Back

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 9 West De Pere


Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Wisconsin/Illinois

The Wisconsin high school season kicks off on March 26th, the first day for regular season games.

Leading up to the opening week of games we will be rolling out team previews of our top 25 high school teams all across the state and across all classifications, counting down 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: West De Pere
Preseason Rank: 9
2018 Record: 24-5
Conference: Bay
WIAA Division: 2
Head Coach: Joe Rukamp
Playoff Run: Sectional Finals
2018 Final Rank: 11
Returning Starters: 7
Returning Pitchers: 3

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment

Cameron Dupont

WI

West De Pere

2020

C/1B

Southern Illinois

Kaden Kosobucki

WI

West De Pere

2021

C


Bennett Olson

WI

West De Pere

2019

SS


Connor Langreder

WI

West De Pere

2019

LHP

Northern Illinois

Ben Hampton

WI

West De Pere

2020

LHP

West Virginia

Hunter Towslee

WI

West De Pere

2019

OF


Jacob Kocken

WI

West De Pere

2019

OF


Zach Ziesmer

WI

West De Pere

2019

1B/DH


Parker Nimmer

WI

West De Pere

2019

INF


Joshua Blount

WI

West De Pere

2021

OF/1B


Ethan Habetler

WI

West De Pere

2020

INF


KEY PLAYERS LOST

Jordan Strick, RHP (Winona State)
Trevor Teske, RHP (Upper Iowa)
Dylan Govin, INF (John Wood CC)
Cal Jensen, OF

NEWCOMER TO WATCH

Left-handed hitting outfielder Joshua Blount could provide instant run production as a sophomore. Blount saw glimpses of varsity action last season, but could be penciled in to be a regular in the middle of the 2019 lineup. There is legitimate power potential in his bat and could add to an already potent middle of the Phantom lineup.

 

Joshua Blount (3.3.19)

STAT RAT

13-2, 1.31 ERA: That’s the combined totals of the southpaw tandem of Connor Langreder and Ben Hampton. Both already Division I commits, Northern Illinois and West Virginia respectively, the duo has serious next level stuff. Both are mid 80’s arm with the ability to reach back for more, and Hampton has shown the makings of a plus curveball that caught the attention of West Virginia. The tandem is one of the top frontline combinations in the state, and one of the major reasons West De Pere is one of the favorites in Division 2.

X-FACTORS

The Phantoms version of murderers row is back in 2019. Cameron Dupont, Kaden Kosobucki and Bennett Olson make up a formidable middle of the lineup the that will give opposing pitchers fits. If they produce again as they did last year, it will make the jobs of Langreder and Hampton that much easier. The trio all hit over .400 in 2018 Dupont - .461, Kosobucki - .419 and Olson - .400. All three also earned all-conference status in some regard and Dupont and Kosobucki were All-State honorable mentions.

OUTLOOK

A PSA to the rest of the Division 2 landscape, West De Pere is here. Just like Webster dropping from D3 to D4 after the transition of summer baseball, West De Pere moves from D1 to D2 and will be packing loads of talent in the transition.

They are a clear favorite to win the Bay, but the ultimate goal is Grand Chute and to get there the Phantoms will have to go through defending champs Waupun to get out of the Denmark Sectional.

West De Pere may not have the volume of returning starters that Waupun does, but they are loaded with talent, and a lot of that will come from a JV squad that went a perfect 26-0 last season. Program wide, that’s a 50-4 record for the Phantoms in 2018.

Starting on the mound is where the Phantoms hold the key. Their left-handed duo of Connor Langreder and Ben Hampton will be tough to beat come playoff time. We mentioned the pair at length as the “STAT RAT” and would expect similar numbers in 2019.

Behind the plate, junior Cameron Dupont and sophomore Kaden Kosobucki will likely trade off catching duties. Both are regarded as one of the top backstops in their respective class and bring back all-conference caliber production. Regardless of defensive assignments, both bats will regularly be in the lineup.

Kaden Kosobucki (3.10.19)

In the outfield the Phantoms have two returning seniors in Hunter Townslee and Jacob Kocken that could pair with some up and coming underclassmen to solidify the group. Sophomore Joshua Blount likely has the upper hand at a full time spot in 2019. The left/left outfielder is one of the more dynamic athletes in the class. He’s a sub 7.0 runner and wields a quick and aggressive bat  that has serious power potential. Blount saw limited varsity action as a freshman and has the ability to be a full time contributor in the middle of the lineup.

Bennett Olson anchors the infield, a mainstay at shortstop and a returning first team all-conference selection, Olson hit .400 last year and in the middle of the Phantom lineup. Parker Nimmer also returns for his senior season after posting a .271 average last season. Junior Ethan Habetler may the final peg to the infield puzzle in 2019. Habetler is a top 75 ranked player in Wisconsin’s 2020 class and has the tools set to play any infield position.

BOTTOM LINE

There’s not much standing in the way of West De Pere ripping off their fifth straight Bay Conference title. But the ultimate goal comes in June. The Phantoms made it to the D1 sectional finals in 2018, picking up a pair of playoff victories in the process as one of the smaller D1 schools in the division. They now become the big dogs on the block as one of the bigger D2 schools and bringing with them some playoff tested pedigree.

Sliding into the Division 2 playoff landscape puts them into the same sectional as reigning champs Waupun. So the ultimate test of the season could come on sectional day, June 4, with a potential matchup of the top two teams in the division. Not to look too far ahead, but that’s what we do. And if this matchup does come to fruition, there’s a good chance you’ll see some PBR scouts in attendance.

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

Find more information on the 2019  below:

Preseason Power 25 Countdown