116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A look at area prep baseball players and teams to watch this summer.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
• Zach Boisen, sr., Vinton-Shellsburg – INA third-team 3A all-state, went 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA.
• Cal Clark, sr., C.R. Prairie – INA first-team 4A all-state, MVC Mississippi Division Player of the Year, Batted .443 with 42 runs and 31 RBIs.
• Tyler Dralle, sr., C.R. Kennedy – First-team all-MVC Valley Division, batted .297 with 38 hits, including 10 doubles, 34 runs and 37 RBIs.
• Noah Heitshusen, sr., Williamsburg – INA second-team 3A all-state, IHSBCA first-team all-state, 6-0 record with 0.89 ERA, batted .466 with 61 hits and 38 runs.
• Luke Eldred, sr., Mount Vernon – INA second-team 2A all-state, batted .376 with 35 hits and 25 RBIs, went 4-4 with 1.15 ERA and 55 strikeouts for 11-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
• Jake Hilmer, fr., North-Linn – INA second-team 1A all-state, all-district pitcher, batted .438 with 14 doubles, 69 runs and 38 stolen bases, went 13-2 with 0.67 ERA and 105 strikeouts.
• Trace Hoffman, sr., Cascade – INA second-team 2A all-state, recorded 8-1 record with 0.58 ERA, batted .387 with 13 doubles and 28 RBIs.
• Manny Jeffery, sr., Linn-Mar – INA third-team 4A all-state team, First-team all-MVC Valley Division, Batted .387 with 46 hits and 29 runs, went 6-1 with 2.63 ERA.
• Tanner Lohaus, sr., I.C. West – first-team all-MVC Valley Division, went 8-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 62 strikeouts. Batted .280 with 22 RBIs.
• Maverick Miller, jr., Marion – INA second-team 3A all-state, Hit .389 with 56 hits, including four triples, 34 runs and 30 stolen bases.
• Nic Mougin, sr., C.R. Prairie – INA second-team 4A all-state, first-team all-MVC Mississippi Division, Hit .409 with 15 doubles and 30 RBIs.
• Izaya Ono-Fullard, jr., I.C. West – INA third-team 4A all-state, Batted .441 with 64 hits, 19 doubles, 40 RBIs and 31 runs. Posted 4-0 record with 2.21 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 31 2/3 IP.
• Spencer Van Scoyoc, sr., C.R. Jefferson – IHSBCA all-state team, INA first-team 4A all-state, first-team all-MVC Valley Division, Batted .407 with 37 hits, including 16 doubles and two HRs. Went 5-1 with 0.64 ERA, including 44 strikeouts in 33 innings.
TEAMS TO WATCH
CASCADE — The Cougars are coming off the best season in school history, compiling a 38-4 overall record with a 17-1 conference mark. They reached the state tournament for the fourth time in school history last year. All-stater Trace Hoffman went 8-1 last season with 0.58 earned-run average. He is also the top returning hitter, batting .387 with 13 doubles and 28 RBIs. With six letterwinners back, look for Cascade to contend for another state berth.
C.R. JEFFERSON — The J-Hawks have a deep and talented squad, returning six starters from a 29-8 team that won the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division. Spencer Van Scoyoc provides a hitting and pitching threat, batting .407 and going 5-1 on the mound. The J-Hawks have all but six wins back on staff and return five of their top seven hitters from last season. They have the potential of ending their season in Des Moines.
C.R. KENNEDY — The Cougars have some huge holes with the graduation of Zach Daniels and Sammy Lizarraga from last year's Class 4A state semifinal team. Kennedy's program has a habit of reloading and returns productive bats in Tyler Dralle, Jackson Behn, Jacob Henry and Bryce Church. Pitching is a question mark, however, returning only nine wins from a year ago. Behn and Henry had the most experience, combining for five wins in 2015.
C.R. PRAIRIE — The Hawks won the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division last season and return all-staters Cal Clark and Nic Mougin. They suffered a setback with leadoff man and center fielder Jalen Rima missing this season because of an early report date for UNI football. The Hawks may play small ball, using its team speed. Pitching depth will be a work in progress this season.
IOWA CITY WEST — The Trojans are coming off two straight Class 4A state runner-up finishes. West returns its three top pitchers, including Austin Miller and Tanner Lohaus, who combined for 17 victories last season. Despite graduating offensive spark, Kevin DeLaney, the Trojans' lineup promises to be potent with six coming back. West returns a lot of production, including almost 60 doubles, seven triples and eight home runs.
MONTICELLO — The Panthers were a solid last season, but ran into perennial power Dyersville Beckman in the postseason. They have a lot of experienced players, who have been in the lineup for three or four years and have 73 wins the last three years. They will have to replace their ace, but will look to all-stater Mason Newhard and Cody Menster to lead the way. Newhard (40) and David Gray (35) led the team in hits for a squad that totaled 200 runs in 2015.
MOUNT VERNON — Last season might not have been indicative of the Mustangs' talent. They went 19-9 in a tough Wamac Conference, but just 20-14 overall. The Mustangs did not graduate a single player from last year and many were with the team for the 2013 state tournament appearance. Pitching is a strength, posting a 2.32 team ERA last year. All-stater Luke Eldred led the way with a 1.15 ERA. Offense and effort will determine their overall success.
NORTH LINN — The Lynx were an exceptional story last season, making their first state tournament appearance with a young roster dominated by underclassmen including three eighth-graders. Pitching and defense should power the Lynx this season. All-stater Jake Hilmer returns with a 13-2 record, 105 strikeouts and 0.67 ERA. With any young team, leadership will be key. If players fill that role effectively, the Lynx could make another postseason run.
l Comments: (319) 368-8679; firstname.lastname@example.org