Coach: Brian Mitchell (9th season)
Assistant coaches: Bart Sueppel, Matt Wooldrik
Last season: 25-16, 16-14 MVC
Returning starters: Garrett Bormann, Sr., 3B/P; Reese Hayden, Sr., INF/P; Gable Mitchell, Soph., SS/P; Carter Seaton, Soph., OF/INF; Kolbe Schnoebelen, Sr., DH/OF
Other returning letterwinners: Noah Kabat, Sr., OF; Kyle Clark, Sr., P; John Klosterman, Soph., P; Jackson Ernst, Sr., 1B.
Newcomers to watch: Jay Kennedy, Soph., P; Joey Bouska, Soph., C; Jacob Means, Jr., 1B/OF; Ben Cooper, Jr., 1B/OF; Egan Smith, Jr., P/OF; Cade Obermueller, Soph., P/OF; Alex Knudtson, Fr., P/UTIL
Headliner: Senior Garrett Bormann will play a key role for City High on the mound and in the batters box this season. Bormann hit .338 with 32 runs scored and 14 RBI last season and also posted a 4-2 record and 3.45 ERA in 48 2/3 innings.
Keep an eye on: Sophomore shortstop Gable Mitchell will look for a breakthrough season after hitting .267 with a team-high 34 runs scored and 18 RBI while going 1-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 17 1/3 innings in his varsity debut season.
Circle the date: July 10 at West High. The Little Hawks close the regular season by travelling across town to face rival West High.
Breakdown: Expectations are high for a young but talented City High squad with five returning starters from a team that won 25 games and placed fourth in the MVC Mississippi Division standings.
Mitchell and Bormann headline the list of returning starters along with senior pitcher Reese Hayden who emerged as a leader on the City High staff last season.
Hayden went 6-2 with a team-leading 2.24 ERA a year ago allowing 40 hits in 40 2/3 innings.
Sophomore Carter Seaton returns after getting his feet wet at the varsity level last season while hitting .262 and senior Kolbe Schnoebelen (.211 BA) also returns with a season of varsity experience.
Seniors Noah Kabat, Jackson Ernst and Kyle Clark are all expected to take on larger roles this season after seeing limited varsity action a year ago.
Coach: Charlie Stumpff (27th season)
Assistant coaches: Jesse Searls, Jamie O’Meara
Last season: 34-8, 24-6 MVC (4A State Semifinals)
Returning starters: Ben Madden, Sr., P/INF; Ben Vander Leest, Sr., P/OF; Marcus Morgan, Jr., P
Other returning letterwinners: Brett Cherry, Sr., P/1B; Matthew Cupp, Sr., P/C; Clay Hulsebus, Sr., P/1B; Drew Klein, Sr., P/OF; Colin Leavy, Sr., INF; Daniel Song, Sr., P/OF
Newcomers to watch: Mason Dains, Sr., OF; Will Hoeft, Sr., INF; Aiden Clements, Jr., P/C; Schylar Houston, Jr., P/INF; Ian McAreavey, Jr., OF; Alex McKay, Jr., OF; Luke Miller, Jr., P/C; John Syata, Soph., P/OF
Headliner: Marcus Morgan will look to build on his stellar career resume after cementing his status as one of the most dominant pitchers in the state last season as a sophomore. The right-hander earned first-team all-state honors after going 10-0 with a .71 ERA while striking out 105 in 59 1/3 innings.
Keep an eye on: Senior Ben Madden will be looked to as a leader in the West High lineup this season after hitting .336 with three home runs and 23 RBI last season.
Circle the date: June 23 at Liberty High. A challenge early-season schedule for the Trojans that includes single games at Cedar Rapids Prairie and at home against defending 3A champion Cedar Rapids Xavier continues with an MVC divisional doubleheader against rival Liberty High.
Breakdown: There are some holes to fill in the lineup with the loss of six full-time starters from last year’s Class 4A semifinal squad but the Trojans have a trio of solid pieces to build around led by Morgan.
The defending Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division champion Trojans bring back three starters in Morgan and seniors Ben Vander Leest and Morgan.
Morgan is the headliner after earning all-state honors as a pitcher while also hitting .404 with three home runs and 32 RBI.
Vander Leest is a breakthrough candidate after hitting .348 with three home runs and 19 RBI in just 46 at bats last season while also going 4-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.
Madden will be among the leaders of the West High lineup while long-time coach Charlie Stumpff expects seniors Brett Cherry, Matthew Cupp, Clay Hulsebus, Drew Klein, Colin Leavy and Daniel Song to all step into more prominent roles.
Coach: Tom Cronk (3rd season)
Assistant coaches: Brent Kimm, Jacob Neilson, Tim Schmierer, Uby Martinez
Last season: 23-18, 16-14 MVC
Returning starters: Jacob Norris, Sr., Isaac Bender, Sr.; Nolan Frey, Sr.; Keian Secrist, Jr.; Cody Schroeder, Jr.; Tyler Dahm, Sr.; Cayden Duhaime, Sr.; TJ Kimm, Jr.; Alec Boldt, Sr.; Sam Funke, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: Brady Houser, Sr.; Max Tafolla, Jr.; Ryan Nugen, Sr.; Ethan O’Donnell, Jr.; Jack Kinzer, Jr.; Zack Anderson, Jr.
Newcomers to watch: Jonah Warren, Sr., P.
Headliner: Senior Nolan Frey is coming off a breakthrough junior season in which he hit .431 with 23 extra-base hits and 42 RBI and went 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA in a team-high 49 innings pitched while earning all-state honors.
Keep an eye on: Junior Keian Secrist emerged as a dangerous two-way player last season hitting .343 with 22 extra-base hits and 29 RBI while posting a 3-4 record and 4.42 ERA in 44 1/3 innings pitched.
Circle the date: June 18 vs. Cedar Rapids Washington. After a long wait and two years of playing ‘home’ games at different fields Liberty High will finally get a true home game when it hosts the Warriors in the first game at the new field on campus.
Breakdown: In its third year as a varsity program expectations are at an all-time high at Liberty High and there are plenty of reasons for the optimism.
The roster returns almost entirely intact from a team that went 23-18 and 16-14 in its first year in the Mississippi Valley Conference before advancing to the 4A substate semifinals.
A long list of players with varsity experience includes the first group of four-year seniors in program history led by all-state pick Frey.
Secrist and junior Ethan O’Donnell, who went 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 47 1/3 innings, join Frey and senior Jacob Norris (2-3, 3.68) to give the Lightning one of the best and deepest pitching staffs in the MVC.
The lineup returning is nearly as impressive with Frey and Secrist and seniors Cayden Duhaime (.328), Tyler Dahm (.355) and Sam Funke (.318) all returning after hitting over .300 last season.
The return of a healthy Dahm, who was limited to just 31 at bats last season with an injury, is a big boost in the middle of the infield while senior pitcher Jonah Warren also returns from injury.
Clear Creek Amana
Coaches: Nick Zumsande (1st season)
Assistant coaches: Jeremy Cronk and Mitchell Boe
Last season: 17-20, 10-16 WAMAC
Returning starters: Casey Ogden, Sr., P/1B; Grant Jensen, Sr., UTIL; Tyler Schrepfer, Sr., P/OF; Brock Reade, Jr., P/OF; TJ Bollers, Jr., C; Ben Swails, Soph., 3B; Sam Young, Soph., SS; Parker Smith, Soph., 2B; Stirlen Roberson, Soph., OF
Other returning letterwinners: Cade Armstrong, Sr., 1B/P
Headliner: Already a two-year varsity starter sophomore shortstop Sam Young is ready to take a big step forward after hitting .328 with 23 walks and 29 runs scored last season while also going 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched.
Keep an eye on: Senior Grant Jensen can play all over the diamond but his bat should be a constant in the Clipper lineup as he looks to build on a junior season in which he hit .341 with seven doubles and 14 RBI.
Circle the date: June 25 vs. Solon. Clear Creek Amana host the Spartans in what should be a key doubleheader for both teams in the WAMAC Conference divisional races.
Breakdown: First-year head coach Nick Zumsande inherits a young but experienced Clear Creek Amana squad that returns nine players with starting experience from a team that went 17-20 a year ago.
A young squad that features four sophomore returning starters, Clear Creek Amana brings back six players that hit .300 or better led by Jensen and Young.
Sophomores Ben Swails (.327 BA) and Stirlen Roberson (.306) each had successful freshman seasons last year while junior catcher TJ Bollers returns (.300) along with senior Casey Ogden (.320).
Clear Creek Amana must replace graduated ace Camden Smyka from last season but has the rest of its pitching staff returning virtually intact.
Young returns along with junior Brock Reade (3-2, 3.38 ERA) and senior Tyler Schrepfer (4-3, 3.47 ERA).
Jensen and senior Cade Armstrong are back to bolster the pitching staff. Jensen was 1-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 23 innings while Armstrong was 2-0 with a 2.26 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.
Coach: Keith McSweeney (21st season)
Assistant coaches: Jim White, Casey Dahm, Tim Wheeler
Last season: 22-18, 16-10 WAMAC
Returning starters: Cole Arduser, Sr., 3B; Brady Jeworrek, Jr., SS; Nolan Pattison, Sr., DH/1B; Lucas Walker, Sr., P/OF; Jake Van Roekel, Jr., P
Other returning letterwinners: Sully Steen, Sr., P/INF/OF; Brayden Rickertsen, Jr., P/OF; Cael O’Neill, Sr., OF
Newcomers to watch: Drew Turner, Jr., C/P; Blake Timmons, Fr., 2B/CF; Carson Shive, Jr., Util.; Ben Cusick, Jr., Util.; Kinnick Pusteoska, Soph., Util.
Headliner: Senior Lucas Walker steps into the ace role on the Spartan pitching staff after a stellar junior season in which the left-hander went 5-3 with a 1.36 ERA and struck out 62 in 51 1/3 innings.
