Baseball: Kane County Chronicle 2024 season preview capsules

St. Charles North's Parker Reinke (13) scores against the Batavia during the Geneva Regional Championship on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

The 2024 high school baseball season is underway. Here are previews of teams in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area.

Aurora Central Catholic

Coach: Rich Swann

Last season’s record: 17-11 overall, 5-6 in conference.

Top returning players: Carson Bailey, sr., 3B/P; Cayden Lohrey, jr., 1B/P; Brodie Curry, so., 1B/P

Top new players: Raul Gomez, jr., C; Liam Schwartz, so., OF; Manny Maysonet, so., OF; Ryan Vagnoni, sr., IF; Brendan O’Shea, sr., P; Brian Donovan, sr., OF/P; Ada Bartlett, sr., 2B/OF

Worth noting: Bailey is one of the top returnees after a strong season at the plate and on the mound last season. “It’s all hands on deck for the young Chargers,” Swann said. “We only have two full-time position players returning in Bailey and Curry, along with Lohrey and Bailey as the only pitchers to log more than 10 innings pitched.”

Aurora Christian

Coach: Andy Zorger

Last season’s record: 21-10 overall, 8-4 Metro Suburban Red

Top returning players: Andrew Hernandez, sr., IF/P; Rudy Griffing, sr., 1B/C; Kaleb Elwood, jr., C; Jack Burns, jr., IF; Owen Niedzwiecki, so., OF/P; Asa Johnson, so., P

Top new players: Andersen McKinzie, sr., OF; Kyle Koerner, sr., OF/P; Jameson Rapinchuk, so., 1B/P; Zach Zappia, so., UT/P

Worth noting: Optimism is a key word for the Eagles because of a deep well of players in the program, including several standout seniors. “We have 45 players in the program, which is the most we have ever had,” Zorger said. “This provides some quality depth and competition at various positions. We will need some pitchers to contribute quality innings. Our outfield and infield defense should be very strong, especially up the middle and our lineup looks to be very solid.”


Coach: Alex Beckmann

Last season’s record: 19-17 overall, 9-12 DuKane Conference

Top returning players: Ryne Woods, sr., OF; Nate Nazos, sr., P/IF; Ryan Boe, sr., IF/P; Jacob Aseltine, sr., IF/P; Gavin Rosengren, jr., P; Connar Temple, jr., P

Top new players: Bryce Burgoni, sr., OF; Katcher King, sr., OF; Luke Stevenson, jr., P; Jake Mysliwiec, jr., P; Daren Barnes, jr., IF

Worth noting: After defeating St. Charles North 4-3 to win a regional championship, the Bulldogs are aiming higher this season. Batavia suffered a sectional final loss to York last season. Right fielder Woods, who committed to Upper Iowa University, headlines the offense. The pitching staff is deep and experienced. “Pitching will be a strength for us this year, led by Nate Nazos, Jacob Aseltine and Ryan Boe,” Beckmann said. “All three will be two-way players on the infield for us.”

Burlington Central

Coach: Kyle Nelson (19th season)

Last season’s record: 20-17 overall, 11-7 FVC (fourth place)

Top returning players: Brady Gilroy, sr., OF/SS/P; Michael Person, sr., P/SS/OF; AJ Payton, sr., 1B/P/DH; Jake Johnson, jr., C; Chase Powrozek, jr., P/OF; Elliot Alicea, sr., P/OF; Mason Rosborough, sr., P/OF

Top new players: Connor Finn, jr., IF; Zane Pollock, jr., IF; Yanni Pahnianis, jr., IF; Solomon Her, sr., IF

Worth noting: Central is loaded with talent in the lineup and on the mound. The team lost to Sycamore in a Class 3A sectional championship. The Rockets return all but 10 innings from last year’s pitching staff. This year’s staff is led by Person. Gilroy hit .471 with nine homers and 35 RBIs. Payton hit .352 and knocked in 30 runs. Johnson hit .351 and drove in 21 runs. Person, Gilroy and Payton are fourth-year starters. Johnson and Powrozek will be third-year starters as juniors. The Rockets look like a team that can compete for the FVC title and make a deep run in the state tournament series.

– Joe Stevenson


Coach: Brad Wendell

Last season’s record: 14-20 overall, 9-12 DuKane Conference

Top returning players: Bryce Breon, sr., P; Shane Webb, sr., P; Josh Feucht, sr., P; Logan Bova, sr., P; Chase Sorrentino, sr., P; Joseph Cosentino, sr., F; Kollin Mickelsen, sr., IF; Nate Stempowski, sr., SS; Sam Seykora, sr., 2B

Top new players: Miles Dibble, jr., P; Blake Kopec, so., P

Worth noting: The Vikings lost some key players from last season, notably Jackson Dibble, Tommy Maynard and Aidan Mayer, but the cupboard is not bare. Six positional starters are back along with three starters to form a potentially tough team this season. Geneva’s top two pitchers, Breon and Seth Kisner, headline a potent pitching staff that also includes Webb, Feucht, Bova and Sorrentino. Expect the Vikings to be strong on defense thanks to a solid up-the-middle group of returnees. “Our defense is loaded with returning starters this year, specifically up the middle,” Wendell said. “We also have just over 155 varsity innings returning in our staff. We hope some tough lessons from 2023 prepared our staff for a successful 2024.”


Coach: Brian Aversa

Last season’s record: 21-13

Top returning players: Parker Violett, sr., OF/P; Zach Konrad, sr., C; Jackson Kottmeyer, sr., P

Top new player: Tom Thill, jr. 2B/SS

Worth noting: Pitchers Violett and Kottmeyer spent a lot of innings on the hill for the Knights last season. Kaneland lost to Marmion in a Class 3A St. Francis Regional semifinal. Aversa said there’s a lot of senior leadership gone from last year’s squad but there still are plenty of players who have seen significant innings. Aversa said the Interstate 8 Conference will be tough this year and hopes the Knights’ pitching will keep them competitive.

– Eddie Carifio


Coach: Aaron Nieckula

Last season’s record: 10-23 overall, 3-13 Chicago Catholic Blue

Top returning players: Tyler Sowers, sr., CF/P; Ben Fritz, sr., LF; Ethan Flores, jr., C/P; Jackson Sherman, sr., IF; Jack Hughes, jr., 1B/P; Nate Bostrand, jr., IF/OF; Chuck Schweiner, jr., 1B/DH

Top new players: None provided.

Worth noting: The Cadets, who will be paced by an experienced group of seniors, are looking for a bounce-back season in a tough conference. “We’ve been committed to the weight room, looking to add strength, size, speed and mobility,” Nieckula said. “Led by a solid group of seniors, this team will maintain aggression on the bases, put up quality at-bats and stay focused on making the routine plays consistently.”

St. Charles East

Coach: Derek Sutor

Last season’s record: 27-5 overall, 19-2 DuKane Conference

Top returning players: Joey Arend, jr., OF/P; Jake Greenspan, sr., SS/3B; Matt Steinberg, jr., 1B/P; Sam Frausto, sr., OF/P; Cole Ridgway, sr., IF/P; James Feigleson, so., IF; Nathan Moline, so., IF/P

Top new players: None provided.

Worth noting: The Saints under first-year coach Sutor have the firepower and experience to take a step past the sectional semifinals this season. St. Charles East will be sparked by star pitcher Arend and a talented cast of experienced seniors and juniors. “Joey looks to anchor a young pitching staff and leads the Saints during the 2024 season,” Sutor said. “We graduated seven starters from last season but have a talented crop of underclassmen hungry to make their mark in the program. Our pitching and defense will keep us in games this season. The key for us will be to compete at the plate, putting pressure on the defense and making the most of what our opponents give us.”

St. Charles North

Coach: Todd Genke

Last season’s record: 25-9-1 overall, 16-5 DuKane Conference

Top returning players: Mike Buono, sr., C; Parker Reinke, sr., OF/P; Colin Ryder, sr., 1B/P; Josh Caccia, sr., OF/P; Jackson Spring, sr., IF; Keaton Reinke, so., OF/P; Luke Holtz, sr., 1B/P; Andrew Good, sr., P; Jaden Harmon, sr., OF/P; Jake Kujak, sr., IF/P; Liam Ruane, sr., P; Ty Heimbuch, jr., C/P

Top new players: None provided.

Worth noting: The North Stars have an abundance of seniors on their roster after a strong showing last season. The pitching staff is filled with quality arms, including Good (Lewis University), Caccia and Ruane. Catcher Buono, a Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit, is one of the top players in the area. “We will rely on our pitching staff, a solid core of athletes on defense and a very capable offense,” Genke said. “Offensively, we should be able to score runs in bunches, but also be able to execute small ball opportunities when needed. Excellent team speed should provide many scoring opportunities as well. Gaining playoff experience from the last several years while making deep runs in the postseason will be a major factor for our success this season.”

St. Francis

Coach: Tom Ciombor

Last season’s record: 27-9 overall, 10-2 Metro Suburban Blue

Top returning players: Andrew Mueller, sr., IF/P; Trey Kiesler, sr., C; Zack Maduzia, jr., SS; Colt Armbrust, jr., P; Nick Sparacio, sr., IF

Top new players: None provided.

Worth noting: Mueller, a Loras College recruit, joins Kiesler, a three-year starter, all-conference shortstop Maduzia, Armbrust and Sparacio to form the backbone of the team. Logan Swaney, Peter Solloway and Brogan Wallace are part of a solid pitching staff. The Spartans, who return seven starters, have won three regional titles in a row. A tough schedule includes Nazareth, Montini, Naperville North, Loyola and Brother Rice.

West Aurora

Coach: John Reeves

Last season’s record: 12-18 overall, 3-12 Southwest Prairie Conference

Top returning player: Carson Bantz, sr., 3B/P

Top new players: Kaiden Williams, sr., P; Cooper Matheny, jr., SS/P; Jake Niedzwiedz, jr., IF/P; Logan Weaver, jr., OF/P; Zach Toma, so., IF/OF/P

Worth noting: Bantz, an Elgin Community College recruit, is the top player back from last season’s team. Bantz hit .309 with two home runs and 21 RBIs. “For the Blackhawks, the early part of the season will help toward figuring out everyone’s roles,” Reeves said. “Numerous players are competing for playing time at virtually every position.”