Your Prep Sports
The high school baseball season officially gets underway on Monday with teams across the state opening their seasons.
Once again the Your Prep Sports area should be home to some of the best teams and individual players in the state in 2023.
Last season City High and Liberty High both advanced to the state tournament and Your Prep Sports area teams once again have their sights set on a state tournament berth in 2023.
Before the season gets rolling here is a look at nine area players to watch this summer.
Senior, City High
Among the better two-way players in Class 4A, Knudtson was a key piece of the pitching staff and the lineup for a City High team that reached the 4A semifinals a year ago.
Knudtson earned second-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division honors a year ago after hitting .363 with nine-extra base hits while ranking second on the team with 38 RBI.
He also scored 27 runs and stole 14 bases last season to help City High to a 32-9 record but did perhaps his best work in the mound.
Knudtson was 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 38 innings last season striking out 44 while walking 22.
Ryne Vander Leest
Senior, West High
A three-year starter the breakthrough for Vander Leest came last season when he led the Trojans in batting average, runs and stolen bases while earning second team all-MVC Valley Division honors.
Vander Leest hit .314 with 33 runs scored and 21 stolen bases a year ago and also led the Trojans in walks (23), hit by pitch (29) and on-base percentage (.542) and ranked third on the team with 21 RBI.
The senior infielder had four doubles and a home run last season helping the Trojans to a 20-20 record.
Among the best hitters in the state White was named WAMAC East Division Player of the year and first team Class 3A all-state by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association last season after ranking in the top five in 3A in hits, runs, batting average, home runs and RBI.
A Baylor recruit, White hit .482 with 23 extra-base hits and 45 RBI last season leading Solon in all three categories.
The junior shortstop also led Solon in runs (55), hits (55), doubles (14), home runs (7), on-base percentage (.619) and slugging percentage (.825).
A stalwart in the Regina lineup for the past three seasons Gavin is coming off a junior season in which he was named to the River Valley Conference Elite team and was a second team Class 2A all-state pick by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Gavin hit .346 with a team-high 12 extra-base hits a year ago leading Regina in runs (29), hits (28), doubles (10), home runs (2), walks (20) and total bases (44).
The left-handed hitting Gavin ranked second on the team with 15 RBI and posted a .485 on-base percentage and .543 slugging percentage as a junior.
Senior, Clear Creek Amana
Hoffman was a second-team all-WAMAC West Division pick a year ago following a second consecutive productive season.
A three-year starter, Hoffman has hit .340 over the previous two seasons with 52 RBI and 53 runs scored.
Last season Hoffman hit .325 and ranked second on the team with 10 extra-base hits and was third with 30 RBI.
A four-year starter in the Solon infield Timmons is a career .347 hitter and earned second-team all-WAMAC East Division honors last season as a junior.
Timmons hit .306 with 13 extra-base hits last season and ranked second on the team with 50 runs and 24 stolen bases.
A North Dakota State recruit, Timmons had nine doubles and a team-high three triples last season and drove in 18 runs while posting a .469 OBP and .452 slugging percentage.
Timmons also went 2-1 with a 5.88 ERA in 25 innings pitched a year ago.
Senior, West High
Another three-year starter for the Trojans look for Frey to provide the punch in the middle of what should be a solid West High lineup.
Frey hit .286 with a team-high 15 extra-base hits last season as a junior leading the Trojans with 28 RBI.
The senior first baseman had 13 doubles and a home run a year ago and drew 20 walks while posting a .429 OBP and .466 slugging percentage.
Senior, City High
Another City High player looking to build on a strong junior season Carlson is a candidate for a breakthrough this summer.
Carlson hit .271 with seven doubles and 14 RBI for the Little Hawks’ state semifinal squad a year ago, scoring 12 runs and posting a .400 OBP.
Another two-way player for City High, Carlson was also a solid option as a relief pitcher a year ago going 1-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.
Carlson allowed just eight hits while striking out 22 and walking 12.
Senior, Liberty High
A starter on last year’s Liberty High team that went 21-20 and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in program history Ramsey will be a corner stone of a new-look Lightning lineup this summer.
Ramsey hit .245 with seven extra-base hits and 19 RBI last season as a junior ranking fifth on the team with 23 runs scored.
The senior centerfield had six doubles and a home run a year ago and stole nine passes.