Keep an eye on: Senior infielder Cole Arduser will looked to for offensive punch as well as leadership in a young Spartan lineup. Arduser hit .278 with 18 runs scored and 14 RBI a year ago.
Circle the date: June 22 vs. Central DeWitt. The WAMAC East Division opener for the Spartans comes at home against the defending 3A runner-up Sabers.
Breakdown: Competition will be a key for the Spartans as veteran head coach Keith McSweeney has a large varsity roster filled with upperclassmen battling for sports in the lineup.
Five starters return from last year’s team that won 22 games led by Walker and Arduser.
Junior shortstop Brady Jeworrek is a stalwart in the middle infielder that started every game a year ago and should improve on his offensive numbers that included a .221 batting average and 18 runs scored and senior first baseman Nolan Pattison (.238 BA) returns with a full season of varsity action under his belt.
As always for a McSweeney coached team pitching and defense should be strengths for the Spartans.
Walker headlines the pitching staff while juniors Jake Van Roekel and Brayden Rickertsen and senior Sully Steen all return after pitching more than 19 varsity innings a year ago.
Van Roekel went 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA in 36 1/3 innings last season while Rickertson was 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA in 21 innings and Steen had a 3.20 ERA in 19 2/3 innings.
Coach: Todd Becker (2nd season)
Assistant coaches: Thomas Hartley, Zach Galindo, Joey Molony
Last season: 10-22, 6-12 RVC
Returning starters: Alex Meister, Sr., P/INF; Chase Becker, Jr., P/INF; Declan McCoy, Jr., C; Danny Molony, Jr., 1B/OF/P; Levi Quinlan, Jr., CF/P
Other returning letterwinners: Jack Tierney, Fr., OF/P
Newcomers to watch: Eliezer De los Santos, Jr., INF; Alec Wick, Jr., OF
Headliner: Junior Chase Becker earned all-state honors in his first season at Regina after hitting a team-high .417 with 28 RBI and going 2-6 with a 3.65 ERA while striking out 42 in 30 2/3 innings.
Keep an eye on: Big things are expected from senior pitcher Alex Meister who went 1-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 14 2/3 in an injury shortened junior season.
Circle the date: June 26 vs. West Branch. The Regals host River Valley Conference rival West Branch in the first meeting since the Bears swept a doubleheader last season.
Breakdown: A year after reaching the state tournament Regina won just 10 games last season but the Regals appeared headed for a big-time tournament in year two under head coach Todd Becker.
Led by all-state junior Chase Becker five starters return from last year’s team and the Regals will benefit from the addition of junior exchange student Eliezer De los Santos and athletic junior Alec Wick who joins the program for the first time.
Becker and Meister give the Regals a pair of front of the rotation starters while juniors Levi Quinlan and Danny Molony each return after logging double digit varsity innings last season.
Junior catcher Declan McCoy is poised for a big season behind the plate after hitting .326 with 18 RBI a year ago.
Coach: Andy Lapel (2nd season)
Assistant coaches: Brian Espensen, Hud Johnston, Brian Pierce, Trevor Hatcher
Last season: 20-8, 14-4 RVC (Class 2A State Quarterfinals)
Returning starters: Trey Eagle, Sr., P/SS/3B; Peter Espensen, Sr., P/C/OF; Matt Paulsen, Sr., P/1B/3B; Matt Whaley, Sr., INF; Brad Hunger, Sr., Util.; Gavin Hierseman, Jr., INF.
Newcomers to watch: Cameron Howsare, Sr., OF; Dalyn Pedersen, Sr., OF; Kaleb Sexton, Jr., P/3B/OF; Cael Fiderlein, Jr., C/OF; Bryce Pickett, Jr., P; Gage Gingerich, Soph., C/P/OF; Lucas Pierce, Soph., P/1B
Headliner: Senior Matt Paulsen is a pivotal player for the Bears as both a pitcher, hitter and position player after hitting .426 with 15 RBI and posting a 4-2 record and 3.52 ERA in a team-high 47 2/3 innings last season.
Keep an eye on: Another senior all-around asset for the Bears, Trey Eagle hit .395 with four home runs and 33 RBI last season and went 5-0 with a 2.69 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.
Circle the date: June 19 vs. Cascade. A key early-season River Valley Conference cross-divisional matchup at West Branch as the Bears host defending North Division champion Cascade.
Breakdown: A year after reaching the state tournament for the first time since 2012 the Bears are back for one of the most anticipated seasons in program history.
There is plenty of reason for optimism in year two under head coach Andy Lapel as West Branch returns six starters from a team that finished three games back of Wilton in the River Valley Conference South Division standings and reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
A strong senior class led by Paulsen, Eagle, Peter Espensen, Matt Whaley and Brad Hunger (.324 BA) leads the list of returning starters.
Espensen hit .312 with three home runs and led the Bears with 35 RBI last season while Whaley hit .254 and drove in 14 runs.
Junior Gavin Hierseman (.254 BA) also returns on the infield with starting experience.