Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 4 Arrowhead


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: Arrowhead
Preseason Rank: 4
2018 Record: 25-4
Conference: Classic Eight
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Nick Brengosz
Playoff Run: State Runner-Up
2018 Final Rank: 2
Returning Starters: 3
Returning Pitchers: 3

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment

Luke Schraufnagel

WI

Arrowhead

2019

RHP

Milw. School of Engineering

Joey Bartolone

WI

Arrowhead

2019

MIF

Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Davis Zeutzius

WI

Arrowhead

2019

RHP

Winona State

Tyler LaMack

WI

Arrowhead

2019

UTL


Nic Wohlfiel

WI

Arrowhead

2019

OF


Carter Endisch

WI

Arrowhead

2020

RHP


Jacob Cinelli

WI

Arrowhead

2020

OF/LHP



KEY PLAYERS LOST

Jeff Holtz, C (Indiana)
Chandler Pulvermacher, OF
Derek Polczynski, RHP (Milwaukee School of Engineering)
Jacob Johnson, RHP (Saint Mary’s, MN)

NEWCOMER TO WATCH

OF/LHP Jacob Cinelli is poised to be one of a handful of juniors to make an impact in their first varsity Warhawk season. Cinelli gives head coach Nick Brengosz a two-way option with abilities both on the mound and at the dish. Offensively, he’s a right-handed hitter with a strong compact swing, much like his 5-foot-11, 187-pound frame. He’s an above-average runner for his age, and would likely flank Nic Wolfiel in one of the corner outfield spots. On the mound, he’s shown a deceptive fastball that will hover around 80 mph and can reach back for more. His curveball will play right away and flashes sharpness, making him, at the very least, a go-to option out of the pen.

Jacob Cinelli (3/10/19)


STAT RAT

.182: Opponents batting average against Arrowhead RHP Davis Zeutzius in 2018. A dismally low number for opposing teams. This bodes well for the Warhawks in 2019, relying on this type of ace stuff at the front end of the rotation. Zeutzius finished his junior year as a first team all-conference selection, posting a 7-1 record with a 1.15 ERA.

X-FACTORS

Senior Nic Wohlfiel is in line to be the centerpiece of this offense, one that lost two .440-plus bats. Wohlfiel, who doubles as the Warhawks quarterback in the fall, is as athletic as it gets in the outfield. His two-sport resume may make him a bit more raw than some full-time hard-ballers, but all the tools are there for Wohlfiel to lead the way on offense. He’s a quick-twitch natural athlete who hit .352 as a junior and led the team in triples and runs scored. He was also the Warhawks' best threat on the basepaths, leading the team in swiped bags. The 2019 Arrowhead lineup will be looking for someone to have a breakout year, and the most likely candidate is roaming center field.

OUTLOOK

Arrowhead is among the state's perennial powerhouse program, though they've yet to lift the trophy in their first three seasons in spring ball. Obviously, winning the very last game of the state tournament is the toughest box to check for any team's preseason to-do list, and the Warhawks have fallen just short in their last three trips to Grand Chute – with two second-place finishes and a semifinals appearance in that span.

They haven’t lost the Classic Eight either since moving over in 2015, so that's four straight conference titles bagged, so look for them to be the favorites again, even with the unpredictable summer-to-spring expansion that's altered the look of sectionals.

Coach Brengosz will rely on the return of three of last year's four top starting pitchers, and all of whom pitched at some point in the state tournament, garnering invaluable experience. Zeutzius headlines the trio, with his returning all-conference numbers mentioned above. Senior Luke Schraufnagel got the start in last year's title game and will be hoping to get another crack at it, changing the outcome in 2019. Schraufnagel went 4-1 with a 0.98 ERA in 2018. And junior Carter Endisch rounds out the returnees. He went 2-0 with a 4.20 ERA as a sophomore and has the stuff to pitch competitively after high school. He’s an 83-85 mph right-hander, standing 6-foot-2, 185 pounds.

Carter Endisch (3/10/19)

Wohlfiel returns as the team’s three-hole hitter and will look for offensive help from returning seniors Tyler LaMack and Joey Bartolone. Bartolone, a Wisconsin-Stevens Point commit, brings back a .320 average and a profile that could set the table for regular Warhawk runs.

Juniors Cinelli, Adam Polczynski, and Caleb Lorbecki will be new to the varsity roster and could round out the lineup, an offense that may be Coach Brengosz's biggest question mark in 2019. The Warhawks shouldn’t have to go any deeper than their junior class, but if they do need to reach down for some added help, sophomore Tyler Bittman may be a candidate. Bittman doubles as a two-way guy who is athletic with above-average run, arm, and hit grades for his age. We’ve also seen him run a fastball up to 84 mph already. Beyond that the Arrowhead freshman class is loaded, and you’ll likely see several Warhawks across our 2022 rankings once they are launched, but we’ll save that for another day, just know the Warhawks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

BOTTOM LINE

The road to Grand Chute is always tough, but the Warhawks clearly have the recipe to get there. Since moving to spring baseball, they’ve only missed the state tournament once, in 2015, and even then that was despite fielding one of their most talented teams. Since then, it’s been nothing but business for Arrowhead, clawing through whichever sectional is thrown their way. You could make the argument that their sectional has been soft up until last spring when they were pitted against two tough programs, Oconomowoc and Sun Prairie, to reach state for the 2018 tournament.

They’ll have to do it again in 2019, this year substituting Janesville Craig for Sun Prairie, which is equally as tough. But, again, Arrowhead will be up to the task as a playoff-tested group filled with the confidence to grind out yet another deep postseason run. Now it's time to fit the new pieces in with the old, give them some time to jell, and then you'll be able to pencil Arrowhead into your brackets as they march their way back to state.

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

Find more information on the 2019 Warhawks below:
Full Schedule
Team Website 
GameChanger
Twitter

Preseason Power 25 Countdown