Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 3 Kimberly

By Steve Nielsen
Illinois & Wisconsin 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: Kimberly
Preseason Rank: 3
2017 Record: 23-8
Conference: Fox Valley Association
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Ryan McGinnis
Playoff Run: D-1 state champions
2017 Final Rank: 1
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 2


Zach Carney, OF (Wabash Valley)
Danny Vanden Boom, SS
Drew Johnson, 3B (Concordia, WI)
Davis Matz, RHP


Name State School Class Pos Commitment
John Nett WI Kimberly 2019 INF/RHP  
Drew Lechnir WI Kimberly 2019 OF  
Zach Lechnir WI Kimberly 2019 SS  
Beau Schumacher WI Kimberly 2019 C  
Connor Chitko WI Kimberly 2019 OF
Jordan Purdy WI Kimberly 2019 RHP/INF  

Newcomer to watch

Junior RHP Jordan Purdy could be one to watch for this spring. Purdy is a 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior who shows promise both on the mound and in the infield, and could add to an already dynamic Kimberly junior class. We saw Purdy show flashes on the mound with an above-average curveball and pounded the zone with a low-80s fastball. The Papermakers lose over 100 innings pitched on the mound and this is a void Purdy could help fill immediately.


The Papermakers' X-Factor for the 2018 season is the experience of their junior class. Generally speaking, most teams on this list who are eyeing a postseason run well into June are being led by a sturdy senior core. Senior leadership typically sets the tone, both on the field and off of it, so it's a traditional theme. The Papermakers are different, however. This year’s edition of the Kimberly squad will look to its junior class for guidance. The six most important returnees are all members of the 2019 class. C Zach Bishop is the only senior who returns with at-bats from the defending champs.

Other than Bishop, this is set to be a roster predominantly made up of juniors and sophomores. For most teams, this can be problematic, but this is a battle-tested group that possesses the baseball acumen to take over as the leaders in the dugout.


What makes the Papermakers perennial contenders is their ability to play sound, fundamental baseball year in and out, regardless of the shape their roster is in. Head coach Ryan McGinnis consistently gets his players to play the game with pride and to perform in necessary situations. It’s strong group that’s returning to Sunset Park and they’re seeking the opportunity to repeat as champions.

The Lechinr twins, Drew and Zach, will set the tone at the top of the lineup again this year. The combo are not only spark plugs at the top of the lineup, but clear leaders of the defense as well. With both Danny Vanden Boom and Zach Carney graduated, Drew will likely move to center field where his 6.83 speed will really play. Zach will be an extension of Coach McGinnis as he moves over from second base to shortstop to quarterback the infield.

Drew Lechnir (8.2.17)

John Nett and Connor Chitko return the best batting averages from last year's team; they hit .429 and .424, respectively. While they weren’t full-season starters at the varsity level, they both came on strong and finished the season hitting in the middle of the lineup featured in the state title game. Nett is also a returning first-team all-conference selection both for his bat and presence on the mound.

Nett posted a 2.39 ERA with a 4-1 record and added four saves last year, while getting the complete game win in the state semifinal game against Eau Claire North. Nett will be joined by a bevy of junior arms that will make up a young and inexperienced staff for the Papermakers. Cade Hustinger didn’t see much action last year as a sophomore, but he did pick up the win in the most pressure packed game of the year -- the title game. Hustinger worked six innings, allowing just five hits and two runs to Sun Prairie. RHP Trey Tennessen should see a big uptick in innings, he’s an athletic right-hander with an advanced 12/6 curveball.

John Nett (2.17.18)

The reigning champs were working with a relatively young roster last spring and remain young in 2018. With 10 sophomores on last year’s playoff roster, Coach McGinnis will have his work cut out for him with a lack of seniors on this roster but the future looks bright for the Papermakers.


Just because Kimberly looks young on paper, doesn’t mean that they’re not experienced. This was largely a group of sophomores a season ago, but they were underclassmen who saw what it takes to become a state champion. Many of those same pieces return to make another run at the state title.

What the Papermakers lost they should be able to plug in from their talented junior class. They’ll get to add 30 to 40 more at-bats for .400 hitters Chitko and Nett and their offense could become that much more potent once you realize it’s the Lechnir twins who are setting the table for this middle of the order to feast.

It’s a confident group that marched right through the playoffs last season, including a three-game state run without their two-way star Vanden Boom after he injured his leg in the sectionals. Their age should not discredit them from making another climb to the state title.

Find more information on the 2018 Papermakers below:

+ Full Schedule
+ Twitter

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