Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 20 Beloit Turner


By Andy Sroka
Illinois & Wisconsin Assistant Director

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: Beloit Turner
Preseason Rank: 20
2021 Record: 20-4
Conference: Rock Valley
WIAA Division: 2
Head Coach: Jeff Clowes

ROSTER PREVIEW

NAME POS CLASS COMMITMENT
Jackson Burk LHP/OF 2022 Western Illinois
Cal Ries C/RHP 2022 -
Konner Giddley MIF/RHP 2023 -
Connor Hughes OF/LHP 2023 -
Sean Fogel OF/C 2023 -
Will Lauterbach INF/RHP 2023 -
Eric Halon INF 2023 -
Michael Cook OF 2023 -

KEY PLAYERS LOST

+ OF/LHP Grant Revels (2021)
+ UTL Joey Smith (2021)

X-FACTOR

+ OF/LHP Connor Hughes (2023): Hughes is a big, strong 6-foot-2, 200-pound two-way asset who we just recently saw at the Madison Preseason ID. There, he connected for some of the hardest contact of the day from the left-handed batter’s box, and reached an 83 mph high from the outfield, suggesting there’s some upside to tap into from the mound, too, especially given his 7.16 speed that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see out of a player his stature. For Turner, if he can emerge as a primary run-producer at the center of this lineup, he'll be vital to the team's chances at a trip to state, but he can boost them even further by becoming a dependable No. 2 behind their ace on the mound.

OUTLOOK

Perennial contenders Turner return the Rock Valley’s co-player of the year, LHP/OF Jackson Burk (2022; Western Illinois commit), who’s a do-it-all type and the team’s energizer on both sides of the ball. Burk chartered Turner to a fifth straight RVC title, second straight outright, with a roster that needed to plug a lot of holes that graduated the year prior. And still, that inexperienced group won 17 of its 18 conference games which ultimately staged a postseason meeting between rivals Jefferson at sectionals. The Trojans lost that playoff game, meaning two of the team’s four 2021 losses were to their conference rivals, but Turner has plenty reason to be hopeful in 2022, returning much of the same unit for head coach Jeff Clowes to author another 20-plus win season.

The Rock Valley has felt like one of, if not the, first places to look when assessing the Division 2 state scene. This year, the Trojans look like they have the pieces in place to yank back the momentum Jefferson gathered on its way to a runner-up finish at state in 2021.

Burk is back as the team’s stalwart starter, returning a 9-1 record in 2021 and 0.76 ERA in 59 innings. And in 2022, Burk is also backed by one of the deepest groups Turner’s ever rostered. Joining him inside the rotation should be some combination of C/RHP Cal Ries (2022), ‘X-Factor’ Hughes and INF/RHP Konner Giddley (2023). They’ll rely on a lot of two-way reinforcement, but with Burk in charge of the team’s biggest games, the Trojans are in good shape.

Ries is the team’s starting catcher and he was a first team all-conference selection in 2021, as was shortstop Giddley and fellow junior Hughes. But because Turner has some depth at catcher in the program, Ries can take on a little more responsibility on the mound without sacrificing too much behind the plate. Ries is also fresh off a sixth place state finish in wrestling, which wrapped up at the end of February.

Giddley is a lanky middle infielder who holds his own at short, in tandem with Eric Halon (2023) who should be at second, most likely. Another junior, INF/RHP Will Lauterbach (2023), is another versatile returner for the Trojans. He was a second team all-conference pick as a sophomore in 2021, and Turner intends to use him on the infield, as well as on the mound, occasionally. And two more junior outfielders, Michael Cook (2023) and Sean Fogel (2023), should extend the competitiveness inside the daily lineup. Fogel will relieve Ries when he’s on the mound, and he’s also Turner’s starting quarterback, further highlighting the athleticism that lives inside this dugout.

BOTTOM LINE

The athleticism and depth Turner is rostering in 2022 is some of the best the program has had in a prestigious history, which has us considering them as one of the state’s D2 favorites. It won’t come easy, given the fact that Turner is, for the first time in Clowes’ tenure, sharing a regional with the likes of Catholic Memorial and Pewaukee, creating some must-see matchups when that time of year comes around. Until then, it’ll be exciting to see how this Turner team comes together in the regular season, looking like the best version of themselves on paper that we’ve seen in some time – and that’s saying something.

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

Find more information on the 2022 Trojans below:

+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN