications and corners of the state to determine our top-25 ranked teams ahead of what’s sure to be an historic campaign, with the merging of the spring and summer divisions into one single WIAA season.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our analysis.

Our 2019 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Whitefish Bay
Preseason Rank: 23
2018 Record: 16-15
Conference: North Shore
WIAA Division: 2
Head Coach: Jay Wojcinski
Playoff Run: Regional Round One
2018 Final Rank: NA
Returning Starters: 8
Returning Pitchers: 6

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment

Owen Jonas

WI

Whitefish Bay

2019

INF/RHP


Patrick Nau

WI

Whitefish Bay

2019

OF


Jake Lukach

WI

Whitefish Bay

2019

1B


Ben Otero

WI

Whitefish Bay

2019

DH/INF

Viterbo College

Nathan Ebersole

WI

Whitefish Bay

2019

SS

Madison College

Evan Provancher

WI

Whitefish Bay

2020

RHP


Brady Marget

WI

Whitefish Bay

2021

1B


Brady Counsell

WI

Whitefish Bay

2021

2B


Jack Stecker

WI

Whitefish Bay

2021

OF


Michael Lippe

WI

Whitefish Bay

2022

OF

Louisville


NEWCOMER TO WATCH

There is no shortage of talent coming up the ranks at Whitefish Bay, specifically in the freshman class, and though we won’t be able to mention them all, you will surely hear their names in the seasons to come – and maybe even as earlier as this one.

The freshman set to have the biggest impact of all is outfielder Michael Lippe. He's already among the top ranked freshmen in the country, according to our PBR national team, and he committed to Louisville before ever setting foot on a varsity baseball field. The right/right outfielder has proven that his bat can play at any level. Lippe is strong and physical for his age, which translates well in the box and I'd expect the varsity learning curve to be short for the freshman, as he has the talents to step in right away and make help the Blue Dukes win games instantly.

And while it's tough to make predictions about freshmen in general, it's worth noting that the Blue Dukes have two more 2022 grads in the building that project to be household names in the future: 3B/RHP Mitchell Voit and OF D.J. Kojis. These two, as well as Lippe, showed exceptionally well at our recent South Milwaukee Preseason I.D., back at the start of the month.

Michael Lippe (3/3/19)


X-FACTOR

While it remains to be seen just how effective the freshmen are going to be from the start at Whitefish Bay, there are two seniors head coach Jay Wojcinski will be able to lean on right out of the gate this spring: Owen Jonas and Patrick Nau. This program is another one of the teams on our board making the switch from summer to spring ball, and the steady all-state presence Jonas and Nau can provide will be essential to the Blue Dukes' 2019 season.

Another strong campaign out of these two will help Whitefish Bay make some serious noise within Wisconsin's Power 25 this year. It's always important to restock on talent – and the Blue Dukes have some of the most exciting freshmen and sophomores in the state – but experienced seniors are the engine that help push teams deep into the playoffs. Because of these two returning 2018 all-state honorees, Whitefish Bay is one of only two programs in the state returning more than one first-team selection to their dugout this spring, Green Bay Preble being the other.

OUTLOOK

The Blue Dukes went a modest 16-15 last season in the WIAA's final summer season, but they have nearly all of last year’s starters returning, plus the addition of some notable underclassmen. Starting with returners, Jonas and Nau, who were both summer first-team all-state and all-conference selections in the North Shore Conference.

Nau, the Blue Duke’s center fielder, is known for his speed. He stole 34 bases last season, while batting .424 with 11 doubles, five triples, and four home runs, en route to all-state honors.

Along with Jonas and Nau, Coach Wojcinski has the luxury of Jake Lukach and Ben Otero both returning as second-team all conference selections. Upon the move to spring baseball, one of the bigger additions to the lineup will be shortstop Nathan Ebersole. The senior Madison College commit is currently ranked in the top 100 in the state and is a sure-handed middle infielder with top-of-the-lineup capabilities.

For a team that does not have many graduating holes to fill in the lineup, the freshman Lippe and sophomore Brady Marget should plug what holes they do have nicely. The right-handed hitting Lippe, and left-handed hitting Marget are future middle-of-the-lineup, run-producing bats. It might take a year or so to get accustomed to the pace of varsity ball, but regardless the duo will only bolster a deep Whitefish Bay lineup.

BOTTOM LINE

It’s all about adjustments for the Blue Dukes. With the transition to spring baseball, the North Shore has received a makeover. There's new teams on the calendar and new faces in the dugout. The biggest beneficiaries of the summer-to-spring switch might be Whitefish Bay. They're already returning the most talent in the North Shore and they'll also welcome Ebersole and Lippe to the lineup.

Boasting one of the deepest everyday orders in the area – and possibly even the state – the future is bright for Whitefish Bay, and present might be already here.

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

Find more information on the 2019 Blue Dukes below:

Full Schedule
GameChanger
Twitter

PRESEASON POWER 25