Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 24 Bradford


By Steve Nielsen
Wisconsin and Illinois Scouting Supervisor

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: Kenosha Bradford
Preseason Rank: 24
2017 Record: 13-13
Conference: Southeast
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Matt LaBuda
Playoff Run: Regional finals appearance
2017 Final Rank: NR
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 7

KEY PLAYERS LOST

Isaac Lawler, RHP (Wisconsin-Parkside)
Michael Pillizzi, INF (Wisconsin-Parkside)
Matt Barth, RHP

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Jackson Smoko WI Bradford 2018 3B  
Trey Glass WI Bradford 2018 SS  
Cody Tostrud WI Bradford
2019 OF  
Jared Bonofiglio WI Bradford
2019 INF
Riley Hughes WI Bradford
2019 C  
Jarrett Ramer WI Bradford
2019 RHP/INF
Spencer Lehman WI Bradford 2019 LHP/1B  
Kyle McKinnon WI Bradford 2019 RHP/OF  
Thomas Coffey WI Bradford 2019 RHP/INF  
Tanner Hurley WI Bradford 2019 OF  
Nick Cairo WI Bradford 2020 RHP  

NEWCOMER TO WATCH

Sophomore RHP Nick Cairo will likely have a big varsity role in 2018. He projects best on the mound but could also give the Red Devils a lift with the bat. As a pitcher, Cairo is a low-80s strike thrower with a well-above-average curveball that serves as a swing-and-miss outpitch. His ability to work uptempo and in the zone should play well at the varsity level right away. Look for Cairo to complement a junior-heavy Bradford staff.

Nick Cairo (1.27.18)

X-FACTOR

SS Trey Glass and 3B Jackson Smoko will be the only returning seniors to the Red Devils lineup who played a role last season. Their leadership on the field will likely be paramount to the team’s success with such a talented junior class. With such a large number of juniors set for key roles on varsity this spring, Smoko and Glass have duties beyond baseball. Their seniority and experience will be critical when it comes to reining in the skillful class below them. The two seniors’ ability to lead their dugout is going to be essential to how far the Red Devils are able to go in 2018.

Glass and Smoko will also be relied upon for their skills on the field, too, of course. Smoko is a consistent run producer and reliable defender while Glass is entering his third year of varsity play and is a standout three-sport athlete, including the honor of being named an all-state football player.

OUTLOOK

We might be one year early to the emergence of Bradford as a D-1 threat, so ranking them on our preseason list might seem aggressive, but they’re returning a ton of talent to the field in 2018, albeit mostly from its junior class. They’re light on senior experience and could be one year away from putting it all together, but they have the talent to be one of the frontrunners of the Southeast.

Pitching will be a big strength for the Red Devils as they return three dependable arms in RHP Jarret Ramer, LHP Spencer Lehman, and RHP Thomas Coffey, all juniors. With such a young, though experienced group, Coach Matt LaBuda will likely look for senior leadership out of returners Glass and Smoko, both of whom should play on the infield and be a big part of the team’s success. Look for Ramer and junior OF Cody Tostrud to bust out in 2018 and have a big junior campaign. Tostrud returns from a first team all-conference season last spring and has the tools to be a high-level college player as well. It’s going to be his third year starting in this Red Devils outfield, too.

Given the number of quality arms on staff and athletes in the field, Bradford should have the pitching and defense to remain competitive this year, but the only question mark in Coach LaBuda’s squad is in its lineup. Despite starting so many juniors, a year of experience on varsity last year should rinse away the worry of inexperience. When two-thirds of your lineup won’t graduate until 2020, you can expects some bumps in the road, but hopefully as juniors these growing pains will have been smoothed over.

BOTTOM LINE

Bradford has a lot to look forward to in 2018 and maybe they’ll have even greater expectations in 2019, but let’s stay present. The Red Devils are the preseason favorites to win the Southeast despite their relative inexperience. Sound defense and trustworthy strike throwers on the mound will be their calling cards. In 2018, they’ll go as far as their bats can support them.

Find more information on the 2018 Red Devils below:

+ Full Schedule
Team Website
+ Twitter

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

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN