Preseason Power 25: No. 3 Eau Claire North



The Wisconsin high school season kicks off on March 28, the first day for regular season games. Most teams will begin practicing on March 20, getting their rosters set and finalizing their lineups.

Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, 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 have been sending out our annual Preseason Questionnaire to coaches all across the state and as the responses flood in we will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team. If you don’t see your team’s season preview make sure your head coach fills out his Preseason Questionnaire.

Team: Eau Claire North
Preseason Rank: 3
2016 Record: 23-4
Conference: Big Rivers
WIAA Division: 1
Head Coach:
Bob Johnson
Playoff Run: Sectional Champions
2016 Final Rank: 7
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 3

TOP PLAYERS

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Tanner Halvorson WI Eau Claire North
2017 LHP
Indian Hills CC
Ryan Venne
WI Eau Claire North 2018 OF
Carson Lemanski WI Eau Claire North 2017 OF
Zak Stange WI Eau Claire North 2017 SS Winona State
John Bickle WI Eau Claire North 2017 2B  
Tyler Plitzner WI Eau Claire North 2017 C


X-FACTOR

Depth on the mound could be a big factor for the Huskies in 2017. Eau Claire North returns two of their top arms from last year in senior LHP Tanner Halvorson (8-2, 1.93) and junior RHP Ryan Venne (4-1, 1.13). After that their are only two starts from last year returning to the staff and those both came from Carson Lemanski. If the Huskies can find more depth on the mound coming up the ranks, that fills any holes you may be able to pick on them for. Bottom line, Eau Claire North is in a prime position to make a strong run at the title.

STAT RAT

Returning first team all-conference LHP/OF Tanner Halvorson filled up the stat sheet last year. Halvorson went 8-2 on the mound with a 1.93 ERA while hitting .403 in the middle of the Huskie lineup. Halvorson will likely be called upon for similar duties in 2017 and hopefully returning the Huskies back to Appleton.

OUTLOOK

The Huskies return six of their top nine hitters from a year ago, a lineup that touched up opposing pitching for 8.5 runs a game. Eau Claire North was only shutout once last year, and it came at the most inopportune time against Kimberly in the State Quarterfinals. Arguably the best offensive team in the state, expect the Huskie bats to pick up right where they left off, putting up big offensive numbers again in 2017, a year when pitch counts will force teams to go even deeper into their staffs. Four .400 hitters return to the Huskie lineup in Zak Stange (.459), Carson Lemanski (.407), Ryan Venne (.405) and Tanner Halverson (.403). On top of the gaudy offensive numbers, Eau Claire North's defense will be tough to penetrate as well, Stange will captain the infield at short and Lemanski will take his 6.82 speed to centerfield. The Huskies have much to look forward to in 2017, and will likely go as far as the bats will take them, possibly holding the trophy in Appleton. 

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