Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 5 Hortonville

By: Diego Solares
Associate Scout, Staff Writer

The Wisconsin high school baseball season kicks off on March 29, opening day for regular season action under WIAA regulations. Over the next week, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2022 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down through the official PBR Wisconsin Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

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 team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2022 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Hortonville
Preseason Rank: 5
2021 Record: 21-7
Conference: Fox Valley
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Greg Yeager


Thomas Burns RHP 2022 Arizona State
Sam Dodd Sam Dodd 2022 -
Easton Plachetka INF/RHP 2022 -
Nathan Vela RHP/INF 2023 -
Camden Kuhnke RHP/INF
2022 -
Hayden Timm 1B 2023 -
Brett Sommer UTIL 2023 -
Ethan Peters C/RHP 2023 -


+ RHP Jonah Conradt (2023; Arkansas)
+ Caleb August (2021)
+ Landon Springstroh (2021)
+ Ben Beulow (2021)


RHP Thomas Burns (2023; Arizona State): Burns’ ascension to nationally-ranked prospect status over the last calendar year has been well documented, culminating in a commitment to one of the Pac-12’s historical programs. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound junior has improved his strike-throwing capabilities in that time frame, attacking hitters with a high-80s fastball that we’ve seen up to 91 mph. His ability to land his breaking ball for strikes on a consistent basis and improved feel for a low-80s changeup have unlocked a new level for Burns - one that’s made him amongst the state’s top arms. Hortonville’s high-octane pitching staff is their strength and with Burns at the helm, the Polar Bears have a first team all-state caliber arm that gives them a chance to win each game he toes the rubber. 


With one of the area’s most talented pitching units, the Polar Bears nearly took down powerhouse Kimberly for the Fox Valley Conference title in 2021 and finished the spring with 21 wins. They’ll be without one of their top arms from that group this spring, but one thing is certain: Hortonville’s pitching staff will continue to be one of Wisconsin’s deepest groups in 2022.

Joining Burns atop this group is senior RHP/OF Sam Dodd (2022), who’s also a reigning all-conference first team selection. Dodd brings an experienced presence to the mound with a track record of success there, pitching to a 6-2 record last spring while serving as staff ace. He’ll roam the outfield when he’s not on the rubber, serving as a key piece to what the Polar Bears are looking to accomplish offensively as well. 

Hortonville is poised for success on the mound with this duo leading them, but they do have depth worth noting, starting with RHP/INF Nathan Vela (2023). Vela emerged a winner at our Milwaukee Preseason ID a few weeks ago and is viewed internally as a potential breakout candidate for the Polar Bears. He bumped his fastball into the mid-80s at our event, touching 87 mph with above-average movement profiles on both his curveball and slider, via TrackMan. Vela showed a more impactful batted ball profile at the plate too in this quick look and his improvements in that department could prove pivotal for a team that’ll need reliable offensive production across their lineup. 

Another depth piece to this staff is INF/RHP Camden Kuhnke (2023), who doubles as the Polar Bears’ starting shortstop, too. Kuhnke posted a .374 batting average last spring as a sophomore and he’ll look to anchor this team offensively yet again in 2022. He’s set to serve as this team’s closer, a role that fits a high-octane arsenal perfectly by allowing him to air it out in short stints. We recently saw Kuhnke run his fastball up to 90 mph in a showcase setting, pitching at 88-89 mph from a quick, whippy arm action that suggests more untapped velocity is yet to come. Turning to Kuhnke to shut things down after strong starts from Burns or Dodd puts the Polar Bears in a prime position to win tight-knit contests. 

There were questions about this Hortonville offense last year, but a few players improving over the last year or so coupled with experienced returners has this team pointed in the right direction. INF/RHP Easton Plachetka (2022) should see time on the mound as well, but he returns as a consistent cleanup threat that batted .344 last spring. 1B Hayden Timm (2023) brings a powerful left-handed bat that earned first team all-conference honors last season, batting .338 while serving as Hortonville’s main run producer. UTL Brett Sommer (2023) missed all of last season after suffering an injury in the first week of practice, but he’s a name we’ve become increasingly familiar with over the fall and winter seasons. Sommer occupies a do-it-all-type of role for the Polar Bears and will move around the diamond, bringing much-needed versatility to this roster. OF Jack Coenen (2024) saw some playing time as a freshman last season with the expectation being he slots into a potential everyday role this spring. Handling this potent pitching staff is C/RHP Ethan Peters (2023), a quality receiver that’ll look to make an impact at the varsity level in his first season with his defensive prowess.

Brett Sommer


Pitching will yet again be a strength for Hortonville, but a handful of key offensive pieces elevating their skills throughout the off-season make this group even more dangerous than they were a year ago. A large chunk of this group saw time on a team that won 21 games last spring and expectations are higher for head coach Greg Yeager’s squad. 

Make sure to follow @PBRWisconsin on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2022 season.

Find more information on the 2022 Polar Bears below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter