Here are 20 high school baseball players to watch in the Springfield area for 2022
The high school baseball season began on March 14 and there is plenty of excitement with many players returning after big seasons in the COVID-19-shortened 2021 season.
Some teams — like defending Class 3A state champion Springfield High, Class 1A and 2A fourth-place finishers Mount Pulaski and Sacred Heart-Griffin, respectively, and perennial contenders Chatham Glenwood and Pleasant Plains — could practically fill this list.
But The State Journal-Register tried to be as inclusive, with picks from eight different of our large-school teams and 10 different of our small-school teams. Almost every corner of the SJ-R's coverage area was included.
Here are some of The State Journal-Register's top players to follow this spring, listed in alphabetical order:
Austin Adcock, Rochester
The senior outfielder was fifth in the Central State Eight Conference last season with a .462 batting average with 11 RBIs and nine runs scored. He, Seth Parkinson (below), catcher Ryan Robinson and left-handed pitcher Marshall Ingold will try to make the Rockets’ first below-.500 season (8-10) since 2013 a one-year blip. Rochester won 20 or more games every season from 2014-20.
A.J. Bailey, Mount Pulaski
The first baseman/outfielder/pitcher and the rest of the returning Hilltoppers got a taste of success last year with a Class 1A fourth-place at the state finals. Bailey entered the state finals with a .433 average (29 of 67) with four doubles, two triples, 12 RBIs and 32 runs scored.
Wandel Campana, Havana
Back for his senior year after being selected to The State Journal-Register's small school baseball team in 2021. He doesn’t miss the ball much, with just three strikeouts last year and he finished with a .500 average and plated 20 runs and drove in 11 more. He swiped 23 bases.
Ryne Crum, Springfield High
It was just nine months ago that Springfield High became just a state champion for the first time in school history. Crum’s sophomore season netted him a pick on The State Journal-Register's large-school baseball team with six home runs, 33 RBIs and a .378 batting average (31 of 82). He will serve as a first baseman, designated hitter and pitcher for the Senators.
William Davidsmeier, Beardstown
The pitcher was 3-2 and allowed 22 hits and nine earned runs. He fanned 50 hitters and posted a 1.97 ERA. At the plate, he hit .500 with 30 hits — four doubles — 22 RBIs and 13 runs scored.
Cannon Greer, Pleasant Plains
The last dance for the youngest of coach Dave Greer’s three sons, the center fielder is coming off a season in which he batted .367 with 34 runs scored, 20 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and a .446 on-base percentage.
Cole Hatalla, North Mac
The pitcher and designated hitter for the Panthers was 4-0 and batted .455 to earn an all-Sangamo Conference first team selection and he helped North Mac to a 21-2 record with a Class 2A sectional title appearance.
Carter Hood, Southeast
The sophomore infielder/pitcher/outfielder had a breakout season as a freshman with the Spartans with a .342 batting average (13-for-38) with 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He had two doubles, struck out in just nine of 50 plate appearances and carried a .479 on-base percentage. He also struck out 11 in 13 1/3 innings pitched.
R.J. Jimerson, Sacred Heart-Griffin
Don’t miss the Oklahoma commit in his final season patrolling the SHG outfield. In the Cyclones’ run to the Class 2A fourth-place trophy in 2021, he finished with a .372 batting average (29 of 78) with nine doubles, three triples, four home runs, 30 RBIs, 31 runs scored and a .514 on-base percentage. He also stole 11 bases.
Trent Koehler, Lincoln
The Lincoln Land-bound pitcher/shortstop is a four-year starter. Last year, he had 22 strikeouts in 22 innings and can top his fastball out at 90 mph. He batted .325 last year with 19 RBIs, 28 runs scored and stole 13 bases.
Kamryn Link, Gillespie
If he can improve on his sophomore season, the Miners might improve on their 15-10 record from a year ago when the now-junior first baseman led Gillespie with a .450 average (36-for-80) with 11 doubles, one triple, two homers, 24 RBIs and 30 runs. He also successfully stole all nine of his attempts.
Nolan McMasters, Chatham Glenwood
The SJ-R's large-school baseball selection as a junior last year is back at shortstop. In 2021, he batted .394 with four home runs, drove in 23 runs and scored 28 times. He also finished with six stolen bases.
Garrett Meyer, Jacksonville
The senior pitcher can play in the infield or outfield when not pitching. Last year, he posted a 4-3 record with a 2.39 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed nine earned runs, 18 hits and 11 walks. His .357 batting average last year barely beat out fellow returning senior Nolan Decker’s .356. Meyer drove in 19 runs, had six doubles, three triples and one home run.
Seth Parkinson, Rochester
He’s back at shortstop after he batted .381 (24 of 63) with eight doubles and two home runs while he struck out just nine times and had 14 RBIs as a junior in 2021. He made the SJ-R's large-school baseball team a year ago.
Will Plattner, Chatham Glenwood
The catcher had a splendid season as a junior with a second-best .500 average (32 of 64) and had 28 RBIs and scored 20 runs. He was featured on the SJ-R's large-school baseball team in 2021.
Brenden Schoonover, Pana
The three-sport athlete leads a group of five returning players from the Panthers’ first regional title since 2001 and first South Central Conference championship — ever. Last year, the speedy center fielder and leadoff hitter batted .310 (22-for-71) with seven doubles, one triple and one home run. He scored 22 runs and drove in eight. He led the Panthers with 17 stolen bases.
Cole Smith, Auburn
The senior pitcher is back after holding opposing hitters to a .189 batting average over 31 innings pitched. The Spoon River-bound Smith had a 5-2 record with a 3.16 ERA and struck out 55 hitters against 22 walks.
Casey Stickel, Taylorville
The senior shortstop is back one season after he finished with a .444 batting average and a .551 on-base percentage for the Tornadoes. He also finished with 13 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. He and senior Kamren Heimsness (.400) are the leading returning hitters for Taylorville and both finished .400 or better in 2021.
Drake Vogel, Hillsboro
The infielder batted .486 with five doubles, two home runs, drove in 18 RBIs and scored 26 times in 21 games. Hillsboro was 12-10 overall. He and fellow senior Dillion Smail (.391, 11 doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs) will hope to improve on that record.
Carson Wiser, Carlinville
The senior catcher and outfielder is back after posting a team-leading .450 batting average (18-for-40) last year with four doubles and five home runs. He drove in 14 runs and scored 13 times. He also had a .558 on-base percentage and a .925 slugging percentage as a junior.
Contact Ryan Mahan: 857-246-9756, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter.com/RyanMahanSJR.