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SEASON PREVIEW: Lindbergh Flyers

By ShowcaseNo Comments

The Lindbergh Flyers are coming off a 25-win season, one in which they fell just short of a trip to the final four. The team has lost some high end talent from their 2021 class that included 3 D1 players. However, the Flyers won’t have too much about their ability to compete without them. They return several talented players and surely have the firepower to compete for a state title again in 2022.

What they have going for them:

2023 LHP Dane Bjorn (Mizzou) is coming off a summer in which he won MVP in the Area Code games. Bjorn had 10 starts a season ago with an impressive 69 strikeouts in 50 innings. He also boasted a .340 avg and proved to be a quality hitter for the Flyers. He seems like a safe bet as the Flyers’ ace and profiles as one of the better arms in the area.

2022 LHP Ethan Smith (Missouri Southern) returns with his perfect 7-0 record and 39 innings pitched. Smith pounds the zone with a mid to upper 80’s FB that has shown tremendous improvement from last season. He will step into a starting role after making 11 relief appearances and 4 starts a year ago. It will be fun to see if he can top the 42 strikeouts that he pilled up in his 15 appearances.

2022 3B/RHP Drew Politte (uncommitted) is one of the best two-way players in the state. He didn’t put up eye-popping numbers in 2021, but the talent is undeniable. He can provide a back-end bullpen arm to close out tight games while giving Lindbergh a power bat at third. Politte will need to pick up a lot of the slack offensively in replacing the key pieces that graduated in 2021.

2022 OF Zane Roos (Jeff Co) is another player that will have to produce offensively in the heart of the Flyers’ lineup. He finished the year with 4 home runs, though his batting average was a bit underwhelming. To be fair, though, Roos was able to produce 30 free passes along the way to put up a respectable OBP. He will be a vital part of the Flyers’ offensive success and play a big role in their outfield defensively.

Concerns:

The Flyers lost a lot of talent in their 2021 class, with perhaps no player tougher to replace than Shea McGahan. He was a difference maker in the batters box and behind the plate. He was able to shut down the running game and lead the pitching staff all while hitting over .500. They will need Eastern Illinois commit Luke Melton and Will Stockmann to step up and fill this void. 

The Flyers will also have to replace almost 90 innings on the mound. This will be a tough task with limited varsity experience on the roster. They will also have to replace 90+ hits from their offense, and if the guys mentioned above cannot have big seasons offensively, the flyers may find themselves in a tough spot.

There’s no doubt that Lindbergh will be relying on some key players to step up along with other players that have limited varsity experience due to last year’s team being so stacked. That said, the team is undeniably still talented enough to conceivably make a run at the state title in 2022. 

Unmentioned players to watch:

 

2022 OF Chris Ammons

2022 INF Adam Dupont

COMING UP NEXT: Presidents’ Florida Winter Series

By ShowcaseOne Comment

Historic Terry Park in Ft. Myers, Florida was the scene for the Presidents’ Day edition of Up & Coming’s Florida Winter Series. The event featured players from several cooler climate states like Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. The event featured a total of eight games, with the majority of them being competitive and the championship ending on a sac-fly.

2023 Outfielder/LHP Landen Graves showed well all weekend, smashing a couple balls for extra base hits and running an event best 6.68 60. He was also up to 81 on the mound, earning a win for his team.

2023 1B/OF/LHP Carson Kaye was another upperclassmen that proved to be a standout performer. Kaye showed terrific feel for the barrel, leading the event in extra base hits. He possesses a very physical frame, and his swing path allows his barrel to stay through the zone, producing hard hit balls up the middle of the field.

2023 Infielders Tyler Floyd and Landon Potts both turned in quality performances, helping the Red team at the plate and on the bump. Floyd was arguably the event’s top performer at the dish, showcasing a high level swing pattern that creates natural loft and good carry on balls that he barrels. Potts hit several pull side line drives for singles and extra base hits, while showing developing actions on the infield. He was also excellent on the mound, leading the event in strikeouts.

A few other standout upperclassmen were Dallas Phillips (Michigan), Alex Ford (Missouri) and Andre Carl (Michigan). Phillips led the event in fastball velo, topping out at 87 mph from the right side. The Adrian College commit filled up the zone and has a projectable frame that will allow him to continue to add velo as he heads into his senior year. Ford on the other hand was more of a finesse pitcher, utilizing several pitches to keep hitters off balance. His gutsy performances on the mound were one of the primary reasons the White team was able to walk away victorious. Andre Carl (Michigan) delivered the best performance of the weekend statistically speaking, as his complete game for the Gray team handed the white team its only loss of the weekend. Carl has an athletic, projectable frame and was able to land all 3 of his pitches for strikes. If he adds velo, he will be an arm that generates a lot of collegiate interest.

One of the most striking aspects of this event were the amount of extremely talented underclassmen. Steven Whitted was an immediate standout because of his clean infield actions during the showcase portion of the event, as well as his plus bat speed from the left side. He was able to utilize these tools in game as well, producing several hits, stolen bases and smooth actions on the infield. Joseph Rutledge of the White team was the youngest player at the event, but that didn’t stop him from having one of the better performances of the weekend. His infield actions are excellent and he demonstrated a patient approach to compliment a balanced, linear swing. Once he develops physically as an athlete, he has a chance to be an elite high school player. 2025 OFer Jack Burle stood out at the plate, putting together one of the better BP rounds and amassing several hits over the course of the weekend. His skillset in the outfield is still developing, but he creates natural extension in his swing and clearly has feel for the barrel at a young age. It is easy to imagine him becoming a legitimate power bat as he gets older.

It was a memorable weekend at Terry Park, and it will be exciting to see how these players progress in the next six months through their high school and travel ball seasons.

All-Tournament Team

 

1B – Carson Kaye

2B – Joseph Rutledge

SS – Steven Whitted

3B – Tyler Floyd

OF – Landen Graves, Jack Burle, Kaleb Knaust

C – Carden Underwood

UTL – Alex Ford

Pitcher – Dallas Phillips, Landon Potts, Andre Carl

SEASON PREVIEW: SLUH Jr. Billikens

By High SchoolNo Comments

St. Louis University High School’s baseball program had a challenging season with limited success in 2021, but they also had a young core of players that received a lot of varsity experience. Given the talent level of these young players and the experience they gained last year, it isn’t hard to envision them making some noise while bouncing back in a big way in 2022. The MCC is tough to navigate with some of the best teams in the state playing in the conference seemingly every season, but the Billikens look to compete in large part due to a talented group of arms. SLUH is truly a dark horse candidate to take the MCC crown.

What they have going for them:

It’s easy to see that the strength of the Billikens is their high-level arms and that starts with 2022 LHP Jack Dumont (SLU commit). Jack has a strong build that will allow him to eat innings and hold his mid to upper 80’s velocity. He missed time last season with an injury, but he is back to full strength for the 2022 season. He looks to also be a major bat in the middle of their lineup.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, 2024 RHP Andrew Dumont (uncommitted) provides the Billikens with another ace.  Dumont has been able to sit 88-90 this off-season with command of the zone. He also has a CH/SL that he can control and draw swing and misses with. Dumont will look to build on the 30 innings he threw last season in his FR. campaign.
2023 RHP Garrett Shearer (uncommitted) may offer their best blend of pitchability and size. Shearer can ramp his fastball up to the upper 80’s and creates great horizontal movement. He returns with 7 starts under his belt and the experience to compete against tough MCC lineups. He will look to limit his walks this season and use his jump in velocity to rack up strikeouts.

2023 3B Parker Guthrie (uncommitted) will be a breakout candidate for the Billikens. He will need to be a staple in the middle of their order and provide a back-end bullpen arm. His numbers don’t jump off the page from a season ago, but you can tell the coaching staff trusts him in a myriad of roles.

2023 Infielder Henry Zenor is yet another player who could be a major piece for the Jr. Bills. Zenor is a fundamentally sound player with a beautiful stroke from the left side of the plate. He looks to take a step forward defensively in his second season as SLUH’s starting SS.

 

Concerns:

Like many teams we’ve covered so far, we find ourselves unsure as to what the team’s output will be offensively. SLUH returns just one player that hit above .300 a season ago. They also lost three of their top offensive contributors from last season.

It will be interesting to see how the Jr Bills establish an offensive identity. One positive is that they run the bases well and provide some disruptive speed.

They will need a combination of 2022’s Tommy Etling (uncommitted), Alex Shelton (uncommitted), and Mikey Floretta (uncommitted) to be huge contributors this Spring. This trio needs to provide senior leadership and timely hits throughout the course of the year. Adding Jack Dumont back to the lineup should also provide a much-needed boost.

The thing is, they don’t really need to be the best offensive team in the area to win a lot of games because of the plethora of talented pitchers on the roster. However, they will need to capitalize on what other teams give them and provide timely hits. If they can do that, there’s no telling what their ceiling is.

Unmentioned players to watch:

2024 SS Charlie Ison-McCall (uncommitted)
2022 RHP John Loretta (uncommitted)
2022 LHP Dennis Jakubik (uncommitted)

SEASON PREVIEW: Timberland Wolves

By High SchoolNo Comments

The Timberland Wolves enter the 2022 season with big names on the roster and high expectations for the team. The Wolves 2021 squad had a roster capable of going deep into the state tournament, but ultimately ended with four straight losses and being eliminated by their rival, Holt. That being said, there are several reasons to believe they’ll be a contender for a state championship in 2022.

