Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 7 Oconomowoc

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: Oconomowoc
Preseason Rank: 7
2017 Record: 21-7
Conference: Classic Eight
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach: Arno Kirchenwitz
Playoff Run: Sectional finalists
2017 Final Rank: 12
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 3


Zach Clayton, SS (Oregon State)
Sean Meyer, C (Marian University)
Jonah Landowski, LHP (UW-Oshkosh)
Alec Esenther, RHP (UW-Oshkosh)


Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Jackson Brown WI Oconomowoc 2018 RHP/INF  
Steve Diderrich WI Oconomowoc
2018 C Upper Iowa
Karsen Rupnow WI Oconomowoc
2018 OF/RHP  
Nathan Platter WI Oconomowoc
2019 RHP  
Miller Wallace WI Oconomowoc 2019 3B  
Hunter Olson WI Oconomowoc
2019 C  
Ian Knuth WI Oconomowoc
2019 OF  
Nick Brazelton WI Oconomowoc
2019 RHP/INF
Jacob Arndt WI Oconomowoc 2019 RHP/OF  

Newcomers to watch

Juniors Nick Brazelton and Jacob Arndt have both come on strong this winter as prospects to watch in the 2019 class, and could do the same for Oconomowoc in 2018. Both right-handers could be difference makers on the mound but they also possess two-way abilities to factor into the lineup as well.

Arndt has been on our radar for over a year now, just waiting for him to fill out some of his projections on the mound. Arndt has a really live and easy arm that works out of a high ¾ slot and as recently as this March showed newfound velocity, running his fastball up to 87 mph. He’ll have to refine his secondary stuff and harness his control to be as effective as his stuff would portray, but if he does it’s a huge shot in the arm to the Racoons staff.

Brazelton on the other hand is slightly more pitchable, presently, with feel around the zone for multiple pitches and currently will sit in the low 80s. He too will bring an added piece to the Racoons infield that lost the all-everything Zach Clayton.

Jacob Arndt (3.11.18)


Senior Steve Didderich is the only returning all-conference selection and he will be a big cog in the team’s success in 2018. He’ll likely see himself in demanding defensive situations, whether it's behind the plate or in the middle of the infield, and his defensive prowess will need to be infectious. The Racoons defense could be its soft spot and Didderich brings a unique tool set to plug many holes.


The Racoons are in the discussion for state title contenders year after year, but after making it to state in 2015, Oconomowoc has fallen to Sun Prairie in their last two sectional championship games. Add Arrowhead to that sectional group in 2018 and the road just got a little tougher.

On top of that, losing one of the best athletes in the state is a huge hurdle for any team, and let’s be honest, the Racoons do not have an answer to fill the shoes of SS/RHP Zach Clayton. However, what they do have is five returners who hit .300-plus last season and some talented juniors who could easily follow suit.

Finding the right defensive combination may be one of the bigger challenges for Coach Arno Kirchenwitz. Infielders Miller Wallace, Jackson Brown and Nick Brazelton all profile best at third base, while catcher Hunter Olson is also likely best suited there when he's not behind the plate. Didderich is also a catcher by trade, but has arguably the best skill set to defend the middle of the infield for the Racoons. Regardless the combination, the Racoons should be able to pitch their way out of surrendering many crooked number innings.

The mound is where they should thrive. Brown will take the role of ace, where he accounted for nine decisions last season and sported a 2.87 ERA, a consummate workhorse for the Racoons. They bring back Nathan Platter and Karson Rupnow who return sub-1.00 ERAs to the staff. Add Brazelton and Arndt and you could be looking at a very deep and talented rotation.


The Racoons will likely boast one of the better records in the regular season, battling it out with Arrowhead and Catholic Memorial for the restructured Classic Eight crown. A lengthy march through the playoffs will likely require some star power and big time performances, Oconomowoc has plenty of pieces, which ones will step up to that next level is yet to be told.

Find more information on the 2018 Raccoons below:

+ Website
+ Full Schedule

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