What they have going for them:

They have some of the biggest star power in the state with their 2022 and 2023 classes. In addition to big names, the Wolves have depth all around the diamond with a wealth of varsity experience. It all starts with 2023 LHP and Arkansas commit Adam Hachman. He has the ability to live 93-95mph, occasionally touching upper 90’s, while pairing it with a CB/CH. Hachman will be able to dominate HS hitters if he can live in the zone and choose when he needs to ramp it up. The southpaw fanned 49 batters in 27 innings pitched last season.

As if Hachman wasn’t enough, the Wolves have 2023 RHP Jackson Yarberry (uncommitted), a high level RHP that gives Timberland one of the top 1-2 punches in the state. Yarberry can sit 86-88, occasionally popping 90, and also possesses excellent command and pitchability. The righty has a workhorse frame and should be able to eat up innings throughout the course of the season.

2022 UTIL Ryan Dickherber (Lindenwood) returns to pace the offense after boasting a .423 avg a season ago. He led the team with 13 XBH and showcases a free and easy lefthanded swing. He will need to provide a spark at the top of the Wolves batting order.

Timberland has an impressive list of college commits in the 2022 class, including Owen Powers (Jeff Co), Landon Willbrand (Lindenwood), Anthony Fumagalli (Illinois-Springfield), Ayalew Sisay (Indianapolis), Parker Dempsey (Drury) and Wyatt Seymore (Spoon River). This many quality, experienced varsity players should serve to provide consistency for the wolves lineup.

 

Concerns:

All the players mentioned so far were main stays in the lineup a season ago. Despite this, they fell short of expectations that many had for them.

Timberland will usually face their opponent’s best pitcher, and it will be interesting to see how their lineup holds up to this challenge.

The Wolves will also need to do a better job of executing on little things, and they need the high-end talent on their roster to consistently deliver results. Things like throwing strikes, limiting errors, bunt defense and quality baserunning can be separators in high school baseball. They had an abundance of errors a season ago and were also unable to steal many bags.

Undoubtedly, Timberland is a team capable of having a lot of success this Spring, and they’ll be a fun one to follow.

Unmentioned players to watch:

2023 Carson McCaleb C (uncommitted)
2023 Connor McCaleb RHP (uncommitted)
2022 Kyle Czeschin INF (uncommitted)

SEASON PREVIEW: Liberty Eagles

By High SchoolNo Comments

The Liberty Eagles are coming off a 15-win season in which they sputtered at the end losing three straight. They lost some valuable contributors that look to be high level collegiate athletes. However, they return an experienced core of players that look to lead them to new heights.

What they have going for them:

Liberty fields one of the deepest pitching staffs in the state. It is led by 2023 RHP Seth Benes (uncommitted) who returns with valuable experience as a sophomore. Benes can ramp his FB up to 92 and live in the 88-90 range. This is paired with a high spin CB and great pitch ability. He will also be a major contributor in the heart of their lineup.

The Eagles return 2022 RHP Sam Gordley (St. Charles CC) and his five wins from a season ago. Gordley pitched 39+ innings with 43 strikeouts. With improved control, Gordley will be able to eat even more innings and give the Eagles a 1-2 punch. Gordley is able to sit mid 80’s and provide a tick or two more when needed.

2022 RHP Tyler Timmerman (St. Charles CC) returns from a torn Achilles that sidelined him for the 2021 season. He provides a cherry on top as another mid 80’s arm with a starter profile. Timmerman needs to get into the swing of things facing hitters again, but we should see him only get stronger as the season goes on.

2022 Trevor York (uncommitted) paces the offense with a .400 avg and the ability to play a vital role at
SS. York puts the ball in play only striking out twice all of 2021. He is also an efficient base runner
stealing 8 bags last season. York will need to provide a spark plug at the top of the Eagles lineup.

 

Concerns:

The Eagles should be even better on the mound than a season ago. Unfortunately, they aren’t sure where the offense will come from just yet. The Eagles lost a lot of firepower from their lineup with Victor Quinn, Konner Hutchings, Peyton Vieluf, and Kyle Bermudez graduating. They accounted for all but one of the Eagles home runs.

They will need the trio of 2022 OF Cooper Swift (Moberly CC), 2022 INF Cole Vance (East Central CC), and 2023 C Peyton Braile (uncommitted) to step up. They will play crucial positions to the Eagles success in the 2022 season. Braile will need to command a potent Eagles pitching staff and give a spark in the power department.

Their pitching staff will allow them time to find their offensive identity. If they do, they could be a dangerous team come districts and beyond.

Unmentioned players to watch:
2024 Tyler Holman RHP/OF (uncommitted)
2023 Aidan Cole LHP (uncommitted)
2023 Ethan Weiler RHP/OF (uncommitted)
2023 Ryan Casteel INF (uncommitted)